Halfar - the LorryBag

Four versions, half a dozen sizes, 43 colours: the LorryBag, a courier bag made of PVC tarpaulin is a successful product from Halfar System GmbH. 
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THE CHALLENGE

Four versions, half a dozen sizes, 43 colours: the LorryBag®, a courier bag made of PVC tarpaulin is a successful product from Halfar System GmbH. It has been part of the range for about a decade as “demand has now levelled out at a stable level,” says Michael Wellner, Production Manager at Halfar System GmbH. “Right at the start of its product cycle, we had to expand to two shifts sometimes just to meet demand.”

Product in user story: ValueJet 1624X

FROM THE BAG TO PROMOTIONAL ITEMS

Halfar System GmbH was founded in 1986 and today employs around 110 people in two divisions: promotional and technical bags. Design and some of the pre-production is located at Bielefeld. Sewing is carried out by partner firms, particularly in Eastern Europe. Today, Halfar also has a range of promotional bags manufactured in Asia. As a member of the initiative amfori BSCI the company makes sure to meet the mandatory safety and social standards there as well. The finished bags, backpacks and covers come back to Bielefeld, where they are extensively personalised as promotional items in the company’s own finishing department.

Whether it is stitching, laser, screen, transfer, digital or sublimation printing, doming or a weaved label, Halfar is able to offer distributors and specialized agencies every technology to turn a bag into an effective promotional item. Only the technical bags, mainly custom-made products for industrial and institutional customers, go to the market through the direct sales channel. “Our designs are optimised to be used as advertising media,” Wellner explains. That is also the case for the LorryBag®, as here it is possible to have the flap of the bag printed fully or partially, opt for an upright or horizontal design, add a buckle fastener or insert a laptop compartment: it is always printed in Mutoh quality on PVC tarpualins.

“The personalisation of smaller quantities of the LorryBag® would not have been possible without digital printing, which is why we have relied on this technology from the start for this product,” says the production manager. Alongside digital direct printing the company also does some digital sublimation printing inhouse.

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PERFECTION IN PRINT

“The Mutoh ValueJet 1624X is perfect for us” Tobias Unger and Jessica Ringe also stress. They are responsible for the machine at the digital printing department. “It is very low in maintenance and very reliable and that helps us a great deal with our work.”

Halfar System has only had the Mutoh ValueJet 1624X with a print width of 1,615 mm since early 2018. It replaced a Mutoh ValueJet 1638. Said machine had been installed in 2013 and had come to the end of its life cycle after printing tens of thousands of Lorry Bags. “We value the high print quality of our Mutoh ValueJet 1624X with up to 720 x 1.440 dpi”, Wellner explains. “We are even able to produce unusual designs with difficult gradients without any problems. The high reliability of the Mutoh ValueJet 1624X and also our local Mutoh dealer´s swift service were definitely buying arguments.”

There was no major disruption replacing the Mutoh ValueJet 1638 with today’s Mutoh ValueJet 1624X anyway. Just like its predecessor, the Mutoh ValueJet 1624X operates with Mutoh Eco ultra-inks in four colours (CMYK). At Halfar System, however, they opted for the neat 1,000 ml capacity cartridge and optional holder this time around. Their old Mutoh ValueJet 1638 had a bulk system.

Also another detail is different: the Mutoh ValueJet 1624X is only fitted with one drop-on-demand piezo head. It is able to produce droplet sizes of between 3.5 and 35.2 picolitres.

The maximum productivity per hour is a more than 29 square metres in the fastest “Billboard” print mode. Their colleague Tobias Unger is therefore very impressed by the award-winning, Intelligent Interweaving (i²) print technology from Mutoh, as it prevents bothersome bending and ugly steps in gradients. Mutoh’s print automation technique DropMaster™, by contrast, has no practical significance at Halfar System: “We always print on the same material and also predominantly with the same print modes,” Ringe explains. Time-consuming adjustments to the print head are therefore rarely necessary.

On the other hand, both employees are very impressed by the high colour consistency. “If we have to reprint some Lorry Bags with the same customer motifs after several months, the colours are identical from the start,” Unger is happy to report. “That saves us considerable work and trouble.”

To make sure the buyers are happy with their LorryBag® for a long time, the print is protected against wear and tear with a liquid laminate. Even without laminate, Mutoh’s eco-ultra-inks are also colour fast for up to 3 years outdoors. A cutter in the next room trims the liquid-laminated prints. “The cutting lines are automatically taken out of the Onyx poster shop RIP,” Ringe says. As the order volumes can fluctuate significantly, the digital print department also sometimes has the time to play around with new ideas. “We already have something in our minds,” hints. And if this project proceeds, the Mutoh ValueJet 1624X will get lots of work as a result…

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More than just a printer to print on vinyl - A Mutoh ValueJet 1624X has an unusual job at Halfar System GmbH, as it is used to manufacture the successful range of LorryBags® of the bag specialist from Bielefeld.

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