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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques For more information, please contact PPC Paperboard Packaging Council 1350 Main Street, Suite 1508 Springfield, MA 01103-1628 Phone: 413-686-9191 Fax: 413-747 -7777 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org debossing or embossing requires both a raised male die and a recessed female die. Debossing dies may be imbedded in the folding carton die itself so that when the platen descends, the image is pressed into the paperboard. If the embossing die is placed on the counter plate, the printed side of the sheet will be pushed up, forming a raised, or embossed image. Windowing. Sometimes there’s no substitute for seeing what’s inside the box. But placing and gluing a rectangular patch of window film in precisely the right spot over a cutout on a folding carton is no simple matter. Here is how it’s done. • Diecut cartons are fed print side down through the win- dow machine. • A pattern of adhesive is applied to the carton blank. • The roll of window material is unwound and cut to length • This “patch” is transferred to a vacuum cylinder • At the precise moment, the vacuum is released and the patch is compressed onto the carton as it passes below. • Imagine this process repeating to produce 30,000 win- dowed cartons or more per hour! Windowing is not limited to the simple style shown above. Technology today allows for rigid, scored windows that cross two or more panels. Equipment is even available that com- pletely seals the inner surface of the carton so that, combined with a window, the consumer can see at a glance how much liquid remains in the container. Completion Up until this point, the folding carton has remained a flat, essentially two-dimensional blank, unusable by the customer. The final box must be folded, glued and shipped flat. When it reaches the customer it will be opened, formed into a tube and filled with product. In order for this to happen, adhesive must be applied to one or more “manufacturer’s seals.” To make it possible for the customer to easily open the car- ton for product insertion, two box scores must be pre-broken, tearing the fibers along those creases. This is especially im- portant when product will not be put into the cartons by hand, but automatically machine-filled. Gluing can be either timed or untimed. In untimed gluing, adhesive need only be applied to the strip lying outside the interior of the box. When this is the case, cartons can travel as fast as the belt carrying them through the gluer will allow. The glue flaps of these cartons pass over a rotating wheel immersed in a bath of adhesive after which the box is folded upon itself and sealed. However, as application systems and gluer technology have become more advanced, complex patterns of adhesive can be applied without sacrificing productivity. Cold or hot adhesive may be applied by ejecting precise beads of glue wherever they are required. As the carton passes through the machine, scores are pre-broken, adhesive is applied and glued panels are folded together. Before the boxes can be packed in corrugated ship- pers at the end of the line, however, they must pass through a compression section which not only gives the adhesive time to set up, but reduces “fluff,” the tendency for the box to spring open, allowing for maximum pack counts when shipping. Summary The design and manufacture of a folding carton is a com- bination of both art and technology. The investment in talent and equipment is substantial, but the result is a package that protects and markets consumer products like no other. The substrates used are not only renewable but recyclable, home- grown right here in the U.S. The American forest products industry is committed to sustainability. More trees destined to become folding cartons are planted each year than are harvested. The responsibility for increasing the percentage of paperboard recycled is up to all of us. Please participate in your community ’s recycling program, and urge your local governments to provide for and facilitate the recycling of used paperboard packaging. n Figure 8. Photo courtesy Bobst group. Figure 9. An in-line, web-fed flexographic folding carton press. Photo courtesy gallus inc. 50 FLeXO octoBer 2010 www.flexography.org SP 162 CER AuTOPLATEN® diECuTTER Serviced and Supported by: North American Cerutti Corporation 15800 West Overland Drive New Berlin, WI 53151 Tel: (262) 327-1667 Fax: (920) 499-2291 www.flexotecnica.it FX10 and FX8: High Profit Printing Presses Get the Edge. More value with higher speeds and larger repeat range FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 50 10/15/10 9:28 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010