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Screens give Spanish sparkle

Self adhesive label converter Argraf Autoadhesivos SA is helping Spanish wine producers promote their brands with the aid of Stork Rotary Screen Integration printing units. Argraf – located at Oyon, near the Rioja vineyards – uses the units and Stork’s RotaMesh screens alongside flexo in combination on a Nilpeter F3300 press. Rotary screen printing allows the company to offer a number of added features that cannot be created by other techniques. Whilst flexo can lay down about six micron, screen can lay down up to 300 micron in a pass, lending itself to effects like varnishes and striking tactile finishes, says Stork.

Argraf chairman Carlos Peña comments: “We can print fast; the desired added value effects are achieved in one pass; and the whole label is printed in-line. In other words, we can achieve very satisfactory productivity levels”.

The 16in web width RSI unit is situated above the flexo stations of the Nilpeter press, on a rail system that allows it to be used wherever it is needed in the printing sequence. In the case of printing the opaque white, for a no-label look, it would be first in the sequence. Typically, this requires an ink lay-down of 10 micron, followed by over-printing to achieve the visible colour by flexo. With the RSI unit in a secondary position, Argraf prints Braille, most other tactile finishes and a host of lustre effects on the label, with varnish. Tactile finishes usually require 100 micron ink deposit, to create a 3D effect and give the printed design extra impact.

Growing importance

Braille, which requires laydowns of about 260 micron, is a feature of growing importance in Spain. Argraf managing director Martín Torroba explains: “All players in the value chain are taking part in this development. Retailers and major brand owners find it important to communicate with the visually impaired – and thanks to the RSI unit, we are equally keen to show our customers how they can best do that.”

Varnish finishes are used on most of the self adhesive labels, except non coated papers. In deposits from 20 micron, they can evoke an element of antiquity, or in the case of the coarse ‘wrinkle’ varnish, offer a stark contrast to the smooth areas of the label.

Argraf says the Nilpeter and Stork RSI combination offers the best quality, with register tolerances of 0.1mm and fine linework, combined with good cost control in use of consumables. The pure nickel, welded Stork RotaMesh screens can be re-imaged up to 15 times, and run up to 500,000m. They can also be put back into stock if the same image will need to be printed again. In the first full year, the company used 20 screens.

There are cylinders to suit each application. Coarse and tactile effects are created with the RM75 (40 per cent open area); the RM305 (13 per cent open area) is used for low deposits, such as opaques for the no-label look.


The investment in Stork’s rotary screen printing technology fits in perfectly with Argraf’s aim to maintain the highest levels of productivity. “Half the jobs we do are repeats,” Carlos Peña adds. “So it saves greatly, not having to create a new screen for every job. We carry out two shifts a day, 16 hours in total. We usually perform about four jobs a shift on the Nilpeter-Stork machine.”

Typical label run lengths are about 50,000, so the company needs a good combination of fast production speeds and quick set-up times. Currently, it is printing with rotary screen at 40m/min. Changing jobs takes about an hour, but that also relates to changing ink, the plates and the web. Adjusting the screen and squeegee position takes a few minutes.

Martín Torroba concludes: “Clients look to us because we are able to do more than deliver a quality label at the right time. Naturally the onus is on us to innovate and always be one step ahead. The technological and service support from suppliers such as Stork is certainly helping us to get there.”


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