Made in India: Drip-off solutions from Autoprint Machinery

The Autoprint Fine Coat drip-off machines are manufactured with two tower coating systems so that drip-off coating is possible in a single pass, CN Ashok of Autoprint Machinery tells Rahul Kumar

25 Sep 2023 | By Rahul Kumar

For years, lamination has been used to protect the printed material and to enhance print value. However, there has been increasing concern over the environmental impact of traditional lamination methods. The durability of lamination has also been questioned. Addressing both these issues effectively while enhancing the visual appeal of the printed material,

Autoprint has introduced an offline dedicated high-tech drip-off coating machine. 

The machine comes in two sizes — 22x32-inches and 30x40-inches. The first machine, Autoprint Fine Coat 80 drip-off machine (22x32-inches) was launched in 2018 and Autoprint Fine Coat 105 drip-off machine (30x40-inches) was launched at Pamex 2023.

According to CN Ashok, managing director, Autoprint Machinery Manufacturers, the Autoprint Fine Coat drip-off machines are manufactured with two tower coating systems so that drip-off coating is possible in a single pass. This UV coater is attached with automatic driers which enables drying of both UV and aqueous/ water-based coatings.

Autoprint, since its inception more than three decades ago, has been adding new dimensions to the printing industry with a growing range of printing and post-printing machines. A dedicated R&D team that translates customer needs into thoughtful features, strategic alliances, win-win partnerships and a passion to excel, has seen Autoprint design, develop and deliver printing and post-press machines that meet international standards. Today, Autoprint has installed more than 13,000 machines in both domestic and international markets.

The machine
This machine can do various coatings like drip-off coating, full UV coating (gloss and matte finish), aqueous coating (gloss and matte finish), spot coating, texture coating, blister coating, etc. 

“A single machine can be utilised for many coating solutions,” Ashok says, ‘The two-tower coating unit ensures drip-off coating in a single pass, and for other coatings, we can do it from the second tower itself. The coating towers can be used individually or simultaneously according to the type of coating.”

He says the targeted segment for the machine is all small-, medium- and large-size packaging units and commercial printers.

The market 
Ashok says the machine is cost-effective, compared to inline coating systems, converted machine coating systems or any other coating systems in large format coating. Since it is an offline dedicated UV coating and drip-off machine, the simplified design enables it to produce more copies and it ensures per-day productivity. Printing presses can offer an affordable coating solution to the end users. 

The machine price starts from Rs 75 to 90-lakh.

So far, Autoprint has sold a total of 25 machines. Among them, 20 are running successfully in India and five in the international market.

Ashok says customers looking for such a product in India usually look for the quality of coating, user-friendliness with safety features on the machine, after-sales service support, features to do more types of coatings in one machine, reliability of the machine, the brand and quick ROI.

According to Ashok, Autoprint customers are using the machine to do special drip-off coating for cartons of leading brands in the FMCG, pharma, and cosmetic industries, and industrial product cartons. “Some customers are also using our machines to coat for commercial jobs like posters, brochures, book covers, and invitations,” he adds.

According to Ashok, the USP of the product is that one single machine can be utilised for various types of surface protection coating applications. There is a provision to change anilox rollers according to the ink deposit thickness required for the job. 

Cylinder grippers are easily removable and re-fixed. This helps clean the varnish spill-over on grippers, which ensures long-term, trouble-free running and enhances the life of grippers. 

Spot coating is possible due to the cylinder design. The custom-made feeder ensures trouble-free feeding from 60- to 450-gsm substrates. An ink intensity adjustable power control system is provided on the machine to maintain the temperature in the drier to dry coating according to the ink application. 

“The unique characteristic of the machine is that it requires less floor space, less power,” Ashok says. “A single machine for various types of coatings, it can be operated with minimum training. The dedicated off-line two-tower coating system assures various types of coatings with minimal makeready time.”
Ashok says that dedicated offline two-tower drip-off surface protection coaters are rare in the market. “Autoprint evidently is a solo player,” he says. “The other possibilities are old or used two-colour machines which have been converted for coating applications or inline conversion on secondhand multi-colour machines, brand-new multi-colour machines with the configuration of coaters, roller-coaters and screen printing methods.”

The productivity 
According to Ashok, the machine can coat 5,000-6,000 impressions per hour. 

“Previously, we were manufacturing coating machines for full surface protection coating, such as UV and aqueous coating. Now, this drip-off coating machine can do various types of coatings apart from the drip-off coating on 30x40-inches paper size too,” he explains.

He adds that with minimal training, any offset operator can operate this machine. Autoprint offers training to its customers onsite as well as in its factory. The machine comes with a one-year warranty period. After the warranty period, the company offers a preventive maintenance contract (PMC).

“Based on our study, most of our customers are using the machine at the optimum level and they are coating pharmaceutical cartons and FMCG products at the ratio of 60 and 40%. This machine has been designed and built with special features and it helps our customers fulfil their surface protection coating requirements as per the standards of the pharmaceutical and FMCG industry,” Ashok explains. 

He adds that today, most large-scale packaging unit owners have understood the importance of automatisation, especially for the post-press process of packaging material. “Today, press owners are facing challenges like shortage of skilled manpower, more demand with less lead time, honouring on-time delivery commitment to their customers, quality of finished products with affordable price and stiff competition. These factors set the trend to change the units from conventional processes to automatic.

Ashok concludes that Autoprint’s target is to sell at least 15 Fine Coat machines for the financial year 2023-24. n