The latest on innovations, applications, and installations from around the industry

Gearless goes to Teich

A second Uteco UV line is being installed at the Teich (Constantia-Verpackunghen) plant in Weinburg, Austria.

An Emerald SIL quick change (sleeves) flexo press, it has the printing units in-line and features the company’s gearless technology. The units are connected through an electric shaft and have a direct drive on the sleeve-plate mandrels. There is no mechanical shaft – even to connect the counter impression cylinders).

The press configuration is eight flexo units plus one rotogravure unit for lacquering and special coatings. Designed for printing with UV inks on aluminium foil it is equipped with UV lamps (supplied by Noelle) and an inking system suitable for use with these specific inks. It has Eltromat register control and MSI from Uteco.

The company has also announced the sale of two Jade presses to Korsnas Packaging, a leader in sack production and packaging systems. The flexo lines, dedicated to print on paper, will be delivered to two different plants in Europe. They are designed to print large repeats on wide webs. Unwinder and rewinder will handle large diameter paper reels.

Uteco Tel : +39 45 6174555

Largest gearless sleeved CI flexo press

At an open house presentation in Bielefeld, Germany, this month, Fischer & Krecke will unveil “the largest and most advanced CI flexo printing machine in the world”.

Aimed at the preprint liner board market, the Flexpress 96S will handle a web width of 2.5m with a repeat of 1.8m, and is equipped with servo drives for gearless print in conjunction with print sleeves. F&K claims it offers an output capacity of “tremendous proportions”.

Sleeve systems dramatically improve change-over times, while gearless technology facilitates exact print repeats, reducing waste. Variable repeat range and micron precision register are also offered. Speeds of up 600m/min with drying capacity to match. Rapid change-over is enhanced by the Flexpress Access system, which allows unused print decks to be changed over on the run

A special feature is the patented ‘Sequence Print’ facility to increase the press repeat potential up to 3.5m by splitting the total repeat length between two print decks whilst maintaining a good registration.

The company will also debut the Flexpress Motion – a print sleeve, mandrel, and anilox logistic system for automated connection of all peripheral processes.

Fischer & Krecke Tel: +49 521 30480

Labels on their metal

OPM Labels, part of the OPM Group, has produced the first labels to be printed flexographically, using MetalFX, the new multi metallic printing technology.

The labels, for the Astonish range of household cleaning products, contain a variety of metallic silvers and blues that have been incorporated into images such as stainless steel sinks and ceramic hobs, replicating the clean metallic shine of such items. Darren Kaye, sales and marketing manager at OPM Group comments: “Printing the labels in MetalFX has enabled us to use metallic colours like never before, and then accurately reproduce the wide variety of metallic hues that our client’s designs required. The finished results look striking.”

The technology enables literally hundreds of metallic colours to be incorporated at the design stage, and then printed by adding only one base silver ink to the usual CMYK mix, explains the company. OPM Group was amongst the first UK printers to adopt the new technology, and is pioneering its use in the labels and flexible packaging sectors.

“MetalFX is a truly innovative production technique,” continues Darren Kaye, “We have been working very closely with our supplier partners resulting in winning numerous EFTA Awards for both Print Excellence and Specialist Ink Techniques. This technology will take us to yet another level.”

The MetalFX kit was launched this June. It contains the MFX software CD for MetalFX design, swatch book, user guide and packaging cards.

MFX Tel: +44 (0)1943 884 888

Recycled solvents lower costs

Wash solvents used in flexography can be expensive to buy and dispose of and often take up valuable storage space that requires special facilities, reports UK based Solutex. “More and more companies are realising the benefits of solvent recycling and it’s now easier than ever for anyone to process their own solvents and reap the rewards of substantially lower costs,” it points out.

The company has a range of distillation units suitable for any solvent that provides a means to close loop waste streams for ink, solvent or almost any wash solution. Distillation units are available for manual and automatic operation and allow the recycling and re-use of solvents. This reduces solvent purchases to almost zero, cuts the volume of hazardous materials on site and all but eliminates the need to transport liquid hazardous waste off site, it claims. “With a range of units starting from seven litres capacity, it is now economical for even small users to recycle. Larger users are taken care of with standard and custom built machines suitable for any capacity.”

The units are claimed to be easy to use: dirty solvent is loaded and a button pressed. Self monitoring, the process turns off automatically to give clean gun wash and cleanup solvents, ready for reuse. The solid contaminants remain as a residue inside a disposable bag, avoiding cleaning of the boiler. The solvent characteristics are not altered by the distillation process.

Solutex: Tel: +44 (0)1691 622225

Edale warms to the Tropics

Autoadhesivos Hagus, of Panama, has recently taken delivery of its new Edale 6 colour E250s. Established in 1986, the company produces a wide range of labels and “an enviable reputation for quality”.

With a recent growth in sales, administrative manager Mario Quelquejeu felt it was time to invest in a more efficient press that would meet the demands of his most discerning customers. “In today’s competitive marketplace efficiency has become paramount and it was therefore inevitable that we would eventually require a more productive and experienced press,” he explains. “The machine itself has an unbelievable floor space of only 4m2 and, in addition to excellent print quality, easy operator handling and the flexibility to produce a wide range of label applications, a very affordable price tag. We could not have found a more suitable press,” he adds.

Bernhard Grob, joint managing director of Edale, is confident that through further successful installations in Central and South America, more companies like Autoadhesivos Hagus will begin to look across the Atlantic, to his company, for all their label and packaging needs.

Edale Tel: +44 (0) 1794 524422

Keeping a machine safe and clean

One of the biggest problems facing flexographic printers using solvents today, is the demand to decrease the use of volatile, fast inflammable cleaning liquids like MEK, ethyl acetate and ethanol. Flexoclean Engineering claims to have succeeded in developing a cleaner that is not only harmless, but also meets even the severest of environmental laws. Designated Environmental Cleaner, it is said to have perfect cleaning characteristics, can be filtered for reuse, is cost saving and improves printing quality.

Use of the product reduces by investments in air purification installations, conditioned storage spaces for chemicals and the expensive storage and transport of toxic waste. The liquid inflames at 75deg C, while ethanol, the nearest competitor, spontaneously inflames at 12deg. OPS- and VOC-provisions are unnecessary.

Added bonus is the possibility of re-use. The company has developed a membrane filter that returns 90 per cent of the contaminated cleaning fluid to its original values. The fully closed and automated patented installation has a capacity of 500 litre/24hour.

A more constant and higher printing quality results from the cleaning of doctor blades and anilox rolls with the product, says the company. And, as the cleaner is less volatile, doctor blades and anilox rolls do not run dry. The advantage is less wear on these vital parts of the metering system, claims Netherlands based Flexoclean.

Flexoclean Engineering Tel: +31 (0)162 56222

Gearless press at ‘affordable’ price

To enable flexo printers to compete by offering higher quality print without having to find gravure style investment, Flexotecnica has introduced a gearless press said to have a standard, “affordable” specification. The Chronos model consolidates the technology of the company’s eight and 10 colour, and large repeat gearless presses, in an eight colour CI flexo press.

Fully sleeved, it combines print quality with quick job change-overs, boasts the company. The operator control system makes it easy to enter new jobs and to recall stored jobs for repeat runs. It is available in widths from 1,000 –1,270mm with print repeats from 340–750mm. It features turret winders, quick release doctor blade chambers and edge guides.

Flexotecnica Tel: +39 0371 4431

Lithuanian expansion

A rotary Omet Varyflex 670 press has been installed at Vilriké Sprustuvé, in Vilnius. The prominent Lithuanian converter of paper, board, aluminium foil, plastics films and laminates producing labels, food and cosmetics packaging also has an Omet Multiflex UV press, which has been running since 1999.

“Our mission,” declares Je¡zi Augustinavicius, production manager,” is offering the maximum graphic and structural quality as well as a complete and fast service to face the pressing demands of a strongly growing market.”

During the final trials at Lecco he said: “After the positive experience with Multiflex we turned to Omet again to ensure the same reliability of the previous line, but also as they were able to offer new solutions to the growing converting problems.”

The line has a web width of 670mm for solvent based inks with eight flexo printing units (four with a double doctor blade and four with reverse print) and is provided with a roll unwinder up to 1,000mm diameter, a Kelva suction unit, eight viscometers, hot air lamination, hot air drying, longitudinal cutting front-shearing unit with five blades, standard rewinder with upper rewinding shaft, register control and motorized video camera.

The machine uses the sleeve system for printing plates and anilox rolls and is provided with printing plate assembly equipment and cooling plant. The direct drive and sleeve makes job changes faster.

Omet Tel: +39 (0)341 367513

Delta goes for flexo by the Bobst route

Leading Belfast packaging manufacturer, Delta Print and Packaging, has broken with litho printing and signed an order for an eight colour, in-line flexo press. Due for delivery at the turn of the year, the Bobst Lemanic 67-F press will primarily be used to fulfil Delta’s extensive contracts with MacDonalds Restaurants. “The time has come for flexo,” says Delta chairman Terry Cross, “and it won’t be long before other major carton makers wake up to the fact that it can be a very effective alternative to litho for a lot of work.”

The line will allow the company to print, die-cut, strip and blank cartons, producing a pile of print-side up blanks ready for its Bobst folder-gluers. The press is specified to print up to seven face colours (with two units printing both front and back) and will also include a varnish unit with UV and hot air drying. Die cutting will be carried out using Bobst’s own DR-67 rotary die cut unit, while a Bobst Speedflow 420 delivery unit and stacker will convert the shingled streams of blanks into aligned piles. Quality assurance on the line will be controlled using a Registron S5100.

“Once we’d settled on the flexo process we chose Bobst because we felt the Lemanic line would give us the performance, quality and reliability we need,” says Terry Cross. “You can’t take chances with any of these when you have to fulfil high volume, short lead time contracts – especially when you’ve made your name, as we have, by continually improving service levels and product quality.”

Bobst Tel: +44 (0)7768 110922

Press promises to be printer’s friend

At GEC ’03, Bielloni debuted the Theorema 10 flexo press – a compact version of the Theorema 8 with lifting platforms giving easy access to each colour station.

Operator friendly and geared to reduce downtime and maintenance, the press has electric and or pneumatic drives. All print stations are designed for horizontal shifting. Traditional solid printing cylinders have been replaced by sleeves in this gearless press. A precise vector synchronized motorization is said to guarantee a constant print repeat.

Drive transmission between motors, anilox and printing sleeves is axially connected by gears without flexible or toothed belts for precise printing stability. The usual dot gain, which is typical on results from the gear presses is totally non existent, claims Bielloni. Such a result dramatically improves the printing sharpness particularly with delicate process work, it adds.

Motorized positioning can be set by remote control. A manual keypad handled by the operator allows the machine to be set by radio waves from any area close to the machine. Drying speed is up to 400m/min.

The Theorema 10 can include additional stack flexo stations, synchronized

Bielloni Tel: +39 039 24851

Parkside picks fourth Novoflex

UK flexible packaging manufacturer Parkside International has installed a second Windmöller & Hölscher Novoflex gearless press at its production unit in Darton. The new press is the fourth Novoflex to be installed across the Parkside group.

The machine offers infinitely variable repeat lengths through advanced AC vector drive digital technology which eliminates plate cylinder gears and all their associated parts to speedr job change-over times. Direct drive of the plate cylinder and anilox rolls is said to give precise matching of the speed between plates and the web, resulting in optimum quality.

“This press can produce wide width runs at very high speeds whilst maintaining its exceptional flexo quality of print and marks another innovative addition to our printing capabilities,” says Parkside chief executive Geoffrey Stewart. “We were the first UK packaging manufacturer to install a Novoflex eight colour press back in 2000 and we, along with our customers, have been extremely pleased with the standard of flexo print quality produced by the Novoflex, as demonstrated by the numerous flexo printing awards Parkside has won over the last three years.

“The standard of flexo print enables us to continue to attack markets previously the domain of gravure,” he adds.

W&H Tel: +49 5481 142929

Akzo making UV ink launch at Labelexpo

Akzo Nobel will feature several new UV flexo inks for use on narrow web presses at Labelexpo Europe. The Flexocure range is claimed to offer excellent cure speed, printability and colour strength. Combining “excellent adhesion to a wide range of synthetic substrates with excellent hold-out and gloss on both machine and cast coated papers”, it is said to be a “truly a universal UV flexo ink for self adhesive labels”. The company’s stand is 5B45.

Akzo Nobel Inks Tel: +46 (0)410 59302

Eleventh FACE CD launched

Fault finding and problem solving are covered in the latest CD from EFTA. Eleventh in the FACE series, it runs to 70min and explains how to identify the root cause of a print fault. Five categories of potential print faults – ink, colour, pressure, resister and drying are also examined in detail.

After completing this element of the programme, students are asked to study 10 examples of print faults and select the likely cause. If they select the wrong cause, a full explanation is given. Fault finding decision trees are available on the CD and can be printed out.

Emphasis throughout the CD is placed on how to adopt a logical approach to fault finding. A final test of 18 questions ensures students have understood the content of the programme.

Other FACE CDs cover inks, anilox, plates, metering systems, fingerprinting, repro, mounting and proofing. They allow companies to provide in-house training to all levels of staff, and EFTA can provide written examinations that can be conducted in-house. The association also provides a free examination that can be used to assess employees’ level of knowledge of flexography to help determine their needs.

Members of the EFTA can buy any four CDs from the series for £995 (non members £1,250) or the complete set for £1,995 (non members £2,995). A free CD is available giving further detail of the content of each module and a sample of the teaching material. It also includes printable records that can be used to summarize an employee’s progress. EFTA Tel: +44 (0) 1458 241455


The Print Awards Dinner in 2004 will be held on March 1 at the Hilton Metropole NEC Birmingham. Entry forms for the competition (the deadline is October 24, 2003) are available by calling +44 (0)1458 241455, or by visiting

More lean manufacturing seminars

Aware of the constant need to improve manufacturing effectiveness and efficiency against a background of continuing price pressures and the consequent need to reduce costs, EFTA is to repeat a series of successful “lean manufacturing” seminars in October.

The three seminars will take place on consecutive weeks. The Introductory event covering the development of management thinking towards the lean concepts will be held on October 28. It will introduce the concept of measuring machine efficiency using the Overall Equipment Efficiency Metric, and explain the seven wastes and outline tools that can be used to improve overall equipment efficiency. The second workshop – a week later- will cover the use of 5 S and Total Productive Maintenance as tools to improve efficiency. The third will cover quick change-over techniques and waste reduction programmes.

These programmes are aimed at all those involved in the print process. “Feedback from the attendees on the first series of workshops at the beginning of 2003 indicated that they all thought the seminars offered excellent content and value for money,” reports EFTA.

The workshops will be held at the Forum Conference Centre, Huddersfield, which is conveniently situated about five minutes from the M62. Cost of the programme, including detailed workbooks, is £195.00+VAT per workshop for EFTA members (£250.00 + VAT for non members). Discounts are available for companies attending all three workshops or sending more that one delegate.

EFTA Tel: +44 (0) 1458 241455