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News from the flexo industry

K display for 10 colour gearless

Flexotecnica exhibited a 10 colour NG model CI gearless flexo press at the recent

K show in Düsseldorf. This machine has a fully sleeved design to achieve production speeds up to 500m/min on film, with printing repeats from 370-900mm. It has 120mm thick cast iron side frames, a Hastalloy coated CI drum with a diameter of 2,400mm, and a 172mm anilox mandrel.

There is a direct drive frameless servo to the CI journal, Indramat servos to the print and anilox mandrels, and Absolute encoders for closed loop (proxy-free) print deck positioning. Automatic washdown can be completed on an eight colour set in five minutes.

Other features include quick release intercolour dryers and Windows based FNC-3000 operator touchscreens.

At K, one print deck was demonstrated with a pneumatic ejector for the printing and anilox sleeves, and the SSC Safe Sleeve Change System.

Kodak serves up more on plates

Kodak claims that its new Flexcel NX digital flexo system provides “previously unachievable near offset” print quality on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, film, foil, and labelstock.

The integrated system includes the Flexcel NX 830 thermal imaging layer, a choice of Kodak Trendsetter NX narrow or mid imager, Flexcel NX Laminator, Flexcel NX digital flexo plates, and the Prinergy workflow system for packaging.

The thermal imaging layer is imaged using Kodak’s SquarespotImaging technology to provide what are promised to be exceptionally high resolution images with highlight dots considerably smaller than those possible with existing digital flexo technology. The Flexcel NX System is said to be capable of reproducing dots as small as 10 micron, “resulting in flexo printing comparable to offset”.

According to Kodak, the improved resolution allows flexo printers to reproduce subtle gradations in highlights and use all levels of gray. Imaging on the Trendsetter NX occurs at up to 9.5m2/hour, which is claimed to be only about half the time of other digital flexo plates.

To boost efficiency, the imager includes the TIFF Front End software that allows an operator to check files for accuracy before imaging and improves media usage for plate imaging and proofing applications.

BP Labels buys into digital flexo

A substantial spend on EskoArtwork technology has completely re-vamped the repro department at BP Labels, in Cardiff, UK. The company now has a complete digital flexo system comprising an Esko CDI Spark 2530 flexo platesetter with DeskPack and FlexRip software.

The newly upgraded Esko Software Suite 7 provides tools for structural and graphic design, one-up editing, sheet layout, workflow management and collaboration, colour management and output control. DeskPack, one of the suite’s components, turns Adobe Illustrator CS into a full fledged design and prepress production tool.

Keith Postle, BP’s operations director, comments: “The fact that DeskPack is Adobe Illustrator native was a ‘big tick in the box’. Suite 7 offers excellent advantages. It was vital for us to move ahead and invest in the latest repro technology by going digital. The CDI Spark 2530 is designed for the labelling and tag market and is ideally suited to our operation. It is easy to load and the plates are of high quality.”

Since installing Esko FlexRip he has observed dramatic reductions in time to proof and time to plate. “It’s truly amazing – we are talking about ‘days to hours’. The digital flexo system produces a plate in minutes. The speed, reliability and repeatability are exactly what we need.

“This investment has kicked started our new business strategy and given us confidence,” he concludes. “Now that we have the right tools, we can work remotely with graphic designers and brand owners all round the world.”

Press quartet is the Ultimate

A major part of the recent £13M investment at Grimsby, UK, based Ultimate Packaging was four new flexo presses – three from Fischer & Krecke and one from Windmöller & Hölscher.

The company also installed a solvent recovery system that has reduced usage of cleaning solvent by 25 per cent.

Sales and marketing director Chris Tonge says: “The investment has enabled us to provide our customers with increased efficiency and high quality packaging. The oldest press we have is just five years although we are already putting plans together for a fifth machine. We feel that the investment and emphasis on developing the products we offer has kept us one step ahead of the competition.”

Sleeves or cylinders?

Dutch narrow web press manufacturer MPS says it has studied the hybrid situation of analog and computer prepared prepress in narrow web UV flexo and concluded that it is too early for a “one-way solution”, for sleeve or printing cylinder.

“A UV flexo press line with a fixed mandrel and exchangeable cut-off size diameter bodies for only printing sleeves creates inflexibility and, in some cases, increased costs,” the company states. “Printers will need to decide if these costs can be absorbed into the advantages of sleeve flexo printing.”

At Labelexpo 2007, MPS demonstrated a system that enables the user to either print from original steel printing cylinders or from exchangeable mandrel bodies for sleeve mounting on press. The company says it gives the flexo converter “total flexibility in using print sleeve technology or standard printing cylinders, whichever best fits the different markets and customers”.

‘Lightest print cylinders ever’

Ultra light print cylinders made of aluminium are now available from Gidue in repeats from 12-24in and weighing approximately 8-12kg. Compared to a standard cylinder, at up to 20kg, they are said to be easier to carry and to prepare.

“The light cylinders are a true response to the use of polyurethane sleeves or similar and nullify the weight factor,“ says Nicola Lezzerini, Gidue’s R&D project manager.

The lightweight cylinders are available on all Gidue Flower heads for widths of 370 and 430mm.

Ikon invests in KDOs

UK flexo press manufacturer K2 International has supplied four of its KDO machines to a Danish label printer for a new £1M production line at a factory near Copenhagen. A pair of bespoke KDO presses are bring used at Ikon Print for producing high security RFID tags and labels for libraries. The 3 Series, 265mm web machines were adapted to include one flexo station and five die cutting stations. Also supplied was a six colour 3 Series model equipped with GEW UV drying and overlamination, and a bench top slitter rewinder.

Another recent job for K2 was a special two colour KDO modular flexo press for UK based BS Labels. The servo driven equipment has been retrofitted on to an existing Ko-Pack machine to enable the Leicestershire company to expand into new markets.

EFTA awards

The EFTA’s Cash In Waste Award recognizes companies who achieve effective waste management or reduction in environmental impact in their day-to-day operations.

Sponsored by Converting Today and sister publication Packaging Today, the award will be made to the company – either printer/converter or supplier – that has, in the eyes of the judges, “contributed most to the saving of resources and reduction of waste”.

Entrants are asked to describe in no more than 500 words why they think they should win the Cash In Waste Award. They can also attach drawings, photographs, statistics or video clips. Entries should be sent to EFTA managing director Lesley Hide by December 14, 2007.

The Cash In Waste Award will be presented during the EFTA Annual Print Awards ceremony at The Royal Armouries, Leeds, on March 5, 2008.

Closing date for entries for the Annual Print Awards is November 23, 2007.

For both competitions, the entries should be sent to Lesley Hide at EFTA (UK), 4/5 Bridge Barns, Long Sutton, Somerset TA10 9PZ , UK. Email hiding@efta.co.uk



Contacts

Bekaert
Tel: +32 56 23 05 11
EFTA
Tel: +44 (0) 1458 241455
EskoArtwork
Tel: +32 9 216 90 32
Fischer & Krecke
Tel: +49 521 3048 0
Flexotecnica
Tel: +39 0371 4431
Gidue
Tel: +39 02 96681872
Jarshire (UK agent)
Tel: +44 (0) 1753 825122
K2
Tel: +44 (0) 1299 896959
Kodak GCG
Tel: +32 2352 2605
Mark Andy
Tel: +44 (0) 1625 500964
MPS Systems
Tel : +31 316 29 12 60
Windmoller & Holscher
Tel: +49 5481 14 0





External weblinks
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Bekaert
EFTA
EskoArtwork
Fischer & Krecke
Flexotecnica
Gidue
Jarshire
K2
Kodak GCG
Mark Andy
MPS Systems
Windmoeller & Hoelscher