Itek Packz and Edale – An award-winning flexo printing combination

More than a year since the installation of Edale FL3 at Itek Packz the company has received a significant boost to cater to the label as well as the mono carton market with dedicated lines that includes an earlier bought Edale FL5 press in 2017. A WhatPackaging? case- study on why the company relies on Edale machinery for its processes

30 Nov 2020 | By WhatPackaging? Team

(l-r) Gopi Ballarwad, Tippu Sultan, Girish Ballarwad, Vinay Anand Pavuluri, Gassali Shahul Hameed

Based in Bengaluru, Itek Packz was founded by the second generation of Wintek Flexo Prints owners Shahul Hameed, Gururaj Ballarwad and Late PC Anand. Gassali Shahul Hameed and Tippu Hameed, Girish and Gopi Ballarwad, and Vinay Anand Pavuluri established Itek Packz to accommodate the folding carton business of Wintek Flexo Prints after ITW Signode acquired the flexo division . Before selecting Edale FL3 for its shopfloor, Itek Packz had opted for 10-colour Edale FL5 which is an automatic single-pass flexographic press to print folding cartons with anti-counterfeiting features.

The 10-colour Edale FL5 UV flexo press with inline cold foiling, lamination and die-cutting units runs at a maximum speed of 200 m/ min and can print on substrates as thin as a 12-micron shrink sleeve film to 650-micron paperboard. The installation took place at Itek’s 20,000 sqft facility in 2017. It resulted in the company bagging 11 international awards in a span of three years 

Second Edale press at Itek
Riding on the success of Edale FL5, Itek opted for the nine-colour Edale FL3 with an aim to boost its production in the label printing space. The FL3 is a customised label and package printing press capable of taking web widths of 430mm with sub-strate thicknesses of 12-450 microns. The printing speed is 200m/min. Gopi Ballarwad, operations head, Itek Packz, said, "FL5 allowed us to win numerous international awards owing to its print quality. ”Most notable among them are various awards from Flexographic 

Technical Association New York, USA. “Hence, to achieve the same quality for labels, we opted for the FL3 press,” said Ballarwad. Performance analysis The FL3 and FL5 come with the same printhead geometry. The FL3 label presses consist of an autonomous inking, impression and register (AiiR ) system. It also comprises job data storage, Industry 4.0 and workflow integration and offers auto-set back slitting and shear slitting. Both Edale FL5 and Fl3 were commissioned by Kolkata’s Printers Supply, Edale’s partner for the past 11 years in India. According to the company’s director Amitabh Luthra, “The FL3 not only allowed Itek Packz to continue to offer quality but it also enabled the company to offer new products like print inks on cold foil and other embellishments to its customers.”

Team Itek with Edale engineers

While speaking to WhatPackaging? during the installation of Edale FL5 Ballarwad had said, “Instead of a five-step sheetfed offset process for folding carton production, the cartons can 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 had further explained that “In a typical offset production, a print job of a lakh carton 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 post-press kit from Edale called the FDC die-cutter comes with a retro-fitting option onto an existing web-fed press or to an unwind stand for off-line conversion of conventionally or digitally pre-printed webs. 

Machine upkeep 
Every Edale press allows for remote connection from the Edale factory allowing for quick and efficient diagnostics of most problems. As all Edale presses are servo driven it becomes a real benefit to the customer. The FL5 comes with seven motors on each print station and full register as a part of standard installation. This, according to Luthra, allows for storage of all jobs, thus resulting in reduced set up time and waste. Edale develops all electrical and mechanical parts and software in-house and has been at the “forefront of automation” for the past five years.

Speaking about what the changes that made Edale press the most desired for right now, Luthra said that,“The addition of the Edale AiiR system makes it the easiest press to operate in the market today. Also, changeover times are fast and efficient allowing for many jobs to be run per day.” 

Awards at Itek 

In April 2020, for the third year in a row, Itek was recognised by the FTA with gold for Best of Show in the narrow-web category. This gold was given to the company’s Himalaya Ayurveda Clear Skin Soap cartonentry produced for a customer who wanted six to seven colours, gold matte foil, and varnish and other effects. This gold award was apart from the silver it received in the same Best of Show category. Both these awards are in addition to nine international awards for Itek Packz since the installation of first Edale press in 2017.

From these, five awards were bagged by them yet again at FTA and four at Asian Packaging Excellence Awards. Luthra felt that “these awards give industry recognition that flexographic printing gives direct competition to offset style of printing traditionally used in carton production.”