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Envelope printing innovation

According to Winkler+Dunnebier, the new W+D 200 flexo press for printing coated and uncoated envelope papers “fulfils the highest requirements for performance and flexibility”. A modular system to accommodate three or six printing units, the machine will run waterborne and solvent based inks. Sleeves are used for both plate cylinder and screen rollers.

The W+D 200 is said to provide the highest print quality and register accuracy at web speeds up to 420m/min. “Performance and flexibility are guaranteed” by the use of individual servo drives. There is a cantilever system for tool-less size change, and print units with pushbutton adjustment, and closed doctor blade chamber systems. Job parameters can be stored in the mobile operating console. Advantages claimed include good access to the printing units, clean printing and quick colour changes by simply exchanging all ink filled elements.

The W+D 200 is available for a printing width of 380mm, and with left or right-hand operation. A version with a larger printing width is in preparation. Options include pull-out units for infra red intermediate drying and end drying. A unit for processing UV inks is also being developed, the company states.

The W+D 200 can be used off-line or integrated in-line in all Winkler+Dunnebier’s current reel envelope machines, and in combination with its new W+D 400 rotary cutting machine for labels.

Platinum progress at Harper

Several months of intense R&D efforts by a special team of researchers at the Harper Corporation of America’s Advanced Surface Technology Centre in Charlotte, NC, are said to have resulted in “a substantial enhancement” of the US company’s proprietary Platinum anilox roll technology. Field trials at five converting sites, utilizing a total of 150 anilox rolls over a six month period, are said to have confirmed the team’s laboratory results, which exhibited a much smoother cell structure. This resuled in improved ink transfer and a further reduction of ink plugging the anilox roll, the company states.

The new technology generates a special cell profile conducive to less density degradation over time, when compared to conventional anilox roll cell structure, says Harper. The company is investing more than $4M over the next six months to upgrade its existing engraving equipment to the level required for the enhanced technology, which will be available to the flexo market by the end of this year. The product has not yet been named.

By mid 2005, the company will have 20 anilox roll laser engraving machines in operation at its facilities in the US, Thailand and Germany. All locations will be equipped to produce the new enhanced surface.

BASF building another plate plant

BASF Printing Systems has begun construction of a new production plant for the manufacture of flexo printing plates in Willstätt, Germany. The company says the new plant, which is scheduled to commence operations in 2006, will increase production capacity significantly and the investment will create 30 new jobs.

“Very satisfactory business development over the last few years and continuing favourable sales forecasts for flexo printing plates” are said to have influenced the decision to invest in another production plant. The existing plants had also reached their capacity limit.

Ceramic to benefit aniloxes

Technical advantages and decreased costs are the objective of a recent development in the field of ceramic spraying that will soon make new anilox sleeve constructions possible, reports Apex Europe. Ceramic can be sprayed directly onto CFK, GFK and different types of plastics. A flexible ceramic layer with better bonding characteristics and an equal surface tension quality without the use of a sealer is possible, according to Apex. It says this is the base for good laser qualities and a long life.

Connect grows with Creo

UK flexo repro house Connect Digital Imaging has invested in a Creo ThermoFlex Wide II platesetter as part of an on-going expansion plan. Developed specifically for the packaging industry, this ‘next generation’ ThermoFlex Wide enables users to image plates, variable repeat sleeves and film, according to each job.

“We had a certain set of criteria for what we were looking for when we chose to beta test the ThermoFlex Wide II and have been very happy with the speed, quality of the plates, and service and support,” says David Piercy, production director at the Manchester based company. “The flexibility of the Creo device was definitely a factor in our buying decision, as we anticipate needing a sleeve capability in the future.”

Connect Digital supplies imaged plates to flexo printers throughout Europe. The company has 35 employees and a turnover approaching £3M. It won the 2004 EFTA Gold Cup for the quality of its training programmes.

Anilox engraving is quality key

Pamarco’s new CellBase anilox inspection, certification and verification method enables the company to obtain a total analysis of cell geometry and create a measured engraving ‘standard’ for each customer. It can also be used to compare each engraving against the standard (depth, volume, cell opening), build a database of each anilox sorted by customer, and create a total life cycle analysis of each roll.

In addition, CellBase will provide 24/7 access to all data through the Pamarco website portal, and generate detailed inspection certification with photographs of cells, as well as all pertinent customer and roll geometry information.

Scaled down system frees production press

RK Print Coat’s FlexiProof sample preparation system is being used by ink manufacturers, label converters and substrate producers to bring process variables into control, and in the production of proofs using water, solvent or UV flexo inks. A scaled down, but exact version of a full size flexo production press, it allows converters and suppliers to undertake pilot runs and conduct trials efficiently and economically, without tying up the production press.

The system, which occupies a bench space of just 55cm wide x 45cm front to back, is used to determine performance properties such as wear and scratch resistance, flexibility, durability, for QC testing and to ensure the consistency of performance of inks and substrates over time.

Washing plates

The Alba 85/135 is a new automatic flexo plate washing machine from Bieffebi, available in two models to cover plate widths up to 850mm and 1,350mm.

Plates are fed in manually and then washed by a water/detergent jet spray system in combination with two helical rotating brushes. It is said to remove all traces of ink from the plate surface. The system also includes a pressurized water rinse to remove any detergent residue, followed by a ‘blow-dry’ cycle to dry the plate before delivery.

Flexo show is looking good

Exhibitors now confirmed for flexo 2005, next March 15-17, include Artwork Systems, Dantex, GEW, Lohmann, Pamarco, Sericol, and 3M.

A ‘technical breakthrough’ to be featured by 3M will be its patented microchannel liner that, it is claimed, virtually eliminates trapped air between the tape and cylinder or sleeve, and between the tape and printing plate. This both speeds up the mounting procedure, and can significantly improve print quality, says David Graddon, market development manager for the Paper and Print Group

“There’s a lot happening in plate making and mounting at the moment,” he reveals. “Mounting printing plates on sleeves in-the-round prior to laser exposure is one key area of product development. Bringing the full print quality available on printed film to the fluted board market is another. Bringing up the print quality levels for post-print would be a major benefit, particularly if it can be achieved using innovative products with standard printing equipment.”

IIR Exhibitions and EFTA are organizing a series of ‘best practice’ workshops to complement flexo 2005 and provide the opportunity to learn the latest flexo printing technology offered by key international suppliers.

Onyx offers opportunities

Uteco’s new Onyx 876/GL flexo press features the proven Synchro-Deck drive system used in all the company’s gearless machines, it is said to offer the benefits of quicker makeready, infinitely variable repeat capability, increased throughput and higher quality.

The main drive motor is installed directly into the CI drum journal – a patented Uteco technology claimed to guarantee zero backlash and perfect speed synchronization between the CI drum and the printing sleeves. The press also has a new integrated automatic print deck wash system.

A modular machine, the Onyx 876/GL is also said to offer ease of use and more automation. There is remote touch-pad adjustment of printing impression settings, registration and other printing deck functions. These adjustments can be stored in the machine’s supervision system as recipes. When a memorized print design is recalled, the print deck will position itself automatically to the preset position. An optional feature allows for automatic incremental print pressure adjustment at different speeds.

Other features include a sleeve change system for both the anilox and plates, and a new doctor blade chamber equipped with pneumatic pressure adjustment on both sides for optimum ink control during printing.

The Onyx 876/GL is available in web widths of 1,050, 1,250 and 1,450mm, has a top speed of 365m/min, and can be supplied with in-line lamination, downstream printing and/or coating units.

Economical solution for recycling solvents Solutex claims to offer one of the most advanced solvent recycling systems available for the flexo industry. Designed for high volume users, the DQ Industrial series. It has a rotating boiler that allows easy access for the removal of solid wastes and maintenance. An internal rotating scraper mechanism keeps the boiler clean. Diathermic oil heats the boiler and is pumped around the system to avoid temperature differences and extend oil life.

A PC board with LED display controls all functions and shows various operating parameters. The user can choose between one, two or more consecutive batches or continuous loading. A quick cooling system is available for faster residue unloading. The dedicated PC board is said to be easy to set, with just three pushbuttons, and the unit can be configured for changes in solvent and operating conditions. All equipment is Atex approved.

Various DQ series models are available with capacities from 250-1,000 litre. All are custom built to suit user requirements and can be supplied with process tanks and controls, if necessary.

Solutex has a range of distillation units that provide a means to close loop waste streams for ink, solvent or almost any wash solution. The range covers capacities from 12 litre up to 1,000 litre.

Read all about it

The Graphic Arts Intelligence Network’s special report on the European flexo printing segment analyzes the main characteristics of the market, offering data such as the number of companies, number of flexo presses, value of sales per annum, and estimated annual growth. The 33-page report is priced at €200.

GAIN is an association of independent consultants throughout Europe, focusing on graphic arts, multimedia and computer publishing.

In a creative use of its UV flexo technology, Decorative Sleeves has achieved a special effect for UK based natural drinks manufacturer Firefly. The brand uses ‘Polaroid-style’ black and white photographs to deliver a striking, easily recognizable visual identity, and the key requirement was that the high quality look of the photos could be reproduced. In addition, because each flavour is differentiated by an individual colour, the sleeve design needed to be vivid without detracting from the central image. Decorative Sleeves’ solution is a UV flexo sleeve label printed in a combination of matt and gloss. The photograph area is achieved with a gloss effect, at a high resolution for maximum definition. The effective contrast for the rest of the sleeve comes from use of a surface matt lacquer. The company would not reveal the press manufacturer.



Contacts

Bieffebi
Tel: +39 051 6069011
Creo
Tel: +44 (0) 7836 719 650
Decorative Sleeves
Tel: + 44 (0) 1553 769319
GAIN
Tel: +34 93 204 65 63
IIR
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7915 5687
Pamarco Global Graphics
Tel: +1 404 691 1700
RK Print Coat
Tel: +44 (0)1763 852187
Solutex
Tel: +44 (0) 1691 622225
Uteco
Tel: +39 045 6174555





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Bieffebi
Creo
Decorative Sleeves
IIR
GAIN
Pamarco Global Graphics
RK Print Coat
Solutex
Uteco