Libby White presents four of the best innovations on the printing market, from flexible plates to the latest developments in digital printing.
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Nyloflex® FAM digital plates go Global
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Flint Group has launched a robust and flexible printing plate for a wide range of applications, especially for flexible packaging. After the successful launch of the Nyloflex® FAM Digital printing plate into the North American market, Flint Group Flexographic Products now introduces the medium hard plate on a worldwide scale. The digital photopolymer printing plate is ideal for clean printing of fine image elements and smooth solids.
Nyloflex® FAM Digital, is suitable for a broad range of applications, especially for flexible packaging printing. Usable for a wide variety of both absorbent and non-absorbent substrates ranging from textured to very smooth surfaces, the plates are able to print fine process details as well as solids. Due to its flexibility, Nyloflex® FAM Digital plates require a lower impression setting, resulting in clean print results and lower dot gain as compared to traditional plates on the market of the same durometer range. Due to its robust and hard-wearing properties, the plates exhibit a long run life with less cleaning stops on press, thus being very economical for the user. Nyloflex® FAM Digital plates are offered in 1.14 mm and 1.70 mm thicknesses.
A World First: Highcon Euclid digital cutting and creasing machine
Highcon has announced that the first Highcon™ Euclid machine will be installed at a Beta site at the converting company, Graphica Bezalel Ltd., in Yavne, Israel in February 2012.
The recently announced Highcon Euclid is the world’s first entirely digital cutting and creasing production machine for folded cartons. With jobs accepted from standard prepress software, the Euclid uses Highcon’s ‘Digital Adhesive Rule Technology’ (DART) to create the crease lines within minutes, with no need for traditional dies.
The Euclid is equipped with multiple lasers, along with new and innovative precision optics to cut cardboard sheets, delivering high quality on-demand cut and creased sheets with a format size up to 76cm X 106cm (30” X 42”).
Turnaround times are cut dramatically while run lengths up to 10,000 sheets become attractive and profitable for the converter.
Graphica Bezalel is a 66-year old family converting company that provides packaging solutions for many well-known international brands. They see their key strength in their versatility and ability to print and convert a wide variety of substrates. According to Eyal Harpak, Deputy General Manager: “We have been following the progress of the Highcon Euclid for a while now and are delighted to have the opportunity to put it through its paces. We look forward to exploring the features and potential of the Euclid and testing it under production conditions. We are excited by its potential to transform our customer responsiveness and increase our profitability through increased flexibility, productivity and cost-savings.”
The Euclid will integrate smoothly with Graphica’s existing pre-media software and workflow, and is compatible with their existing high quality offset printing.
From the brand-owner perspective, Mike Ferrari of Ferrari Innovation Solutions, LLC who had a thirty-two year career at The Procter & Gamble Co. and is now a Packaging Industry Consultant comments, “Having seen the Highcon Euclid in action myself, it is clear it will also change the consumer experience, enabling marketers and designers the freedom to change cartons, shapes and windows. It will be fascinating to see what the machine is capable of during its beta testing.”
Atlantic Zeiser focuses on industrial digital printing
The Atlantic Zeiser Group, a leading developer and supplier of integration components and end-to-end system solutions for industrial digital printing to code and serialise packaging, mailshots and 3D products, has highlighted the creativity and flexibility of its integrated system solutions.
Numerous four-colour samples will show the variety of capabilities made possible by its optimised end-to-end DIGILINE™ Single Product and DIGILINE™ Web systems for digital late-stage customisation within existing production processes.
The DIGILINE™ Single Product is based on a modular concept with flexible configuration possibilities for different feeding and transport options, printing and coding technologies for standard and security inks, camera verification as well as delivery options. It offers product widths of between 30 and 1050mm.
The DIGILINE™ Web consists of a modular continuous feed unit, digital inkjet printers, curing technology and controller unit. It has an automatic splice station that detects, marks and splices printing errors within the production process and continues the print job seamlessly.
All DIGILINE systems are available with monochrome OMEGA™, DELTA™ and 4C GAMMA™ printers as integration modules. The integrated MiniController seamlessly manages the production and information flow of the end-to-end system solution, without limiting the modules to be incorporated.
These solutions simplify the late-stage customisation process for packages with high-quality print requirements and help create innovative applications through the integration of different modules in a ‘one-stop’ shop. They were designed to meet the increased demand for late-stage package customisation, including the need to reduce costs by operating with smaller production quantities to minimise storage capacities; and just-in-time supply with short reaction times, especially with packages marked with variable data, such as barcodes and product ingredient information in different languages.
The flexible, scalable systems that are application oriented and customer focused were developed as part of Atlantic Zeiser’s close co-operation with leading brand owners, pharmaceutical and packaging producers.
Carl-Michael Heüveldop, Head of Business Development at Atlantic Zeiser, states: “The emphasis for us is in helping customers identify how late stage customisation can help their end users improve product identification more effectively and cost consciously. As such our carefully selected samples will enable them to understand the broader implications and how they can help their business identify new market potential.”
MPS’s EXL offset changes offset printing
With the launch of the EXL offset press, press builder MPS has made a distinctive change in today’s world of offset printing. The new web offset press contains the newest variable sleeve technology. With variable sleeves MPS has succeeded in significantly reducing the waste factor as well as the initial investment in offset printing.
Offset printing technology offers high efficiencies in pre-press and print form manufacturing, which results in all over lead-time reduction. International companies and brand owners are increasingly working towards standardised processes using the offset printing process. The offset process has been standardised over many years and is incredibly accurate for repeat jobs. An important advantage of offset technology is the relatively low costs for the production of plates. The combination of very fine tones in application with solids, texts and fine lines, gives offset a very prominent position in terms of quality. A further benefit of using offset technology is the fact that screen-count can become much narrower, 200 screen lines per inch are not exceptional for offset, neither is the even finer FM-screening. These technology characteristics can become decisive in the highly competitive packaging print market.
There are several reasons why printers are reluctant to choose the offset process although in terms of quality they would much prefer the quality of print that offset offers. The reasons that printers do not choose offset are high investment, time consumption, waste and operator skills. Especially when starting a new job or using different material in offset can mean set up waste and time consumption in order to get to the correct print settings.
The new MPS press is an automated offset combination press using sleeves for the plate and blanket carrier. The automated print pressure settings and controls allow the printers to make use of "normal" sleeve technology. There is no longer a need for special support bearer rings or any other mechanical support. The variable sleeves are much cheaper in use and do not need readjustments during the production run.
The EXL offset is MPS’s latest press generation in future-oriented packaging printing, running completely automated. Ink keys are controlled by a ductor roller which refers to stored data like timing and tack of the ink. Form rollers are automatically maintained in pressure position. All pressure, ink, and water balance settings are servo driven and easily be uploaded out of job memory. In MPS’s job memory not only print settings are saved, also material calibration is applied, which means that all stored settings can be loaded for each different material used.
The substrate waste saving character of the EXL lies in the variability of plate and blanket sleeve. Changing repeat lengths is convenient as the printer is assisted by full setting-automation, which guarantees a correct and efficient change-over procedure.
As all settings are saved into job memory, the printer can start a job by simply uploading the right print and material settings and there is no need of running and adjusting.
The EXL’s offset combination press can be equipped with additional printing technologies like flexo, screen or gravure units and all necessary converting techniques. Hot and cold foil units can be placed in such a way that they do not tie up an offset print unit.
The EXL offset is available at 16” and 20” web widths and comes with a speed of 200 meters a minute as a standard. With repeat sizes ranging from 18-25”, the EXL offset can be used for all kinds of applications in the label printing industry. The new press assembles all favourable offset characteristics together in one state-of-the-art piece of technology with exceptional low costs per 1,000 labels.
Mr Aleithe, Firma Aleithe commments, "We always had the wish to print next to flexo in offset. When we first heard about the unique concept of MPS’s sleeve technology we decided to wait for the launch of the new press. In April 2011 we could run our first orders on the brand new EXL offset press. Within one day already our printer was able to print independently on the press and MPS’s printer only needed to assist. All unique features were applied immediately and we were very enthusiastic about the user-friendliness of the machine and the minimum quantity of waste we accomplish."