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LABEL DIRECTIONS: New players and veteran vendors showed some intriguing twists at drupa 2012

Jul 15, 2012 12:00 AM


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FLEXO AND LITHO MEET ON A WEB PRESS
Flexo specialist Comexi is targeting short run label and packaging applications with a web-fed press that combines offset and flexo technology. The Comexi Offset C18 has a central drum with six offset printing decks and two flexo printing decks. It can print on flexible materials such as PE, BOPP and PET with offset electron beam (EB) inks and varnishes and backgrounds with Flexo EB technology.

Benefits include lower plate costs per sq. ft. (offset plates cost about a tenth of flexo plates); decreased environmental l impact (courtesy of the solvent-free EB offset inks); high quality (fine screens and micro text are possible) and improved productivity. The Comexi Offset targets short and midrange flexible packaging and label applications.

"There are other flexo and litho combination presses but they're all inline configurations," explained Wikoff Color Corp.'s Beau Snider. "The Comexi press is a web-fed central impression lithographic press. That's what makes it one of a kind. Comexi and Wikoff Color showed a new printing technology that uses solvent-free, low-migration inks for food-grade packaging. It's compatible with the Comexi Offset C18. The Wikoff inks offer stable performance in food-grade packaging applications and good adherence on paper, cardboard and various films.

GOSS WANTS TO BE A PACKAGING BOSS
"A lot of the action and attention at this drupa was focused on packaging," said Jochen Meissner, President and CEO of Goss International. "New press technology introduced by multiple suppliers indicates that requirements are changing rapidly in this sector, and high interest in our Sunday Vpak presses supports our vision of an expanded role for new web offset solutions."

Goss International introduced the Sunday Vpak packaging presses in 2010, adapting proven technology from its gapless blanket Sunday commercial web press platform. The variable repeat Vpak presses provide new wide-web offset options for high-speed, high-quality folding carton, flexible packaging and label applications.Goss' Sunday Vpak 3000 and Sunday Vpak 500 presses target folding carton, flexible packaging, preprint and label printing. Sunday Vpak 3000 units are available in web widths of up to 75 inches, while Sunday Vpak 500 presses print on webs up to 41 inches wide. The first Sunday Vpak press will be installed at Precision Press in Minnesota (USA) in the fall.

DIGITAL LABEL TECHNOLOGY IS RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
EFI's Jetrion 4900 is a UV inkjet digital press with inline laser finishing. A modular design has been described as a press chassis you can build on for 20 years." Million-run length jobs required only one set up, even if the job has 25 different SKUs."

I talked to a group of label printers last fall, several of whom said they needed to go digital but lacked a timeline," said Julie Shaffer, Vice President, Digital Technologies, PIA. "I think the sight of that [EFI]Jetrion [4900], running out finished rolls would have impressed them that digital label printing isn't an 'out there' technology that but a potential means to streamline and improve efficiency."

IT'S THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF FOLDING CARTON PRESSES
 "Flexo press vendor Gallus gave a first-class demo of its ICS 670 press featuring inline foil, gravure, embossing, inspection and die cutting," Kevin Karstedt (Karstedt Partners) reported.

"In a 20-minute presentation they printed three jobs with different inks and images."Gallus says the ICS 670 represents "the ultimate efficiency in flexible folding carton processing." It's equipped with 11 printing mechanisms, reverse-side printing, cold and hot foiling technology, screen printing, multiple embossing and a panel separation unit.