7th Annual Innopack Pharma Confex 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ultimate Packaging buys the Bobst F&K 20SIX drupa machine to produce flexible packaging

Maximum productivity in combination with top print quality and flexibility, plus significantly less waste / Ultimate Packaging underlines its market leadership in flexible packaging in the UK / Commissioning scheduled for July 2012

Nigel Tonge, Andreas Kückelmann and Chris Tonge
Ultimate Packaging, Grimsby / UK, is buying the Bobst F&K 20SIX drupa machine to produce flexible packaging. The company's decision to make the investment was influenced by the high productivity, flexibility and cost-efficiency of the innovative machine, as well as the outstanding print quality and significantly reduced waste. Ultimate Packaging has already installed three 8-colour flexo presses from Bobst. The company's experience with the dependability of the technology and the service were additional factors that encouraged the management of Ultimate Packaging to expand the long-standing cooperation with its partner Bobst. The F&K 20SIX – which is celebrating its world première at drupa 2012 – is scheduled for installation in June 2012.

"With its performance and innovative features, the F&K 20SIX is the ideal answer to the demands encountered in the production of flexible packaging, e.g. for fresh and chilled foods. It will help us to further expand our leading position in this market in the UK," says Ultimate Packaging's Managing Director Nigel Tonge, explaining the decision to make the investment.

In addition to offering a high production capacity of up to 600 m/min with web widths of up to 1,300 mm, the F&K 20SIX also has significantly lower makeready times. The print jobs for the innovative central-impression (CI) flexo press with smartGPS and smartCOL can be prepared off the press. While smartGPS sees to offline registration and printing pres-sure setting, smartCOL likewise operates offline to check the colour before going onto the press, adjusting it and setting the required colour tone. "With the F&K 20SIX, we can re-duce the makeready times from the previous two hours to about 20 minutes in the future. All in all, the F&K 20SIX offers a substantial increase in productivity," commented Chris Tonge, Sales and Marketing Director at Ultimate Packaging. And because the press no longer has to print in order to set up the individual print jobs, there is a minimum amount of waste. In addition to which, neither ink nor energy is wasted. Moreover, no extensive machine capacity has to be blocked for makeready. "All that decisively reduces our pro-duction costs, another important argument in favour of the machine," says Nigel Tonge.

The F&K 20SIX is based on the FP 16 Series, but features a host of innovative components that were developed in close collaboration with Bobst customers. These innovations permit not only the high printing quality, but also the particular user-friendliness and flexibility of the machine. All the modules of the F&K 20SIX are characterised by extraordinary stability. The excellent register accuracy achieved thanks to the high-quality servo drives makes an important contribution to the particularly high printing quality. Says Chris Tonge: "In our eyes, the F&K 20SIX delivers the best print quality of all comparable CI flexo presses."

The decision to buy was preceded by tests at Bobst Bielefeld. "Using identical production data, we aim to obtain exactly the same colour values on both our digital printing press and the F&K 20SIX," reports Nigel Tonge, adding a further criterion in favour of installing the machine.

Ultimate Packaging has past experience of the reliability of the machines from Bielefeld, and the company additionally welcomes the creation of the new Bobst Services department, which increases the availability of Bobst machines around the globe by providing innovative solutions, e.g. for remote maintenance. In addition, the re-organised, global Spare Parts Logistics department is targeting a processing time of less than a day and 95% availability for all spare parts.

"Ultimate Packaging traditionally imposes especially high demands on its production systems. Against that backdrop, we're all the more pleased that this particular company, the leader in the UK, has decided to buy the first F&K 20SIX in the world," stated Andreas Kückelmann, Managing Director of Bobst Bielefeld GmbH, on the occasion of signing the contract on the Bobst exhibition stand in Hall 10 at this year's drupa on 10 May.

Ultimate Packaging is based in Grimsby, North-East Lincolnshire, UK, and is the country's leading independent manufacturer of flexible packaging. The company was established in 1982, currently employs about 240 people and supplies roughly 90% of its products to the food industry. The family-run business offers leading British manufacturers of branded goods a complete range of products and services relating to the production of flexible packaging from a single source, from concept design to print. Among the company's best-known customers are Aunt Bessie's, Florette and Young's Seafood. Ultimate are approved to supply all of the UK supermarkets.

Bobst is the world’s leading supplier of machinery and services to packaging manufacturers in the folding carton, corrugated board and flexible material industries.

Mark Andy hosts 60 printers for plant tour : FIG planning same in August in India

The world headquarters and manufacturing operation of Mark Andy, Inc. was the final destination for leading printing companies as part of the 2012 Printing Industries of America Continuous Improvement Conference held earlier this month in St. Louis, Missouri. A plant tour of Mark Andy concluded the three-day event, providing printing managers and executives a first-hand look at how Lean initiatives and continuous improvement has successfully impacted the company.

Over the past 18 months, Mark Andy has implemented a focused Lean program, initiating completely new ideas and processes to drive efficiencies and improve quality in their manufacturing workflows. Plant tour visitors were exposed to workflow organization tactics, key visual management tools and work cell procedure approaches. Another important part of the discussion included learning curves and other aspects of the culture change needed to accomplish a successful Lean transformation.

Mark Andy began the ‘continuous improvement’ approach four years ago, starting with their product R&D and design process, to directly impact their customers’ work flows and bottom lines. The Mark Andy Performance Series, winner of two international innovation awards in 2011, is a proven machine platform that specifically supports continuous improvement in a printing operation’s workflow. Rotoflex is launching new inspection/rewinding platforms that achieve direct improvement to the finishing workflows this year.

Meanwhile, Mark Andy’s Indian arm - Flexo Image Graphics is all set to replicate the same here in India, Mumbai at one of the leading label printers facility in August. So, save your date in August, for the Open House featuring Innovation Award Winning Mark Andy P5 performance series and catch the same in action.

Mark Andy Performance Series P5
Building on the unique print station design common to all Performance Series presses, the P5 is focused on productivity. Simple, repeatable settings and limited operator steps for job setup make the P5 one of the most operator-friendly presses on the market. With the fastest makeready times in the industry (4-color changeovers are complete in just 3 minutes!) and extremely efficient waste savings, the P5 is perfect for the everyday converter looking to achieve servo-driven productivity and high quality levels, at an extremely appealing value.

First installation of Xeikon’s ThermoFlexX : French printer first to reap rewards of Xeikon’s new flexo plate imager

Xeikon announces that Ghesquières, a French-based print service provider specializing in the printing and finishing of envelopes, has installed a ThermoFlexX 20, one of the products from Xeikon’s new ThermoFlexX series of high quality digital imagers for flexographic and letterpress plate making. As well as delivering productivity gains by eliminating the need for film and labor, the ThermoFlexX solution offers Ghesquières significant improvements in print quality, faster turnaround time and increased capacity. Ghesquières is a part of the Spanish based TOMPLA group.

Ghesquières has a mixed production system of offset and flexo presses, and printing is carried out on rolls and processed afterwards, a unique process in the world of printing. Prior to installing the ThermoFlexX imager, the company used Dolev and film. 

“No film and related developer chemicals means immediate savings in material costs,” says Madame Allart pre-press manager at Ghesquières. “And eliminating the labour-intensive process steps of film mounting and retouching – and automating the whole platemaking process – reduces the amount of labor required. Another key feature of ThermoFlexX is that it’s a much more eco-friendly solution than we had before. With film and chemistry now removed, we even get state subsidies,” adds Mme. Allart.

“We are delighted the have a company like Ghesquières to be the first to install our new ThermoFlexX imager,” says Jeroen Van Bauwel, Director of Product Management at Xeikon. “Not only will the imager provide Ghesquières with shop floor productivity gains, it will provide significant improvements in print quality, faster turnaround and increased capacity.”

Unveiled at drupa 2012, ThermoFlexX is Xeikon’s new product line of imagers for flexographic and letterpress printing plates. Comprising leading-edge hardware and workflow software, ThermoFlexX is based on mature technology and proven digital workflow solutions. It enables customers to consistently produce high-quality digital flexographic and letterpress plates at resolutions of 2540 or 5080 dpi. With this resolution, the product is technology-ready to raise the quality level of output to the newest industry standards. 

The ThermoFlexX solution comes with a range of unique benefits. Advanced clamping design allows plates to be mounted directly on to the drum, while uniquely designed vacuum sliders offer the flexibility to use plates of any width. This is highly beneficial to operators as there is no need to cut the plates to fit a dedicated vacuum zone thus allowing the use of cut-off scraps. The ThermoFlexX solution also features ergonomic plate mounting and its hybrid drum offers flexibility of holding plates in place either by vacuum or by magnetics.

Visitors to the Xeikon booth at drupa 2012 will have the opportunity to see the new ThermoFlexX solution first hand. Xeikon is currently exhibiting in Hall 8A, Booth B44.

Xeikon NV is an innovator in digital printing technology. The company designs, develops and delivers web-fed digital color presses for labels and packaging applications and for other industries as well. For the flexographic market, Xeikon offers digital platemaking systems under the ThermoFlexX brand name.  ThermoFlexX systems provide high resolution plate exposure including screening, color management, as well as workflow management. Xeikon’s worldwide service network will provide local support for the full range of ThermoFlexX products. Sales of the product will be conducted via Xeikon’s authorized dealer network.

Toray begins construction of New Czech plate plant

Toray Industries Inc. is to meet higher global demand for its pioneering waterless plates with a new printing plate factory in the Czech Republic. The Japanese specialist expects the facility to be operational in early 2014.

Encompassing both coating and converting capabilities, the new Czech production facility will meet the needs of printers across Europe, the Middle East and North America.

“The project to establish European manufacturing capacity for waterless plates is proceeding on schedule and the engineering phase is now substantially completed. Site preparation in Prostejov is in the final stages and the erection of the building that will house the new production line for Toray waterless CTP plates will begin this summer“states Mr. Matsumoto, General Manager, Graphics Division, Toray Industries Inc., Japan.

“Toray is investing more than 50 million USD to respond to the growing demand for waterless plates. We think our commitment will send a clear signal to the newspaper industry and encourage further investment in the best available technology for newspaper and semi commercial production.”

The move will improve technical support to customers as well as reduce costs  through simplified process flow and logistics. Matsumoto adds: “The European manufacturing site will also enable us to offer an attractive price level for waterless plates in the future.“

Field testing of the products from the new plant is expected to begin in late 2013 and commercial sales to the local market will commence in January 2014.

This latest major capital investment follows the 2003 development of a modern coating facility in Toray’s industrial complex in Okazaki, Japan, where both letterpress and waterless offset plates are currently produced.

Toray Industries Inc., the leading manufacturer of waterless printing plates world wide, was founded in 1926 and has a global presence with factories and sales offices in Asia, Europe and North America. The main businesses of Toray are synthetic fibers, carbon fibers, plastics, films and chemicals. Many of the products are developed from its proprietary polymer technology base and are commonly used by the electronics, packaging, textile, automotive and aviation industries. Recent annual sales approached € 10 billion. Toray International Europe GmbH, Neu-Isenburg, Germany is the trading arm of Toray Industries Inc serving an independent network of distributors in the European market.

Rotocontrol celebrates fifteen installations of RSP 100% Security Inspection Machines

Rotocontrol recently announced its fifteenth successful installation of the RSP Single Pass 100% Security Inspection Machine, benefiting Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical industries throughout Europe, United Kingdom, South America and Asia.
Initially unveiled at the 2010 edition of Labelexpo Americas, the RSP is specifically designed for compliance with the most demanding security label inspection and finishing applications and can operate in 3 distinct levels of compliance conforming to the required level of security including Full Compliance, Controlled Compliance and High Speed Inspection.  

In Full Compliance mode, intended for applications where 100% compliant labels are guaranteed, a defective label must be corrected and re-inspected before the process can continue and cannot be overridden by an Operator. Controlled Compliance mode benefits finishing runs with premium value-add labels requiring the highest of quality but allows the operator discretion to re-inspect a corrected label or bypass the re-inspection system after manual inspection or correction has occurred. The High Speed Inspection mode for standard labels engages the 100% vision inspection system but does not utilize the re-inspection capability. 

"One of the RSP features that appeals to Converters is the extremely small footprint: it only requires 1.2 x 2.6 meters of floor space plus the moveable control panel, which is critical in constrained manufacturing space as companies continue to expand with additional pre and post-press high technology equipment" comments Michael Aengenvoort, Business Development Manager for Rotocontrol.

Marco Aengenvoort, Managing Director of Rotocontrol comments: "I am pleased with the success to date of the RSP 100% Security Inspection Machine. Performance and reliability feedback has been extremely positive, and the product continues to be a strategic focus for Rotocontrol in addition to the Digital and Booklet machines now available through our LeoMat brand." 

Rotocontrol designs and manufactures leading edge inspection, slitting, rewinding and die cutting finishing machines for the narrow web industry. Available globally, Rotocontrol offers machines from smaller basic rewinders to feature rich, sophisticated models with multiple options. All utilize S-Drive Servo Technology enabling maximum web control for the most delicate film and foil materials. With the recent acquisition of LeoMat, advanced products including booklet insertion and digital finishing are immediately available. 

Headquartered in Ahrensburg (Hamburg), Germany Rotocontrol maintains the highest level of product quality through ease of use, absolute control and flexibility. Rotocontrol is the partner of choice in the finishing of label products. 

Advancing Sustainability in a Complex Value Chain : Solutions and Challenges for Self-Adhesive Labelling

Self-adhesive labels have contributed significant benefits to packaging; and their versatility, cleanliness, and variability have made them firm favourites in many key fmcg market sectors – on foods (both as primary and secondary product labels and for ‘priceweigh’ applications and other variable information print);  on personal and homecare products; and, particularly, on beverages.

The beverage boom
The global growth in premium beers has proved a dynamic self-adhesive label market around the globe in recent years; and wines – both premium cuvées and bulk supermarket qualities – are toby ay enjoying the eyecatching on-shelf appeal that short- or long-run self-adhesive labels can create, both by the traditional print processes and by today’s high-quality digital label print. This flexibility has made ‘limited editions’ a practical possibility. ‘Fashion’ soft drinks, such as smoothies, juices, and CSDs (carbonated soft drinks) are also popular users of the self-adhesive label, which delivers a variety of innovative finishes and effects on a wide choice of label face materials – including textured papers, foils, and clear films (which give the favoured ‘no label look’ on a clear container).

A designer’s dream
The unique self-adhesive laminate also makes it possible to diecut exceptionally complex label shapes on press – a designer’s dream – and to apply multiple labels (front, back, neckstrap, etc) in just one pass on the packaging line. Finally, track-and-trace, product authentication, and tamper-evident features can be an intrinsic part of a self-adhesive label.

Sustainability issues
As a key contributor to the global packaging industry, the self-adhesive label industry is as committed to the cause of sustainability as all its peers. However, it faces some unique challenges in the context of sustainability – in relation to the industry’s extremely long, complex, and specialised value chain.

At the heart of a self-adhesive label is the ‘sandwich’ of a face material, adhesive, release coating, and release liner.   In itself, this is a combination of many different components, to which must be added the printing inks and other on-press processes that create the finished label, ready for automatic application to a product. No single level of the value chain can offer a full and detailed picture of the process of delivering a self-adhesive label; but, despite this complexity, the self-adhesive label industry must present a single, united profile if it is to be able to communicate with, and partner, the brand owners, the retailers, and ultimately the consumers in the environmental arena.

It makes sense for an industry association such as Finat, which represents the whole label production value chain -- raw material suppliers, labelstock coaters and laminators, and label converters -- to take on that responsibility. For a number of years, Finat has been creating and updating industry-standard performance test methods, and – with an increasing number of sister organisations around the world – is currently engaged in advancing a detailed formal agenda for step-by-step actions to make our industry ‘greener’. We are also actively supporting a raft of initiatives in the recycling arena.

Environmental initiatives
This in itself may not sound like a major set of challenges – but, again, the value chain is complex, and there is a proliferation of environmental initiatives in the broad print/packaging manufacturing context, at many levels. There are the environmental management systems like ISO 14001, Lean Six Sigma, and the US-based Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute’s industry-specific ‘LIFE’ system (‘Label Initiative For the Environment’). Certification to environmental sourcing standards – like FSC and PEFC for papers – are other possible pathways. Brand owners’ and end users’ own environmental standards for their suppliers, like the Wal-Mart Supplier Sustainability Assessment, add further complexity.

While the raw material suppliers and the major coater/laminators represent, in the main, manufacturers at a global scale, the self-adhesive label converters themselves are mostly small-to-medium-sized enterprises for whom such additional agendas are difficult to support. Nevertheless, Finat member companies across the value chain are, individually, actively delivering technology solutions to reduce waste all round and improve their carbon footprint; to be REACH-compliant, particularly in relation to adhesives and coatings; to explore new label and release liner substrates and adhesive technologies; and to use thinner materials all round without compromising performance.

A single industry profile
But there are limits to which individual companies operating in a competitive business environment can go in meeting the needs of the ‘three Ps’: people, planet, and profit. So, as I see it, there is a distinct rôle for an association such as FINAT in the label sustainability arena:  to combine the aspirations of the many levels of the value chain into a single agenda, and to represent all its members (within the broader context of the global packaging industry) to the ultimate buyers of its products – the brand owners, retailers, and consumers.

The Global Packaging Project
Unquestionably, the brand owners and retailers have established an outstanding sustainability platform, in the form of the Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Packaging Project. It is bringing together the world’s leading manufacturers and retailers, along with their packaging suppliers at every level and related industry associations, as a single group of people with a single agenda. This group has already defined what is now the accepted framework for informed debate on sustainability concerns throughout the supply chain:    the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability. Through its common professional sustainability language that transcends the boundaries of commercial advantage, the GPPS is facilitating a meaningful dialogue between customers and suppliers on appropriate parameters to be used to measure environmental progress. Finat is an active supporter, representing the interests of both the thousands of label converters in Europe, and further afield, who provide finished labels for the end users, as well as its valued supplier company members. I personally believe that if any initiative will deliver a real blueprint for the optimal combination of environmental-friendliness and fit-for-purpose packaging, it will be this worldwide forum of suppliers and users.

EU Packaging Waste Directive
At a regional level, self-adhesive labels must meet the requirements of the EU Packaging Waste Directive, which is driving change in Europe through legislation and punitive levies for non-conformance. Here, in the self-adhesive label industry, waste management, recycling, and recyclability are priority issues in relation to one particular part of the self-adhesive label laminate – the release liner. Release liner is the ‘hero’ of the self-adhesive label conversion and automatic application processes, delivering superb handling characteristics on the printing press and in label application. However, it is also a perceived problem for the recycling lobby since, once a self-adhesive label has been automatically applied to the product, the release liner that delivered it is effectively redundant, its purpose fulfilled. The latest revision to the Packaging Waste Directive in its final draft that was recently submitted to the Council of Ministers is consistent with Finat’s definition of used liner as process waste as opposed to packaging waste – but this is not the end of the story. In individual national legislation in a number of countries around Europe – including The Netherlands and the UK -- spent release liner has been defined as packaging waste at the end of its working life, and is therefore the subject of a financial levy. A final decision from the EU is expected this summer and, whichever way it goes, it will have a significant effect on the market’s perception of self-adhesive labelling. It is, however, Finat’s opinion that, without its empowering release liner, the self-adhesive label’s overarching package of  benefits -- versatility, flexibility, accurate, clean, fast label dispensing (sometimes in multiples in the one machine pass) -- would not be achievable.

Release liner recyclability
Whatever the final outcome in European waste legislation, it is being proved in many arenas that release liner, both paper- and film-based, is recyclable, despite its release coating. Finat is driving and supporting practical initiatives to create viable waste collection and recycling schemes, which are becoming increasingly commercially active. I encourage brand owners and retailers, as well as their label converters, to join together and buy in to what could be a real game-changer for the self-adhesive label industry by participating in formal liner waste collection schemes.

Paper release liner base remains the choice for the vast majority of label applications, and there is a developing choice of solutions for its recycling and re-use. Film-based release liners are, however, also gaining market share today; and collecting and recycling these relatively high-cost liners – and perhaps, in the process, creating an additional revenue stream -- is an option today. ‘Clean’ used PET liner is a highly-desirable commodity – and it is a priority to develop a supply chain structure to make collection and recycling simple, financially attractive,  and effective for all concerned in the process.

Waste collection
Liner waste, ultimately, is generated at the contract packer’s, brand owner’s, or retailer’s premises, and is therefore largely out of the hands of the label production chain. Finat’s prime task, therefore, within the Global Packaging Project and other packaging industry initiatives, is to make end users aware of how they can link with their label suppliers to deliver sustainability in terms of liner waste collection for recycling and reuse.

As well as confronting, managing, and addressing major issues like this, Finat continues to provide a ‘green umbrella’ for its member companies in terms of ongoing educational support  on good manufacturing and environmental health and safety practice.   Some of the topics we currently embrace are ink migration and set-off, solvent usage, safe UV curing, and other pressroom issues -- with the interests of the users (particularly in the food and beverage arena) a central concern.  

A partnership for success
Packaging buyers, brand managers, and designers are all increasingly aware of the need to sell products in an environment that is demanding less material and energy usage and an improved carbon footprint. Self-adhesive labels can help in this pursuit, contributing, additionally, unrivalled versatility and shelf appeal. They are rightly major participants in the broad global packaging industry agenda committed to developing truly sustainable solutions, in partnership with contract packers, the brand owners, and retailers.

This is a genuine opportunity to achieve significant progress in managing our environment.

Finat, founded in Paris in 1958 and headquartered in The Hague (The Netherlands), is the world-wide association for manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and related products and services. With 600 members in over 50 countries around the world, Finat has much to offer to label converters and all suppliers to the labeling industry in terms of information exchange and the opportunity to network internationally. 

Atlantic Zeiser showcases secure serialisation and coding with Variable Data at Hispack

The Atlantic Zeiser Group, a leading developer and supplier of modules and integrated end-to-end system solutions for industrial digital and security printing and packaging coding, will demonstrate the varied performance capabilities of its Digiline solution at Hispack 2012, Barcelona, May 15 to 18, hall 3 booth B271. 

An industrial digital printing solution, Digiline codes, serialises, personalises and prints products, made from different materials and formats, with variable data and information. At Hispack Atlantic Zeiser focuses the versatility of packaging and labeling applications with Digiline which integrates digital inkjet printer Omega 36i in combination with an environmentally friendly, air-cooled UV LED curing system Smartcure AIR for individual coding and serialising of folded cartons.

As well as coding and serialising labels, the Digiline Sheet solution is ideal for print service providers specialising in flat packaging. Operations can also enhance their productivity and cost-efficiency considerably when printing variable data onto sheets or cartons using the Digiline Sheet. 

Delivering impressive printing results in terms of quality and production speed, the modular, fully integrated, standardised complete solution consists of a transport system for sheets and flat products, digital inkjet printers (Omega or Delta), formulated curing modules, controllers with ink supplies as well as a camera-based verification system with fully automated waste gate of possible printing errors that are detected and eliminated during the ongoing production process.

The flexible, versatile, user-friendly and scalable system is ideally suited to customer and security requirements in sheetfed and flat product printing. The key focus is on the rapid and high quality printing of variable data and information such as barcodes, security features and numbering. The increased demand for just-in-time production, serialization, late-stage customisation and the overprinting of pre-printed products within the printing processes is due primarily to the necessary cost reductions in security printing. This is why optimised printing processes, short response times and minimised downtimes in production are in demand. 

The Digiline Sheet works with Omega and Delta inkjet printers, which can print using either environmentally friendly water-based inks or UV inks. The curing module is not required when using water-based inks. In a single sheet application, resolutions of up to 600 dpi and speeds of up to 120 m/min can be achieved at the highest quality level.

A system controller with ink supply is integrated for the seamless control of the production and information flow without restricting which modules can be integrated. The camera-based verification system Vericam includes a mechanical waste gate that detects and immediately eliminates possible printing errors during the production process to guarantee a zero-error rate and 100-percent, consistent quality control.

August Faller, in Waldkirch, Germany is one operation that has harnessed Atlantic Zeiser’s technology to maximum effect. It codes and prints pharmaceutical folding cartons with the Omega 72i DoD inkjet printer and eco-friendly UV LED curing system Smartcure 75/400 for folding carton production has been designed to meet the special demands of pharmaceutical folding carton printing, coding and quality verification with wastegate control for medicinal product packaging. 

Variable data is applied in plain writing, as a 1-D barcode as well as a 2-D data matrix code. In this case the demands of pharmaceutical customers are special, in order to fully comply with country-specific marking standards for the purpose of product identification and product traceability. One particular project concerns printing and coding of medicinal product packaging for the Chinese market. For this, apart from Chinese writing, a defined barcode must be applied, which contains an authentication code for product tracing, a serial number and a product code, which follow the Chinese NDC (national Chinese medicine code). The Omega printer and camera-based quality control is fully integrated into Faller’s folding carton production line. As a result of the possibilities of individual printing with variable data in divergent forms Faller’s pharmaceutical customers can also reduce their stock holding of pre-printed folding cartons as they can be coded and serialized during the packaging process at the various locations of medicinal product manufacture. 

Armin Rambach, project manager, August Faller KG, comments: “We needed to apply serial numbers, authentication and product codes and other variable data on the cartons. That set us big challenges. We wanted to have an efficient and at the same time more future-proof system. With Atlantic Zeiser we found a comprehensive solution in order to meet the various requirements for print quality, speed and data exchange.”

Carl-Michael Heüveldop, chief marketing officer, Atlantic Zeiser, says: “Whenever high quality and specialized know-how in the pharmaceutical industry are concerned, the solutions of Atlantic Zeiser are the number one choice.”

Xeikon gains shortcut to develop new liquid toner technology

I.T. Strategies, a Boston-based consultancy specializing in the digital printing industry, has released a white paper on the role of liquid toner and Xeikon’s current technology expansion into this area. The key conclusions of the white paper are that Xeikon’s ownership of the key patents for a High Viscosity liquid toner technology, has given the company a dramatic shortcut in both time-to-market and investment to develop a new liquid toner technology. With the promise of lower running costs and significant speed improvements, while maintaining the high quality level of its dry toner presses, the new technology will offer significant productivity gains to customers specializing in high volume print applications. At the same time, it provides the opportunity for Xeikon to extend its customer base to those printing specialty applications such as consumer photo books and other high-value documents. 

Starting with a brief history lesson on digital printing technologies, the white paper explains in simple terms the technology of electrophotography and outlines the difference between dry and liquid toners. While both toner technologies strive to create the smallest particles possible in order to optimize quality, liquid toner has greater latitude to control the particles.  As such, liquid toners use less material which reduces raw materials costs, allow faster linear throughput speeds and use less heat (hence energy cost) to fuse to the substrate.

A long-established history
Liquid toner has a long-established history, pre-dating the commercialization of drop-on-demand inkjet technology. When Xeikon acquired ownership of the key patents for the HVT and technology, it gained more than fifty years of liquid toner development giving the company a dramatic shortcut in both time-to-market and investment to develop a liquid-based toner. It is the view of I.T. Strategies that Xeikon benefitted from decades of significant prior investment and learning curve for a fraction of the cost. With its R&D teams of both printer hardware and toner under one roof, I.T. Strategies anticipates that Xeikon can compress the amount of time necessary to commercialize its new liquid toner technology.

More productive than dry toner
I.T. Strategies foresees that the new liquid toner technology will be even more productive than dry toner technology, while maintaining the same high printing quality. While initial throughput is projected to be 60 m/min (196 ft/min), in theory upper limits of 300 m/min (1,000 ft/min) are possible. This ability to produce higher volumes digitally at lower cost will deliver significant productivity gains to printers and extend the breakeven point for digital printing. At the same time, it provides the opportunity for Xeikon to extend its customer base to those printing high value, high area coverage type documents. 

Xeikon can leverage experience in dry toner and engine development
“Given its ability to leverage its experience in dry toner manufacturing and engine development, Xeikon’s investment in liquid toner makes a lot of sense,” says Marco Boer  for I.T. Strategies. “Many of the skills required to develop a liquid toner printer are similar to those used to develop dry toner technology, thus the work ahead for Xeikon is in the printing system rather than engine development – something Xeikon know well.”

While Xeikon has yet to prove it will successfully commercialize its investment, I.T. Strategies believes the odds are in their favor and they predict that the first commercial product will be available within the next two years.

Infinity Foils to distribute Nakai foils for both graphics arts and plastics industries

Jim Hutchison, President of Infinity Foils, Inc- UEI Group Company, released that Nakai has appointed Infinity Foils as its exclusive North American distributor.  The appointment became effective immediately, according to Naoyuki Shigeta, Senior Executive Vice President of Nakai International Corp. 

Commenting on the appointment, Hutchison said, “Infinity Foils is pleased to be able to provide the Nakai foil products to the foil stamping and embossing customers throughout North America. Nakai has built an excellent reputation for high-quality foil products and their products will fit perfectly within the Infinity Foils’ line of premier foils”. 

Infinity Foils will distribute the Nakai foil products under the Infinity Foils brand of products. Through Infinity Foils, Nakai foil grades and shade range will continue to be available to the North American customers that have come to rely upon them for their applications.

The announcement comes off the heels of Nakai International’s early 2012 announcement that they were closing their North American facility. Nakai foil products will continue to be manufactured in Japan, to the same quality level and integrity.

“We believe that the customers who have long enjoyed the Nakai family of foil products will be extremely satisfied with the new distribution arrangement” added Hutchison.  Infinity will now offer the foil stamping and embossing industry one of the largest ranges of foil shades and releases, while still holding true to Infinity’s core principals of in-stock products, available 24/7, without minimums.

Infinity Foils, Inc. is a worldwide supplier of quality stamping foils, decorative glitter and makeready supplies. As a member company of the UEI Group, Infinity has access to leading technology and state-of-the-art processes so their product offerings always include the most advanced for the industries they serve.