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FLEXO Magazine : August 2014
even envelopes. No matter the machine chosen, of prime impor- tance is ease of use. W&H Corp., Comexi, Uteco, KYMC America, Bobst and KBA Flexo- tecnica admit that in some instances today: • Live production takes place at speeds in excess of 2,500 fpm • Presses are available with 8-, 10- and even 12-color decks • Printing widths can top 80-in. • Minimum repeats start at a relatively small 12-in. or 13-in., with maximum repeats exceeding 50-in. • Changeover can be completed in minutes, rather than hours, with minimal waste generated—300 feet or less Representatives from all those companies make this point: “Propri- etary engineering provides for fully automatic register setting as well as impression setting, offering the user the maximum potential ROI and job to job profitability.” Video inspection systems are common- place. They also suggest, “Fingerprinting— aligning your prepress with the press—will greatly reduce total throughput. Establishing standards for job preparation, running speeds, roll change, etc. will help improve or optimize workflow.” STRUCTURE & ERGONOMICS Bobst maintains that, “Design of the printing frames combines extreme rigidity with ease of operation. On the one hand, it enables high production speeds even with the most delicate graphics; on the other hand, effortless sleeve, intermediate mandrel and anilox sleeve changeovers... Much emphasis has been placed on making all the ma- jor functions easily accessible at all times. This leads to effective setup, monitoring and maintenance with minimum downtime. “Thanks to compact modular design, use of floor space is kept to a minimum,” Bobst explains. “Lightweight carbon fiber cylinders com- bine the advantages of the high rigidity required for quality printing with easy handling.” Comexi engineers agree: “ The printing press must be equipped with elements that facilitate access to all components for maintenance purposes, the central drum, refrigeration systems and drying, etc. Successful press design allows the converter to maximize efficiency and productivity. “Printers demand more energy efficient machines with frequency inverters, reversible power supplies, more efficient motors, more compact drying equipment, heat exchangers, reduction of compressed air consumption, optimization of processes and parameters, and decreasing downtimes,” according to Comexi’s analysis. “Today it is a must to have both servo and direct drives. This delivers the best performance and precision in maintaining the longitudinal register. Also noteworthy is that the machine should be designed with minimal manual intervention (sleeve or doctor blade change, etc.) in mind.” KBA Flexotecnica says, “Servo drives enable simultaneous processes and more accurate capabilities within the press’ components.” Elab- orating on the point, representatives claim, “High efficiency motors with inverter and regenerative drives, optimized air recycling systems, solvent recovery systems, and energy recovery in conjunction with low inertia carbon fiber printing and anilox mandrels are becoming must have items.” AUTOMATION Comexi notes, “Job setup means printing pressure, register and color matching.” Without specially developed, patented technologies, setup is a manual process and waste is highly dependent on the operator’s skill.” Technical team members at W&H Corp. agree. “Automation modules for quicker setup, registration, changeovers, color matching and ink cleaning are essential. Rapid changeovers are a must. Compact, pat- ented ‘space frame’ designs offers extreme rigidity.” W&H experts observe that easy, quick, automated setup and changeovers, as well as less scrap, sit atop the list of printer require- ments when buying a press. Of utmost importance is the ability to accommodate many short runs in a single day. “Fully automated presses can be linked to customers’ software, so that centralized planning is possible. The planning department can feed the informa- AUGUST 2014 | FLEXO 89 KYMC NEOFLEX CI Flexo KBA FlexotecnicaEVO XG