Nalawade recalls, “Mamy Poko was a two-ply BOPP-poly structure and we were tasked to bring it down to single layer 22 micron cast poly proplylene (CPP) with high resolution print quality and at optimum cost. Running a thin film on high speed of around 400 metres per minute was not an easy task. We encountered issues with ink set-off and took three months of rigorous trials and experiments to resolve it. Then for another three months, we worked on getting the halftones right. We also encountered incorrect punches. However, working closely with Kodak and Dupont we were able to get the punch right. And, that’s how we finally cracked the job.”
In-plant ink dispensing system
In-plant ink dispensing system In a bid to scale its print quality quotient and service efficiency, Parakh Agro has invested in in-plant ink dispensing systems manufactured by Inkmaker and powered by Siegwerk inks. This is India’s first fully integrated Siegwerk ink kitchen for solvent inks in the flexo segment.
Harshal Parakh says the big advantage is the ability to produce spot colours just in time and that too right at the first time from a database of formulations without having to depend on the ink supplier.
The Inkmaker system ensures that just enough ink is mixed for the print job, thus reducing the amount of press returns.
For Siegwerk, the logistical issues in supplying a wide range of inks and colours to Parakh are reduced to supplying bulk quantities of base colours and additives.
Explaining the operation of the dispensing system, Umesh Bhende of Siegwerk India, says, “It has the ability to rework any press returns into different formulations and this reduces ink stock levels and ink waste dramatically. This also means that less space is required for ink storage and less capital is tied up in inks.”
To produce the required colour a number of base colour concentrates are blended together according to a recipe stored in the system software. The base colours are stored in barrels. While dispensing the ink, each base colour in the recipe is pumped from the barrel into a container through the dispensing heads. Parakh has opted for a 24-head system.
Bhende says, “Dispensing equipment streamlines the custom product creation process by using a database containing all components to create a precise and correct final product. This database is accessed via a computer that controls a series of valves and pumps that select the appropriate ingredients which are then weighed, one at a time, and dispensed into a container to be mixed into a final product.”
“Since solvent-based inks are involved, one of key feature of the dispenser is fire safety. All the containers are equipped with static discharge earthling clamps. Plus a specially designed EEX-p purging cabinet has been installed to house the computer and electrical panel in EX area. This cabinet is certified and suitable to operate in hazardous environments. It houses all electrical and pneumatic parts necessary to operate the machine.”
“In addition to this, the ink dispensing head has been provided with Interlock Circuit - this option forces the operator to connect the bonding clamp to the vessel in order to start production. If bonding clamp is not properly connected the system will not allow production.”
Bobst F&K smart GPS
The latest addition to Parakh’s armoury is the 10-colour Bobst F&K 20Six CI-flexo press. The new press significantly reduces machine set-up time, registration and makeready wastage. This is due to the Smart GPS – graphic positioning system, an offline registration and impression setting process, which is done at the plate mounting stage with almost no additional time required.
“By doing away with the need to set up impression and register while substrate is running, Smart GPS is said to virtually eliminate waste of substrate, ink, solvent and energy while increasing machine time and reducing labour costs,” says Nalawade.
A specially developed measuring system is integrated into the plate mounter. It precisely measures the topography of the print-ready cylinders or sleeves (plate mounted on cylinders or sleeves) to be scanned to an extremely high precision level. The exact impression and register data of all print sleeves is determined and written to a special RFID chip embedded in the sleeve. When these sleeves are mounted on the machine, all data is automatically transferred to the machine control system. When the press starts, all print units are in their correct register and impression position—without corrections required and without any material wastage. The entire process takes only a matter of seconds during the mounting stage. Due to Smart GPS, the machine set-up times are reduced by approximately 40% and set-up wastage is minimised by 50% as compared to other machines..