Thursday, February 9, 2023

NDigitec introduces benefits of Catena exposure technology to the Middle East


A new ThermoFlexX Catena-E 80 exposure unit from XSYS has allowed the UAE-headquartered company to elevate its plate-making capabilities to new heights. By integrating this innovative UV LED technology, NDigitec can now supply customers with higher-quality digital flexo plates and enjoy faster processing times than before, while reducing plate waste and energy consumption.

Namma Int’l Digitec FZ LLC – known as NDigitec – is a family-run business founded in 2005 in Dubai (UAE). As the industry leader in the MEA region in terms of production facilities, staff members, and square meter consumption, the prepress division of the company supplies a complete package of services – from file reparation to final processed flexo printing plate.

Employing a total of 125 staff across two branches in Dubai, a facility in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), and an office in Yerevan (Armenia), NDigitec also offers digital printing solutions, e-commerce, creative media production, and fabrication of exhibition equipment. Some 500 customers in 25 countries avail themselves of the company’s many high-end competencies, which also include Online competencies: the DUBAIPRINT.COM web-to-print platform with solutions for the widest variety of print applications, and FLEXOEASY.COM, an unprecedented digital platform that makes flexographic plate-making easy and allows customers to access high-quality Prepress and Premedia services from anywhere in the world.

Plate innovation leader with big ambitions
NDigitec Prepress is known as an innovation trailblazer, always seeking out the latest plate-making technologies to stay ahead of developments and to deliver leading solutions to its global brand owner customers. Some 55% of the annual 50,000 sqm plate output is supplied to the flexible packaging industry, another 25% goes to the corrugated segment, while the remaining 20% is divided between folding cartons and labels.

“We were the first prepress company in the region to bring in LED exposure technology for making flexo plates with the Flint Group nyloflex® NExT system back in 2016,” said Shahe Kavlakian, Executive Manager for Prepress at NDigitec and brother of the company’s CEO Vatche Kavlakian, who as a pioneer of integrated prepress and printing services, laid the roots for the business in the early 1990s.

“Now we are once again taking the lead as the first to install the XSYS ThermoFlexX Catena-E system; an investment we have made because we believe that this solution will best support us in responding to the many varied customer demands we are currently facing and to allow us to continue our global expansion.”

Improving quality and reducing waste
Providing high-performance LED exposure for precise image reproduction, the ThermoFlexX Catena-E 80 is an open system that can process plates in sizes up to 1270 x 2032mm (50 x 80”) and all thicknesses for any type of flexo printing. With a very high level of automation, the unit can also be combined with a ThermoFlexX imager and Catena washer, dryer, and light finisher units for a full end-to-end plate production line, an option that NDigitec is closely evaluating as part of its future strategy. While the Catena-E 80 has been installed in Dubai, there are more immediate plans to upgrade the company’s exposure hardware across the other sites.

“The effect of the new Catena unit has been very noticeable,” said Shahe Kavlakian, who explained more about the team’s criteria in evaluating the technology. “We are looking for standardization, durability, efficiency, and stability in plate production; these aspects are key to maintaining productivity and quality. Particularly in flexible packaging, consistent solid ink density with perfect highlights is a challenge, but with the Catena system and our own micro surface screening, we can deliver results that are much better than with other LED solutions.”

Among the other immediate benefits enjoyed in Dubai was a reduction in waste compared to the existing system. “The Catena-E is definitely helping to improve the sustainability of our plate-making operation because we can combine different jobs on the same plate. By our latest estimations, plate waste has gone down from around 26% to 16%, and we know that with the latest LEDs in the machine, energy consumption will also be less. So, from an environmental point of view, as well as in terms of costs, this is a great improvement.”

Quick and effective implementation
With any new technology, there is inevitably a learning curve, but the near plug’n’play nature of the Catena system meant that the unit was in full production at NDigitec within a week. Mr. Kavlakian praised the simplicity of the design and the user interface, and in particular, highlighted the ability to access the unit controls remotely.

“The Catena is very easy to operate with straightforward instructions and options, so training was pretty quick. It also comes with remote capabilities which means that calibration and regular maintenance checks can be done without having anyone coming on-site. This is of course a fantastic feature as we can avoid unwanted downtime because we don’t have to wait for an engineer to attend in person,” he said.

Supporting future growth
Looking to the future, NDigitec has major plans to take more of the global market share. To further this goal, it opened a new state-of-the-art 50,000 sqm factory in Dubai Production City in 2020. Another 3,000 sqm facility operates as an incubator for joint venture projects aimed at advancing innovation in flexo print production, complemented by more investment in best-in-class imaging, processing, and screening technologies.

“In addition to the immediate benefits we have already experienced, the ThermoFlexX Catena-E 80 exposure technology will give us a stable platform to build our future plate-making infrastructure, stay competitive, and support our ambitious growth strategy,” concluded Shahe Kavlakian.