Product of the Month: Offset CI printing technology from Comexi
Comexi is ideal for short and medium runs and meets the stringent customer demands, Felip Ferrer, brand manager, business development, offset printing, Comexi, tells Rahul Kumar
22 Nov 2021 | By PrintWeek Team & Rahul Kumar
What does the machine do?
It is a hybrid printing press that combines offset and flexo with a central impression cylinder (CI), using electron beam (EB) curing inks. It encompasses the advantages of offset printing and the safety of low migration EB inks and coatings, resulting in a wide range of substrates to be used for many applications. We are at the forefront of this technology; a mature solution that offers many advantages, such as sustainability; high-quality printing; fast time to market; competitive costs; high efficiency and so on.
Which are the different models?
The standard models have seven offset EB print units for high quality printing and one flexo EB for whites and coatings. As an option, additional inline unitsflexo/gravure can be installed. With over 20 presses operating in the market, and installations in progress in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, we are launching the new offset CI evolution.
How do these models differ from each other?
The new model offers improved performance and automation. Some of the new features include
- Colour closed loop control without marks (measures color for video inspection)
- Integration of sleeves and plate mounting with the robot
- Improved ergonomics
- New automatic winders
- Automatic print function
- Scrap saving function
- New wireless control by tablet type
- Automatic washing in all offset/ flexo units
- A new flexo unit with antibounce to increase speed
- Glossy/mat varnish and opac whites with lower volume
- Connectivity with Cloud Production Analytics
Is there anything in the machine which is available as a standalone, if the machine is modular?
Inline printing units for special applications can be added to the initial configuration or as an upgrade. Our layout configuration inline unit has a dual function; upstream or downstream use is possible with the change of the webpath. Moreover, of interest is the option of the CI enclosure climatisation (temperature and humidity), which enables the machine to be installed in a non-conditioned room, thus widening operating conditions. This unique feature is possible as a result of each printing units being mounted around the central drum in an enclosed chamber with sliding doors.
When was the machine launched?
The new model debuted at Drupa 2021 and is currently available for deliveries beginning 2022.
What was the thought process when the machine was conceived?
Comexi is a market leader, offering innovation and sustainable solutions. EB inks and coatings are the optimal solution to replace solvents, in turn reducing emissions, consuming less ink and energy, as well as creating a safe environment for the printing process. On the other hand, offset EB inks have been available from a variety of ink suppliers for many years. They have no photoinitiators and have been approved for food packaging. These two factors inspired Comexi to develop the offset CI. The new model is the evolution of this technology.
What is the target market(s)?
A variety of flexible packaging and labeling companies in the food and non-food industries. In regard to flexible packaging, the offset CI can be used for snacks, confectionary, frozen foods, dry foods, petfoods, tobacco, chemicals, cosmetics, among others. In reference to labelling, our customers print shrink sleeves, wrap around labels, IML, and self-adhesive labels. Due to the low cost of pre-press, efficiency and flexibility, the offset CI is not only ideal for short and medium runs, but for large runs over 100-km, at a very competitive cost and performance, as well.
What kind of substrates can it handle?
The offset CI is able to not only manage thinner and elastic films, such as PE, BOPP, PET, and PA, but thicker paper or laminates as well. In regard to aluminium, the machine needs to be pre-primed. It can do surface printing or reverse printing for lamination. The optimum lamination performance will be completed with an assessment by Comexi technological center (CTec) for a wide range of applications, including the most demanding, such as retort packaging.
How fast is it?
Pre-press designs can automatically and effortlessly be converted by the extended gamut process from a marketing file to a plate format. Within a few minutes, the plates are imaged in a CTP (computer to plate); the result is a complete set of plates in less than 20 minutes. The offset CI prints at a speed of 300-mtr/min with a web width of 1,100-mm.
What is the USP of the machine?
The Offset CI is the best option to expand the market and enables new solutions for recyclable flexible packaging as well.This versatile machine can be used to attract new customers, as it has a rapid and low-cost pre-press, similar to that of digital. Furthermore, it has competitive productivity and low printing costs, equivalent to conventional flexo/gravure machines.
EB inks and coatings are highly resistant to chemicals, heat, sealing, and scratching, thus providing genuine replacement solutions, which are more recyclable and efficient, for various complex laminations. This is achieved by reducing the number of layers, and makes the offset CI the pre-eminent solution for recyclable packaging. When choosing to print PE reverse, the partial crosslink process will increase the thermal resistance of the external packaging layer, while surface printing results in the EB coating providing high surface protection.
How easy is it to use?
The new model is equipped with improved ergonomics and diverse automations in order to simplify the job preparation and increase the speed of changeovers. It also includes automatic washing in all units and ink levels detectors.
The offset CI is equipped with the CIP3/4 function, which connects the pre-press design target with the machine. For timely matching of colours, this software enables the presetting of the machine’s ink keys. Once the colour is approved, the colour closed loop option can be used as an automatic pilot for printing each run without colour deviations. The machine has functions for easy maintenance, including full accessibility to roller train from 360 degrees and internal platforms.
What training and support are on offer?
Comexi offers complete training for machine operation and maintenance. Additionally, there is a production support package that offers a complete training assessment of pre-press and productivity. Our technological center, CTec, will provide extensive knowledge, not only to achieve the highest printing performance, but also to create a variety of new applications with the expertise of post processes, such as lamination, coating, or slitting.
How much does it cost?
The price of the standard machine is approximately 3.5-million euros. Although the level of investment is higher than the conventional flexo or gravure, the return of investment is short as there is no need for an extra investment in additional equipment, such as solvent recovery systems. Furthermore, explosive protection for solvents is not necessary, inks are provided in smaller 3kg cans that can be stored close to machine.
The offset CI press has the best technology to maximise the extended gamut process: the inks never dries and can remain in the machine for a long period of time. Consequently, this reduces the number of cleanings and speeds up the changeover process.
Installation numbers worldwide? How many do you expect to install in 2020-2021?
The printing and converting leaders previously had trust in our technology. Since the launch in 2014, more than 20 offset CI presses have been installed worldwide at the facilities of our customers.
In 2021, we are installing five new machines in Netherland, Brazil, CIS Russian area, Thailand and Spain.