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FLEXO Magazine : July 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES SUN DEMOS NEW EB TECH AT DRUPA At Hall 10, Stand C62 of drupa 2008, Sun Chemical part- nered with Energy Sciences Inc. (ESI) and Comexi Group to showcase its WetFlex™ flexographic printing technology in the first public demonstration. Sun has been promoting WetFlex as a breakthrough technology that delivers wet-on-wet flexo- graphic printing. It is designed for wide-web flexible packaging printers, and claims low environmental impact. WetFlex uses a new generation energy curable ink technology specially devel- oped and patented for the process. At drupa, the inks were wet trapped on a Comexi iF2 !cube (intelligent Comexi unified basis ergonomics) concept Central Impression (CI) cylinder press and cured by an ESI EZCure-DF EB in-line electron beam, which is installed on an innovative "short web path" press layout. Comexi also showcased the new optimized EVertical EB inking system. The WetFlex process can be adapted to specially designed modern presses in order to get the maximum performance from the new technology. Jürgen Schulz, the owner of Schulz Konstantin Druck GmbH in Roth, Germany, said he has been using WetFlex for a while and is in the process of retrofitting a second press. "We are now able to offer high quality, VOC-free low migration printing for food packaging quickly and efficiently. The process also allows us to comply easily with the increasing number of environmen- tal regulations as well as helping lower our carbon footprint." On June 4, the three companies celebrated as their Wet Flex demonstration exceeded speeds of 500 meters/minute. "We are thrilled," said Ignacio Fernandez, of Comexi, who was of- fering samples of the print job and claimed to see "tremendous interest" in the technology. The crew on hand also ran three different jobs in a 32 minute time span. Roll handling, sleeve storage, sleeve handling, computerization were credited as im- portant elements of the press that led to the accomplishment. Fernandez commented, "The inking system is a new com- pressed system defined specifically for the different behavior of EB inks, with higher viscosity and specific and very accurate need of temperature control. We reduced space with wider but shorter tubes, which provide more pumping power with less charges lost, better ink flow with more ink capacity with less pressure inside the circuit." When compared to more traditional wide-web setup situ- ations, Fernandez claimed, "As the dot gain or footprint is reduced, setup is faster and results in less need for experienced gas to power the drying process, as well as the need for equipment like chill rolls, conditioned air and dehumidifiers. These inks are not flammable, because they con- tain no combustible ingredients-so the inks need no special, explosion-proof stor- age space. They also clean up with water, so no additional solvents are necessary at the end of the printing process. The wet-on-wet printing process can be installed on a new central imposition (CI) press or retrofitted onto the printer's existing equipment. The EB-cured inks are press-ready when delivered, so there's no dilution sol- vent or refreshing solution required, eliminating a step in the press set-up process-and the viscosity of the ink is stable, so press technicians do not need to spend their time monitoring personnel." He also professed that the press can get up to color in less than ISO meters. According to 1m Rangwalla of ESI, "The EZCure-DF is modi- fied to meet the high speed target. These systems have been designed with more power to accommodate higher speeds while still achieving instantaneous cure." He also said the de- vice was equipped with a nitrogen reduction system to accom- modate greener printing demands. "People from all over the world have been showing massive interest and are amazed at the quality of printing-both at the demonstrations and by a close examination of the samples available at the stand," said Bjorn Heilhecker of Sun Chemical. "It is all part of our commitment to working for the customer and demonstrating market leadership." J U LV 2008 - www.flexography.org FLEXO
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008