In the last couple of years, Indian manufacturers have been diversifying into new segments. UV/LED UV specialist UV Graphic Technologies’ entry into label segment with Ultraflex UFO, a narrow-web flexo printing press, is one such example.
UV Graphic has four standard models for Ultraflex UFO and each model has two variants. The press is available with single and twin servo and in four web widths — 370, 450, 530 and 670-mm.
The company has been manufacturing the Ultraflex label presses since the beginning of 2018, but the first public launch was at Labelexpo India in November 2018.
Being a flexo printing press, it prints with photopolymer plates. The polymer plates take a consistent metered dose of ink from the anilox roller and pass it onto the substrate. A combination of several print units can produce an array of colours on multiple substrates.
So, at first, the roll of the substrate is loaded into the unwind section of the machine and the substrate goes through corona treatment. Then the substrate starts passing through the print stations where the ink is transferred on the substrates. To add value to the printed label, one can do multiple finishing applications like hot foil, cold foil, lamination, embossing for an enhanced look. After the print enhancement process, the printed label goes for die-cutting and is ready to use. The printed labels can be in sheet and roll form but most of the time it is in roll form.
Abhay Datta, director, UV Graphic Technologies, says, “Narrow-web flexo printing machines are mostly used for printing on any substrate to form pressure-sensitive labels, films, shrink sleeves into labels or printed material with inline hot/cold foil, UV coating and special effect coatings with inline die-cutting, sheeting and various other capabilities.”
Not just the label market, the company is looking at the entire packaging market for the Ultraflex. The machine can print foils, films, paper and board from 10 to 350 microns. So, according to Datta, it is a perfect option for flexible packaging converters, label converters and packaging carton converters.
Datta says in India, converters today are more concerned about delivering high-quality labels. “With Ultraflex UFO, a printer is able to print with the highest quality and top register on any substrate ranging from 10 to 350-microns.”
He adds that the pricing of the machine can be customised according to the need of the customers, depending upon the number of features required. The prices are competitive and deliveries are prompt.
Being an old player in the industry, UV Graphic has deep roots in the domestic and international market. This has paid off, since the launch of Ultraflex four months ago, we have sold two presses in the international market and nine presses in the domestic market. Jupiter Laminators, Chemline, Hempra, Shri Multi Prints, Dutta Press, Solar Press and Gujarat Print Pack are few of the first customers.
Meanwhile, the company has signed four prestigious deals in 2019 and is hoping to sell around 15 machines by the end of the year.
According to Datta, a customer looks for high-quality construction and engineering, precise registration, quick changeover, user-friendly handling, short-web path, easy make-ready, minimum waste during startup and production and good after-sales support at the time of selection of the machine.
“In our experience of few months, typical applications on our press include printing of up to 10 colours with inline hot foil stamping, holographic cast and cure, lamination, embossing and die-cutting in a single pass. A combination of the above processes can make a complex and extraordinary label,” says Datta.
He adds that the USP of the press is total inline conversion from start to finish with unlimited possibilities, which include corona treatment, web cleaning, printing unlimited colours, inline hot/cold stamping, cast and cure, de-lam re-lam, printing on the reverse or adhesive side, silk screen printing, peel and seal labels, lamination, embossing, die-cutting, sheeting and waste stripping to name a few.
Components of the press
The Ultraflex Flexographic Servo Drive Print Station consists of an anilox roller, printing ink tray, servo motors, an impression cylinder, chill drums/ plate cylinder, UV/hot air/IR/LED UV curing system with ICT (instant change technology).
It also consists of hydraulic roll lift, splice table, corona treater, line/edge sensing web guide, dancer rollers, servo in-feed tension, antistatic device, de-lam re-lam, web turn bar, printing stations, cold and hot foil, cast and cure, lamination, embossing, die cutting, screen printing, booklet label attachment, sheeting, waste re-winder, slitter.
Salient features of the press include pre-register, auto-register, second pass register, hybrid UV/LED/IR/hot air dryers with chill drums and individual control panels on each station, a web video inspection system with an integrated large 55-inch LED screen, candy floss waste re-winder, motorised lateral register and others.
Its alternate printing processes include letterpress, offset and gravure but none of these offers the versatility and multiple capabilities of inline flexo printing presses, says Datta. “The machine can convert multiple substrates into labels, including die-cutting and other required processes at speeds of 200m/min. A printer can also register his job in under three meters of waste and produce sellable material within five metres of waste,” he says.
This press is also equipped with hybrid UV system. A printer can change from conventional UV to LED and LED to conventional without doing any changes in the press and during a press run. “The Ultraflex UFO has the smallest footprint in the industry as all the electrical panels, blower, UV cabinets, EPS, hot air blowers are within the machine frame,” says Datta.
The Ultraflex UFO can be operated by a single operator and all the functions can be controlled with a single control panel without making any changes to the press. The press can be set up for a new job in three minutes and job change in five minutes.
Training and service support
The company’s application engineers provide full training sessions and make customers understand each and every function and feature of the machine, Datta says. The operator and maintenance personnel are also trained for troubleshooting and maintenance.
He adds that UV Graphic Technologies understands the need and importance of technical and after-sales support and has qualified engineers with vast experience in the printing industry. “Our application engineers have the experience of combining multiple processes and impart the best training and after-sales support for the most complex jobs,” he adds.
Talking about the future, Datta believes the future is going to be LED/ Hybrid UV curing. “All Ultraflex presses are future-ready and incorporate hybrid LED UV systems developed by UV Graphic Technologies,” he says.
The LED system on the Ultraflex can be swapped with a conventional UV system in under one minute, making it the only Indian press to be 100% future-ready. LED UV systems consume 30% of the energy compared to conventional UV lamps. They completely shut off to zero power consumption when the press is idle. LED UV lamps have an instant start up without having to wait for the lamps to warm up. Due to a specific peak in wavelength, the press can achieve higher speeds with lower intensity.