Packaging
Mark Andy will debut Digital One, a new entry-level inkjet printing and converting label press, at Labelexpo Americas 2016, running from September 13 to 15 in Rosemont, Illinois. Deliveries of Digital One are scheduled to begin in December 2016 in North America and to the rest of world in Q1 2017.

The new press, according to the company, is designed to print short run prime labels with in-line converting at a low investment level – using what Mark Andy describes as a pay-as-you-go model. The press provides 4-colour CMYK printing with a 1,200 x 1,200-dpi resolution combined with a single flexo station for in-line converting and decorating.

The standardized configuration features a web width of 13 inch (330 mm) with printing speeds reaching 63 feet per minute (19 metres per miute) on various substrates including pressure sensitive paper and film, unsupported paper and tag stocks. The servo-driven flexo station offers capabilities to spot colour, varnish, laminate, and cold foil with in-line finishing offering die cutting, stripping and slitting capabilities. Equipped with air-cooled UV LED curing and an onboard compressor, Digital One requires a 220v single phase power source.

Mark Andy Manager of Business Development, Tim Brasher, believes that the Digital One will go hand-in-hand with the company’s strategic growth initiatives, providing superior, productive digital solutions to a wider range of markets and converters. This extension of our robust product line reinforces the Mark Andy commitment to being a Total Solutions Partner to the label and packaging market.

“Demands for digital capabilities are steadily increasing,” said Mark Andy Manager of Business Development, Tim Brasher. “Digital One is a viable solution for converters allowing them to engage with more customers and seek more opportunities to generate revenue for their businesses.”
Kodak expanded its line of brand-protection products, primarily aimed at thwarted counterfeiting, to include Thermal Transfer Ribbon printing with its Traceless Anywhere System and Traceless Ultracovert System.

Kodak explains the new technology allows for deploying Thermal Transfer Printers that companies already use to print barcode and product identification labels. This drop-in solution only requires switching from current Thermal Transfer Ribbon (TTR) to Kodak Traceless TTR, which creates the same look but results can then be detected – separating counterfeit from authentic product – through the use of the pocket-sized Traceless Anywhere Reader.

Kodak explains its Anywhere Solution has the advantage of requiring a lighter, smaller, and less expensive Reader than the Ultracovert System while still providing covert protection against duplication by counterfeiters. Kodak TTR are super-premium resin-based for maximum durability and sample ribbons for conducting print trials are available at no charge.

“Brand owners and brand protection managers are looking for solutions to their authentication challenges but don’t have the time and patience for solutions that require changes to label artwork and production processes,” explained Richard Gammons, Product Manager for Kodak Brand Protection Solutions. “Other solutions require alignment among many different departments and convincing various company stakeholders to make changes. With thermal transfer ribbons from Kodak, the solution can be added to any flat-head style TTR printer and you’re done. Very few people in the company even need to know that a security feature is being added, which further protects the brand from accidental disclosure to would-be counterfeiters.”

Nilpeter plans to introduce a new inkjet press platform called PANORAMA, focused on packaging, at the upcoming LabelExpo 2015 tradeshow, running from September 29 to October 1 in Brussels, Belgium.

The first new press in the PANORAMA line to be highlighted will be the 5-colour DP-3 UV-inkjet press designed for single-pass printing, while the company is also preparing to unveil the FA-4 flexo press. Nilpeter explains the PANORAMA product-line is designed to produce a range of label jobs in short- to medium-run lengths with minimum wastage.

The company continues to explain, in developing PANORAMA, it has adapted several of its inline finishing modules to digital production. This includes a web in-feed, varnishing unit, the QC-Die-cutting system, smart matrix stripping, length slitting, varnishing unit, and small-roll dual rewinds. A mark sensor used by PANORAMA technology allows for precision re-inserting of webs for reverse printing, or overprinting of pre-printed webs, including variable data.


The PANORAMA product-line has a maximum printing width of 322 mm (12.67 inches) on up to 350 mm wide webs. It prints up to 50 metres per minute (164 ft/min) using paper or filmic label laminates from 90 to 350 microns. In addition to CMYK UV-inks, PANORAMA features an opaque white ink as standard for printing transparent films and metallic foils.


The PANORAMA DP-3 print engine uses single-pass 600-dpi piezo print heads with 4-level greyscale imaging. A minimum droplet size of three picolitres allows small-dot halftones for hitting flesh tones and fine vignettes. The digital front-end includes what the company describes as strong typeface optimization and automated step- and-repeat functions. Expanded options for vivid colour reproduction is also available.

Asahi Photoproducts has introduced what the company describes as two new premium digital photopolymer flexo plates, called TOP (solvent washable) and AWP (water-washable), which use Pinning Top Dot (PTD) technology.

PTD is designed to provide clean ink transfer and to prevent ink accumulating on the plate surfaces and shoulders in screen areas. It allows what Asahi refers to as a kiss-touch printing pressure settings. Its polymer chemistry provides low plate surface tension to inhibit liquid flow. The ink forms a globule, with a large contact angle and high pinning point. This results, according to Asahi, in a cleaner and homogeneous ink transfer from plate to substrate.

Asahi explains the higher pinning point also allows for applying reduced printing pressure throughout the printing run, regardless of ink set used, which leads to lower dot gain. Asahi’s PTD plates offer a resolution of 80 l/cm (200 lpi), minimum isolated dot of 150 µm micron, and is available in thicknesses of 1.14mm (shore A hardness 77) and 1.70mm (shore A hardness 69). It is compatible with all commonly available laser types, as well as the latest high-definition microcell screening technology.


OMET at the upcoming Labelexpo Americas show in early September plans to introduce its new 17-inch width XFlex X4 converting system.

The XFlex X4 includes OMET’s patented chilled impression roll print head design and fully automatic (MD & LD) register control system. This includes twin servo-motors on each printing unit for label and thin film printing.

The extended 17-inch width of the XFlex X4 system, accord to OMET, is geared toward printing companies that produce  short to medium runs of labels and long runs of flexible packaging.

Also at Labelexpo Americas, OMET plans to demonstrate a 10-colour XFlex X6 530, based on shrink sleeve printing and also self-adhesive converting applications. The company plans to demonstrate the XFlex X4’s changeover and production of self-adhesive label printing for the wine and spirits sector.

OMET Americas reports an install base of around 130 machines in North, Central and South American markets. Its facility is located in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Anderson & Vreeland released its new AVCAP product, which is a liquid photopolymer capping resin – sold under the AVantage line – designed to improve print quality and performance in flexography.

AVCAP is designed for use with softer-base liquid photopolymer plates applied within multi-wall, folding carton, corrugated and wide web printing applications. The addition of AVCAP during the platemaking process creates liquid photopolymer plates for imaging.

The 60 durometer (Shore A) photopolymer resin, according to Anderson & Vreeland, broadens overall tone range from 2-95% @ 133 lpi, improves ink transfer, reduces dot gain, and provides strong coverage of solids while minimizing fluting.

“AVCAP enables printers to control print gain under impression for high quality and process colour printing,” stated Randy Reynolds, AVantage Business Development Manager with Anderson & Vreeland.

The new liquid photopolymer capping resin is available in 20- and 40-pound weights.

AVCAP fits in the AVantage product line of liquid photopolymer resins designed for printing on corrugated board, multi-wall bags/sacks, molding applications, and for the production of hand stamps.



In addition to its 29-inch HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 presses preparing to enter the market, HP steps deeper into the packaging world with its introduction of the HP Scitex 15000 press for the production of corrugated displays and short-run packaging.

Introduced at Germany’s Interpack 2014, running from May 8 to 14, the HP Scitex 15000 is a wide-format-inkjet press engineered to run corrugated substrates at speeds up to 600 m2/hour (6,456 ft2/hour). HP expects the machine to be commercially available by November of this year.

The HP Scitex 15000 includes what HP describes as an integrated automatic media loader to handle up to four stacks of stock. The printer – built around what HP describes as HP Scitex High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging – uses HDR240 Scitex Inks, which are GREENGUARD certified for printing indoor point-of-purchase displays, bulk bins and freestanding display units.

At Interpack 2014, HP also announced the availability of a new lamination partner for its HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 presses. Comexi Group, a long-standing flexible packaging machinery manufacturer, is optimizing its solvent-free NEXUS L20000 laminator for these new 29-inch Indigo presses. After its successful play in the small-format, pressure-sensitive label market, HP is just now starting to put the 29-inch Indigo 20000, primarily engineered for the printing of flexible packaging, and the Indigo 30000, for folding-carton-type work, into the marketplace.

These new Indigo ElectroInk presses are poised to shake up the packaging market if they mature properly. It took some years of print-room production to iron out the kinks in the original Indigo machines, but HP now has close to 30 years of Indigo Intellectual Property knowledge, and a wealth of computing resources, to apply to the Indigo 20000 and 30000 presses.

“After leading the shift to digital in label printing, HP is again driving an unstoppable analogue-to-digital transformation in the package printing industry,” stated Stephen Nigro, Senior VP, Graphics and Inkjet Solutions Business, HP.

The Scitex 15000 is built from decades of HP inkjet experience, including its 2005 purchase of Scitex for $280 million. HP describes corrugated, flexible and folding-carton packaging as a $11 billion market opportunity, where only seven percent of these materials are produced by what the company defines as digital technology. HP notes the Scitex 15000 fits a growing demand for versioning, short runs and reduced environmental impact.

The Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) presented Esko with its Technical Innovation Award in the category of Prepress Graphics during the FTA Annual Forum, which began on April 27 in Baltimore, MD.

Equinox is Esko software for the implementation of extended gamut – or fixed inkset – printing. “Esko has always been committed to advancing the effectiveness of flexography and packaging graphics. Our development of Equinox was really an investment in flexography. It’s great to see the specific recognition this unique technology is receiving as recipient of the 2014 FTA Technical Innovation Award,” stated Tony Wiley, President, Esko North America.

Equinox Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) Technology is Esko’s patented technology for converting packaging graphics from CMYK and spot colour to seven-colour process. Esko describes Equinox as the only commercial product in the world to make use of 7-colour profile technology. By quantifying only subsets of four-colour combinations, Esko explains Equinox 7-colour profiles contain hundreds of times the amount of colour data as a 7-colour ICC colour profile. These profiles are used to convert industry standard ink books into tint build books for a specific flexo press.

Equinox also leverages Esko’s HD and Full HD Flexo platemaking, which is able to extend the gamut by producing plates that can print dots from 0-100%. “While we have been touting the economic and visual advantages of Esko Equinox for a few years now, it’s been in the past year or so that we’ve seen the accelerated growth we’ve long anticipated,” stated Mark Samworth, Esko Senior Color Specialist. “It has to do with the proliferation of brand extensions resulting in shorter runs – as well as the continuing economic interest in reducing print and inventory costs.”

Flex Essentials Inc. becomes a new Canadian sales agent for Flexotecnica, an Italian manufacturer primarily of CI flexography presses that was purchased by KBA Group in mid-2013.

The German press maker then established KBA-Flexotecnica, with KBA North America overseeing distribution channels of the technology for Canada and the United States.

Flex Essentials, led by Jim Waslowski, is an established distributer for a range of companies involved with equipment and supplies for the flexographic market. Waslowski, according to a statement from KBA North America, plans to focus on increasing Flexotecnica’s market share in paperboard and flexible packaging.

“With the acquisition of Flexotecnica, our parent company announced its intent to enter this key growing print market for flexible packaging,” stated Mark Hischar, President and CEO of KBA North America. “We have been tasked to expand KBA’s strong market position in the folding carton market into another growing packaging segment.”
 
Waslowski formed Flex Essentials 11 years ago. He previously spent nearly 20 years in the plastics industry at Brampton Engineering, where he primarily focused on machine design before moving into the sales arena, ultimately becoming Vice President of Sales for the company.


Flint Group has announced a new addition to its flexographic printing plate line. The nyloflex ACE UP Digital photopolymer plate is a high durometer plate designed for use with water-based inks in corrugated preprint and aseptic packaging printing applications.

According to Flint, the nyloflex ACE UP Digital has better printing quality through improved ink transfer, especially on paper and rough substrates.  The plate also has a long run life and stability in printing, increasing its efficiency. The low surface tack ensures a reduced attraction of paper dust and dirt, enhancing productivity and durability of the plate. It also allows stacking of the clichés without interleaves, thus further improving the storage properties.

The nyloflex ACE UP Digital is expected to be available in the marketplace before the end of the month.

Sun Chemical has introduced a new water-based dispenser program aimed at flexographic narrow-web printing operations, which builds upon the company’s preexisting dispenser program for commercial printers.



The new program is designed to allow flexo printers to make process, blending bases and spot colour inks from the same dispenser. Looking at narrow web tag and label printers (NWTL), Sun Chemical states this new dispenser program holds the potential to reduce expenses in ink volume and ink costs by up to 25 percent. Sun Chemical explains how colour concentrates and technology extenders can be dispensed to make inks for more than one application, providing flexibility to control colour density and compensate for various anilox configurations.


NWTL printers that participate in the program receive a dispensing unit with 0.5 gram accuracy of all process, spot and blending base colours. The dispensing unit is provided to printers at no cost based on what Sun Chemical describes as a minimum annual purchase of its products.

“In the narrow web market, printers are looking for versatility – the ability to make process, spot and blending bases all on the same dispenser,” stated Brian Breidigan, VP, Product Manager Commercial, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. “Our water-based dispenser program does that and more. The dispenser brings a small footprint to the pressroom, and customers can participate in the program at no risk or additional cost for upkeep."



Screen announced it is set at the beginning of October to start selling its Truepress Jet L350UV inkjet-based label system in North America. Screen projects that the global label printing industry is to grow from approximately US$31.5 billion in 2012 to nearly US$40 billion by 2016.

The Truepress Jet L350UV reaches a top printing speed of 164 feet per minute. It will have the ability to connect inline to post-processing devices (an option scheduled for release in spring 2014), such die-cutting and varnish application.

In the spring of 2014, Screen also plans to release an option for security label printing with an ability to output special codes required for Advanced Track & Trace’s SEAL VECTOR authentication technology. This security label product will also provide support for the dot codes used in counterfeiting prevention and distribution management systems.

Screen USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyoto, Japan-based Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co. Ltd., which also owns key inkjet players like Inca Digital. Dainippon Screen first developed the Truepress Jet L350UV in 2012. 


St-Hubert, Quebec-based Profecta Labels has purchased a Nilpeter FB-3300 13-inch UV flexo press. Founded in 1992, the company has grown to become one of Quebec’s larger label producers, serving Canada and the United States.

“The purchase of the Nilpeter FB-3300 will bridge the print quality gap between the Indigo and flexo printing processes enabling Profecta to offer existing and new clients new products," said Sylvain Linguin, Product Manager at Profecta Labels.

The Nilpeter FB-3300 has a maximum web speed of 750 linear feet per minute. Profecta’s press has a register control system designed to handle complex images and designs using process colours or PMS with white and foil effects. 

“Thanks to the high running speeds and fast change-overs, we expect to reduce our production costs while offering top-quality printing to our customers,” said Profecta’s owner Pierre Robege.

In April of 2012, during the Profecta’s 20th year in operation, the company installed an HP Indigo WS6600 web-fed press.


UK-based FFEI has announced a new modular narrow-web UV inkjet press, to be shown at PRINT 13 in Chicago next month and at Labelexpo in Brussels a few weeks later. The machine is aimed at the narrow-web converter and label printing markets.

Graphium is a system that supports up to six digital stations and six flexo stations, as well as the capability to integrate optional finishing stations inline. The system uses Xaar 1001 printheads and runs at up to 164  linear feet per minute on a web up to 16-inches wide.

“We are on a mission to transform the digital labels, packaging and specialty print market, and Graphium represents a major step towards achieving this goal,” comments Andy Cook, FFEI Managing Director. “Graphium represents a new generation of digital inkjet press aimed at the narrow web market – low capital investment, high quality print, unparalleled productivity and the most versatile range of applications. Bring all of these factors together and you have a ‘cost-in-use’ that defines Graphium as the most productive, high opacity digital white press on the market.”

The company says the imaging quality of the Graphium is equal to that of flexo and has the adhesion, durability and light fastness of screen printing. The system’s Uvijet Graphium UV cured inks are developed by Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems.

“Graphium takes its name from a genus of vibrantly coloured swallowtail butterflies.” Cook explains. “During their life they represent a truly stunning transformation – one we feel is echoed by Graphium’s ability to convert digital files into high quality labels and specialty print.” 

FFEI was established in 1997 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujifilm as Fujifilm Electronic Imaging, producing a variety of prepress equipment.  The division’s management bought out the operation in the autumn of 2006, renaming the company FFEI. The two companies have maintained a close relationship since.

Color Ad Packaging of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has made a large-scale production investment with Windmoeller & Hoelscher, including placing orders for a Heliostar gravure press, a Miraflex flexographic press, and three Triumph bag machines.


Focusing on the confectionery, snack food and beverage markets, Color Ad Packaging describes itself as North America’s largest producer of pre-formed bags, as well as a major supplier of pouches and roll stock.

"The decision to work with W&H [Windmoeller & Hoelscher] as the primary supplier for our new equipment came at the conclusion of an exhaustive 6-month process,” said Chip Batten, President and CEO, of Color Ad. "By providing our staff with state-of-the-art machinery, we enhance their ability to produce the absolute best print and flexible packaging products for our customers.”

Working with Windmoeller & Hoelscher and its subsidiary Garant Machinenhandel, Color Ad is now making preparations to install the Miraflex CM 10 press with a 52-inch working width. The flexo press is equipped with Easy-Col colour matching system, Turboclean automatic wash-up system, and the new East-set HD for impression setting and 3D plate topography.

The Heliostar SL 10 press will be installed this fall. It features a 48-inch working width and is the first W&H gravure press in North America to be installed with automatic wash-up.

The three Triumph bag formers to be installed are described as versatile machines for the production of a variety of square-bottom bags.

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