German equipment suppliers are world leaders when it comes to converting technology. In this year's German special issue Converting Today looks at the latest crop of developments including presses, coating and laminating, plastics processing and slitting and rewinding.

Foiler is hot stuff

Speeds three to four times faster than conventional foil stamping machines, minimal foil consumption and the highest quality achieved by constant rotary die movements are claimed for the new Foil-Jet WEB from Steuer Printing Technology.

The roll to roll foil stamping press spans applications including packaging and security. Top speed is said to be up to 150m/min for standard hot foil stamping and 120m/min for hologram application. Marc Steuer, product manager, says: “The operational possibilities are enormous because the machine is manufactured in formats ranging from 560 to 1,020mm and for all areas of application, either as an off-line machine or integrated into other machine systems or processes.

Equipped with proven Steuer standard modules such as unwinder, web aligner and pull units, as well as rewinder or sheeter or die cutter with delivery, the line is designed for reliability. Foil is applied between the heated form cylinder and the impression cylinder, and the paper web moved continuously. Foil handling is executed using the foil unit of the sheet-fed Steuer Foil-Jet FBR 104. But unlike the sheet-fed system, the cylinder circumference of the roll to roll machine had to be adapted to the repeat length to avoid losing too much speed. The solution was to arrange the cylinders in an interchangeable cassette and connect them to the machine by using quick clutches. Many formats can be run by just changing the dies. Format lengths up to 1,256mm are infinitely variable.

High speed and a smooth and controllable production process are especially required by the cigarette industry. “One of our Chinese customers has been using a Foil-Jet WEB successfully for more than one year for cigarette packs,” remarks managing director Armin Steuer. “Besides the excellent stamping quality, they hold in high regard the continuous stock travel. This makes it possible to handle even sensitive stock at high speed.”

Lab offers extrusion help

With the installation of a new laboratory line in its R&D centre, Reifenhäuser claims to have provided the means for materials converters to push forward developments and improvements in the field of extrusion coating of laminates.

Designated the Lamicor 5-1200 the line comprises a Reitruder RZE 66/41 D twin-screw extruder, 100mm single-screw extruder with vacuum venting, 50mm single-screw extruder, REIcofeed five-layer coextrusion adaptor, and 1,200mm die with internal deckling. It has an ASC tolerance control system (automatic die with thermo bolts), two unwinders and a winder for gap winding, contact winding and centre winding. Production capacity is from 300 – 400kg/hour at speeds up to 500m/min. Trimmed film width is up to 1,000 mm.

Reifenhäuser direct extrusion tech- nology is also provided. It uses individual components instead of conventional compounds, resulting in cost reductions.

As well as packaging and healthcare, other applications are being targeted that are not currently using extrusion techniques. Over the last few months more than 20 trials have been conducted to try to achieve the product development ideas of plastics converters.

The company has also commissioned a direct extrusion line for production of breathable film at Juta, in the Czech Republic.

Amcor extruding down under

A Kiefel Extrusion Kirion blown film extrusion line is due to be commissioned at Amcor, Australia by the end of this year. The mono extrusion line, with an output of 400 kg/h and a 100mm screw diameter, will produce LDPE and LLDPE films in widths up to 1,600mm for bread bags.

Optimal film tolerances are obtained by a thermally regulated die, automated by Kirion C. In order to help achieve scratch-free films, patented Zerotouch turning bars are used.

The modular blown film extrusion lines are available as single and multilayer systems producing up to seven layer films.

Controls contribute to gearless press success

A Meshcon-FD print quality control system from Eltromat is installed on a Fisher & Krecke eight colour Flexpress 16S CI at Packall Packaging, in Mississauga, Toronto, Ontario.

The initial installation of the system in North America could not have been a tougher test, says the company. The first complete shaftless eight colour flexo CI printing machine in North America is setting new standards for production flexibility and performance with modern sleeve technology and continuous print lengths. With speeds of up to 360m/min, the Meshcon-FD quickly demonstrated the economic benefits of fully automatic register presetting and high resolution web monitoring, claims the company.

With sales at $39M and a 20 per cent market share in Canada, Packall has increased exports to the USA to about 50 percent of its business. The application of state-of-the-art production methods such as up to seven-layer extrusion, latest technology flexo printing, extrusion lamination and coating, as well as the use of highly developed packaging technologies are said to have made it a leader in vacuum packaging solutions.

Owner Henry Ciszweski and printing manager Walter Surikow, were able to report a considerable reduction in set-up times and scrap as well as a high degree of reliability of the print quality control system shortly after start-up of the new press. Henry Ciszewksi says: “The investment in the completely shaftless eight colour Flexpress 16S has turned our company into a showroom for modern flexo printing in North America. We decided in 1995 to put our money in this printing process because we are convinced of the favourable price-performance ratio and versatility of operation. Previously, only four and six colour machines were used, the new eight colour Flexpress has broken new ground, which makes it possible for us to respond to customer wishes on an even more individual level.

“Our customers are always looking for improved product presentation, shorter delivery times and lower prices. In particular, compromises in print quality are not accepted. For monitoring and control of the processes, high tech print quality control systems such as the Meshcon-FD system from Eltromat are very important.”

Walter Surikow states: “The use of high performance machines, which are becoming ever more technically sophisticated, allows 24-hour operation with multiple shifts and makes the need for highly automated monitoring systems even more critical.

“In addition, expensive web materials prohibit high scrap rates. With our new Flexpress 16S, the savings in set-up times as a result of the automated register process and the resulting double digit scrap reduction, add up quickly to improved productivity.

“The Meshcon-FD system stood the test from the ‘get go’ and has been in operation without any disruption since the production start-up of the press. Compared to the time consuming manual fine register adjustment of our other printing units, we reduced the set-up times and scrap by almost 80 per cent. With the auto register facility after a plate change, several hundred metres of the valuable material are quickly saved. And using Eltromat’s high resolution camera system we significantly increased our production capability and quality.”

Meshcon-FD is used as a highly integrated combination of web viewing and electronic control of longitudinal and lateral register on new presses, and may also be retrofitted.

Bubble cooling heart of film line

Windmöller & Hölscher has launched a flexible extrusion system for the production of mono and multilayer PE-HD film said to provide excellent gauge tolerances and flatness characteristics.

Basis for the dedicated equipment is the Varex blown film technology with the high performance (HPS) barrier screw concept, allowing for extremely low melt temperatures. The result is a highly homogeneous melt and excellent dart-drop results with film thickness of nine micron and less, says W & H.

Heart of the machine is the inner and outer bubble cooling systems technology. An air pipe inside the bubble, which functions like a compensating valve, ensures maximum cooling air supply inde- pendent of operating conditions. Fluttering or wobbling bubbles are said to be a thing of the past and are eliminated even without using any additional outer support in the long bubble neck.

The Optifil Plus automatic process control package and the use of standard modules for the entire extruder section, as well as for the oscillating haul-off unit, allows the system to be used for also for production of PE-LD or PE-LLD composite films.

DS Smith bags Zewathener

In a move to further strengthen its liquid packaging and dispense systems offering, DS Smith has acquired Zewathener. The company is known for the production of bag in box systems for the wine, dairy, soft drinks, liquid foods, and juices markets. It joins the Liquid Packaging and Dispensing businesses of Rapak, Rapak Asia Pacific and Worldwide Dispensers. Together they have sales in excess of €165M.

“It’s a perfect match,” says Helmut Kiefer, Zewathener’s geschäftsführer. “DS Smith has great strengths in bag-in-box, corrugated and injection moulded dispensers, and our combined experience and technology make us a major player worldwide and better able to serve our customers.”

UV retrofit provides huge savings

A UV curing system retro-fit has saved an average of 29 per cent on press running costs with up to 25 per cent increase in production, as well as providing new market opportunities for Essen based label printer Barthel, says Wolfgang Kiefer, of Dr Honle. Accrued annual savings on power and lamps alone is e17,616, he reports.

The challenge for Honle and its partner in the project – Rotapress – was to upgrade three 14year-old, five, six and seven colour Webtron presses to permit thinner films to be produced and to increase outputs.

“The first step was to completely upgrade the tension control with a fully automatic system,” states Roland Strodel, md at Rotapress. “Each printing station was thoroughly overhauled and equipped with new gears, rollers and bearings. The electronic register control was also upgraded for easier set-up and all internal components completely replaced.

“The original water cooled, two lamps per print station UV curing systems on each press were replaced with Honle, energy efficient, single lamp, air cooled systems. This also eliminated the high maintenance needs and space require- ment of the original systems. The new systems also permit easier web threading for fast press set-up. Each upgrade took about three days, resulting in an immediate 25 per cent increase in production on each machine due to less downtime, faster set-up and increased press speeds with better registration. Barthel is now able to look at new market possibilities and run PE and low gauge films without the need for water chilled systems.”

Adds Wolfgang Kiefer: “Replacement of the two lamp, water cooled UV systems also provides significant savings in consumables and power consumption that can be easily calculated based on the technical data concerned. Typically the original two lamp UV systems supplied with these presses would have been rated at 2 x 120 W/cm per print station while our UV lamps are rated at 1 x 160 W/cm with a final UV lamp rated at 1 x 236 W/cm.

Robots put a stop to bag handling

Bag making specialist Lemo can now supply rubber stoppers to automatically secure packs of bags on the wicket in its Intermat S-ST bag makers.

To secure the loose packs of bags it is necessary to place rubber stoppers onto the ends of the wicket. This follows the backing and cover carton application for transport protection. Until now the stopper application was done manually. With the newly developed unit, fitted into the working sequence of the Autopack ST robot, the rubber stoppers are de-stocked out of a magazine and placed onto the wicket ends.

Also recently announced is the Automatic Core Feeder, available for the company’s T-shirt bag makers. This positions and loads plastics cores in the bag making line. Semi ready packs of bags are transported by gripper-carrier to the stamping and core loading position. When the T-shirt shape is stamped out, the pack is pressed onto two plastics cores, which are designed to take five packs of T-shirt bags, each holding100 carriers. When the full load of cores is reached, the full pack is delivered onto the belt conveyor.

Grinding at high precision

Designed for small and medium sized companies, a new grinder and polisher for all kinds of circular knives, especially top and bottom knives for slitters and sheeters, has been announced by Dienes.

Suitable for knives up to 355mm OD, the equipment is built on a structural steel frame. It features a vibration dampening cast iron base, cast iron work head mounted on linear bearing ways, and a variable speed 1.5hp wheel drive.

Carton converting widens

Specialist in the development and production of rotary tools Schober is offering wider digital servo driven rotary converting units with the introduction of special machines for the production of folding boxes.

Designated PBO, they are available in three working widths: 550, 650 and 850mm. The modular and hybrid machine concept with separate drive technology enables the unit to be operated either as an in-line version driven by a press or an off-line version.

Components comprise an unwinder (only when off-line), web tension control device, web edge control device, automatic register control with sensors, hologram/heat sealing units, embossing units, rotary, creasing, punching and cutting units, automatic pile delivery and central control desk. Alternatively, the PBO can be delivered with a rotary cross cutter and high performance sheet pile delivery.

Happy anniversary Planatol

Celebrating 70 years of supplying the printing industry with adhesives and systems this year, Planatol boasts an export share of 70 per cent of the machines manufactured and 35 per cent of adhesives produced. Products range from hotmelts, pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesives, polyurethane adhesives and specials. The company also offers production-specific adhesive recommendations. Applications include bookbinding, fold gluing, labels and stamps, coatings, forms and cartons and cases.

UV narrow web expansion

IST group reports a 29 per cent increase in its sales to the narrow web sector in the first half of 2002. Further expansion is planned with the appointment of three additional salesmen. Simon Mitchell, Karl Schmucker and Jochen Labenda will focus on the UK, USA and continental Europe respectively. An estimated 95 per cent of new narrow web presses print with UV, says the company.

e-service a reality at Saueressig

Specialist in supplying engraved cylinders, plates and sleeves for gravure and flexo print applications Saueressig is focused on moving towards “a comprehensive companies integrated production net-work”. Order handling has been accelerated by electronic integration of its ERP systems with the IT systems of its customers, it explains.

The services targeted are order tracking, repro approval, open comm and an image data base. “Transparency is the magic word,” says Diana Saueressig. “Orders can be followed in the www.” Customers will be able to see, for instance, if the repro process has been completed, if the production of the cylinders has begun, if the proof print has been made and if the cylinders have been dis- patched.

“In the future we will be offering our customers the possibility of approving repro directly on our server via the internet,” she continues. “They will receive an email as soon as the repro is filed on the server for approval. They will also be able to measure the repro densi- trometrically or metrically and to add notes. It will be possible to view each colour separation and to approve the layout directly.

“And finally. it is intended to print out a colour binding proof on a proofer at the customer’s premises.”

Sheeting success

“Strong global demand” is reported for Körber Paper- Link’s SHM 1450 HS folio sheeter range, with five new contracts signed in recent weeks. They include three of the new dual rotary design machines for customers in the USA. The other two, for Africa and Russia, are the single rotary version.

The 1450 HS DR dual rotary features a twin ‘synchro’ knife cutting head. Körber ceo Martin Weicken- meier comments: “The availability of twin knife technology at such attract-ive prices will be of particular interest to independent paper and board converters, merch-ants and distributors.

State of the art pilot coater

Heart of the expansion and upgrading of BASF’s technology centre at its Ludwigshafen plant is the installation of what is claimed will be the world’s fastest pilot line for coating adhesives on endless material webs. Pagendarm BTT, specialist coater and dryer builder, is running the project.

The move will allow all the company’s adhesives – including water based and hotmelt products – to be tested and demonstrated to customers from all over the world under production conditions. To be finished by the end of this month, the centre is scheduled to run its first tests in November. Unrestricted use is planned for the beginning of December.

Target of the modernization is updating of coating and drying technologies to match industrial claims, precise coating distribution and accurate reproduction of technology parameters, also informative test run recording and short set-up time consumption for the different coating procedures. To achieve this, the following requirements have to be met: constant web tensions during very wide speed ranges, uncomplicated handling and operation of the pilot lines, simple and safe set-up of coating equipment, and danger-free cleaning of equipment not in use during operation. The equipment comes in different modules for easy and fast changes of coating methods.

In co-operation with Lebbing Engineering & Consulting of Bocholt, specialist in drive applications for coating and converting equipment, controls and visualization systems, all line main drives were equipped with Siemens servo-motors and Simovert Masterdrives VC compact-plus-inverters to reach the required top speed of 1,500 m/min as well as to gain the essential control accuracy. All main drives are linked via Profibus -DP with central plc.

The high dynamic data transmission, indispensable for this exceptional high line speed, enables Simolink, an extremely fast nominal value supply cascade based on light wave conductors, to meet requirements for fast and sychronical nominal value distribution from an internal masterdrive and rapid coupling succession between main drives and web tension control units.

W &H
PE-HD Varex line

PE-HD Varex line