The 10-colour FL5 UV flexo press with an inline cold foiling, lamination and die-cutting units run at a maximum speed of 200 metres per minute and can print on substrates as thin as a 12-micron shrink sleeve film to 650-micron paperboard.
Gopi Ballarwad, operations head, Itek Packz, said, “Instead of a five-step sheetfed offset process for folding carton production, the cartons can now be printed in a roll-to-sheet form in one-pass. This is a big advantage as it eliminates stock holding and work-in-progress material.”
He explained, “In a typical offset production, a print job of one-lakh cartons would require four to five days as it passes through printing, foil stamping, coating, die-cutting, and pasting processes. With Edale, the die-cut blanks can be readied in one day, which can further be run on a folder-gluer on the same day or the following day.”
The machine was commissioned by Kolkata’s Printers Supply Company, Edale’s partner in India. According to Amitabh Luthra, director at Printers Supply, this is India’s second FL5 line, an upgraded version of the first.
“As a standard, the machine has servo drives on each print unit providing pre-register, auto-register and print length control features. This, combined with the design of printing unit, ensures job change times and set-up wastage are kept to a minimum with the ability to perform a full-station colour change in under 70 seconds. It is equipped with Edale’s AIIR system, an automated inking and print impression, and camera controlled liner and cross registration.”
Itek Packz was formed in 2013, accommodating the folding carton operations of Wintek after ITW Signode acquired Wintek’s flexo division. Under the new aegis, the company houses a six-colour Komori LS-29 press, Esko software and Heidelberg Suprasetter in pre-press and two lines of post-press equipment, of which one set of equipment was added in the last two years. This has doubled its finishing capacity.
Ballarward and Gassali Shahul Hameed, head - production, Itek, spent past two years in studying the flexo and offset technologies for carton production.
“We arrived at a conclusion that the single-pass flexo process is beneficial on several fronts than the multi-step offset production. Firstly, with anilox inking, you have a better control on colour consistency than in offset. Secondly, with a single-pass flexo everything can be accommodated within 5,000 sq/ft area whereas in offset production you require more than 10,000 sq/ft space for printing and post-press machines. And lastly, with Edale, the entire carton production from start to end will require only six personnel at the max. Basis the three factors, we decided to opt for Edale.”
The new Edale opens up new avenues for Itek. “We aim to tap new print packaging applications such as lamitubes, shrink sleeves and MetPET cartons,” concluded Ballarwad.