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Adding value in one pass

Gallus and BHS technology combined for cost effective in-line carton production

Gallus says it is ready to do for folding cartons what it achieved with labels – by bringing FMCG packaging in line with roll to die cut blank in a single pass. The Swiss press manufacturer has developed the KM 510 S narrow web UV flexo press with BHS, the wide web specialist it acquired last year, to produce a manufacturing line for high quality cartons that can be extended to perform up to 16 operations. Five machines are currently running in Europe and the US.

Gallus Group ceo Klaus Bachstein says: “Folding cartons are produced off-line in steps and we thought we should show where in-line makes sense. We took our existing label printing technology – we did not want a hybrid – and acquired the processing from BHS.”

BHS managing director Ernst-August Vormwald claims the machine helps folding carton printers overcome the challenge of shorter runs, smaller stocks, lower margins and faster turnaround. It also provides the quality that end users are now seeking to attract consumers to its products on the shelf.

He says: “Volumes in folding cartons have gone up 15 per cent since 1999, but prices to the converter have come down to the same extent so that the business is static. Printers are having to do more, deliver more value, but get less for it. There is a need to react. This machine is value adding in one pass.”

The KM 510 S is a modular 510mm direct drive press in the same way as Gallus label printing machines with multiple units that can be interchanged depending on the job. The standard eight unit machine is a four colour press with reverse side printing, and capacity for combinations of screen printing, hot foil stamping, cold foiling, rotogravure printing, laminating and varnishing, with creasing, embossing and die cutting in the processing section.

There is also an inspection unit, hologram insetting and hot air drying for water based flexo. Although the gravure unit is in a fixed position, the other units can be switched and moved along the line, and extended up to 16 units. Manning is one print operator and a processing operator with an assistant.

The machine can handle paperboard of 450g/m2 with a maximum thickness of 0.6mm, which runs first through a web cleaner. The printing units have front loading of print cylinder and anilox roller sleeves for ease of change-over, with pre-setting functions, UV curing and room for hot air drying for water based flexo. Repeat length is between 304mm and 660mm, and the press runs at 150m/min.

The hot foil unit has dual feed to save on foil and can handle four lanes across, with facilities for hologram insetting. The screen and varnishing units on the standard machine are followed by an AVT inspection system. Laminating and gravure can also be run with window punching and either rotary or flatbed die cutting with creasing and embossing.

A demonstration to customers at the Gallus factory in Germany featured a beautycare carton produced two across with four colours, foiling, screen and varnish, creased and die cut to a finished blank running at 30,000 cartons/hour. Gallus said the job would have required four machines to produce sheet-fed litho.

The line was switched to a blister card with four colours, reverse printing, varnishing and window cutting for hanging display. In addition to a reel change, printing, print effects and die cutting, the change-over took 20min.

Many examples of products were pharmaceutical or beautycare and featured Braille and laminating, or metallized or transparent foils, some combined with reverse side printing and hot foil stamping for high quality appearance.

There were also examples of applications in the food, confectionery and tobacco sectors that require tactile qualities and water based flexo rather than UV flexo. Blister card applications are also becoming popular with retailers for space saving design, with typical features including reverse side printing and blister varnish on the front.

After the demonstration, Barry Forbes, special projects manager for the Boxes Group, told Converting Today he believed the machine met requirements for short run and small order carton work. “It’s ideal. I can see where the cost savings are. It’s from paperboard to finished item to customer. If you need a new machine and you have to buy a Bobst as well then I can see the logic of the buying decision here.”

Robert Gariepy, chief operating officer of the Specialized Packaging Group in the US, which runs a rotogravure and five web-fed flexo lines, said: “It has all the attributes to give consumers what they want and for the converter it has the modular design and the flexibility we need.”


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