Printers could be coffin makers of the future
The print market has become adept at managing change and embracing new technology and markets for a number of years. Now environmentally friendly, cardboard coffin producer, LifeArt is offering a great opportunity to diversify once more into a huge new market as they look for Print Groups to partner.
Around 600,000 coffins are made for the UK market each year and of these around 85% are used for cremation services. Most coffins today are made from particle board or MDF. Working with MDF and Particle board creates an unhealthy, potentially carcinogenic, dust in production and leads to waste which cannot be recycled, so offcuts largely end up in landfill or used as biomass fuel. These outdated coffins were designed for burial, not cremation. When cremated, these heavy coffins emit large amounts of Nitrous Oxide, a potent Green House gas which destroys ozone and impacts global warming.
Global business, LifeArt has considered the total life cycle of the coffin in its development of the first truly personalised and affordable cremation coffin, that will only reduce in price as its volume increases. The coffin has been engineered to surpass all weight bearing standards, it’s handles, unlike MDF or Particle Board coffins, are weight bearing and it’s a great light weight alternative, making it much easier to carry.
L to R: Mike Grehan (Global CEO), Lynne White (General Manager UK) & Simon Rothwell (UK MD) from LifeArt
LifeArt was founded in Australia, where the idea for their unique product began in 2004. They have created, developed and patented an enviroboard coffin using ingenious cardboard engineering. Independent Research supports their claim that their coffins use up to 80% fewer trees to produce and when cremated emit up to 87% less Nitrous Oxide than MDF or Particleboard coffins. In 2017 they opened a global innovation centre in Gloucester, to produce their environmentally friendly products for the UK market and are now on a UK and global expansion path.
Their enviroboard coffins are printed directly onto the board that envelopes the cardboard engineered coffin. This board acts as a template, that allows the families to have any graphic of their choice printed in high quality onto the coffin. LifeArt worked closely with Agfa Graphics to test various inks for the enviroboard and developed colour management profiles for the printing of designs on the Agfa Jeti Mira LED and Agfa Jeti Tauro LED at their Belgium Head Office. An Agfa Jeti Mira LED wide format press was subsequently installed into the new LifeArt Gloucester facility and all artwork is preflight and colour matched by the Agfa Asanti workflow.
The Agfa Jeti Mira LED is a true flatbed printer with moving gantry and optional roll-to-roll system for optimal flexibility. It prints up to 2.69m wide, six colours and white and features 6 different vacuum zones and 4 sets of registration pins for complete accuracy. The latter feature being crucial for this template print job. The Jeti Mira installed at LifeArt Gloucester is further enhanced with varnish print heads to allow for spot or flood-varnish finishes to be printed in-line.
“Agfa went out of their way to help us in this venture and provided great initial technical support for which I will be forever grateful.” Said Mike Grehan, founder and CEO of LifeArt, who ran Australia’s largest funeral group InvoCare, for many years until 2007.
“The vast majority of coffins we sell today are printed for the funeral trade, so we offer a choice of timber print finishes. But the exciting bit is being able to totally personalise a coffin for the user and offer it at an affordable price. With so many more people planning their own funerals there’s lot of interest in being able to choose a unique finish.”
LifeArt is without doubt a big disrupter in a market where the majority of coffins are made by cabinet makers. But they are certain that this environmentally friendly alternative, that’s strong, robust and passes all testing, will be the future of coffin production and that Printers could become an integral part of the coffin industry of the future.
Simon Rothwell, UK MD for LifeArt explains: “We have already set up partnerships with print groups in Europe and are looking for print groups to partner in the UK. They have all the skills needed to produce our cardboard coffins and many will have the equipment too. Essentially LifeArt provide their supply chain, technology and market access and the print partner would print, cut, wrap, glue and assemble the coffin for local supply. That’s the future, we don’t want to be transporting empty boxes. The environment is core to everything we do, so it needs local supply. We are seeking print groups with the right skillset, mindset and capacity.”