Uteco Group and Kodak unveil inkjet press for flexible packaging

Jointly developed by Uteco Group and Kodak, the Sapphire Evo hybrid inkjet press is now commercially available. First previewed at Drupa 2016 at the Kodak booth, the new press will see its first installation in June 2018 at an Italian flexible packaging producer for the industrial and fashion industries.

24 Apr 2018 | By PrintWeek India

According to the Uteco, Sapphire Evo is targeted at low- and high-volume packaging applications with a capacity to produce up to 20 million square metres per year.

The Sapphire Evo press deploys Kodak’s Stream Inkjet technology and boasts speed of 9,000 linear metres per hour. It can handle a variety of packaging films and papers. The Sapphire Evo uses media up to 650mm (25.6-inch) in width and prints at up to 622mm (24.5-inch) and offers CMYK printing as well as options for in-line priming and varnishing.

Aldo Peretti, CEO of the Uteco Group, said, “Our customers have been asking for a digital production solution that meets their customer demand for more versions, which is driving shorter run lengths, as well as an economic long-run digital solution. Uteco’s rich experience in flexo and gravure printing, film handling, coating and drying, coupled with Kodak’s inkjet expertise, now allows us to deliver a device that combines the capabilities of flexo with digital.”

Using environmentally friendly water-based inks to print on a variety of flexible substrates, including BOPP, PET and paper, Kodak’s inks and pre-coating fluids used with the Sapphire Evo are said to comply regulatory requirements for indirect food contact in the EU and the US, as well as brand specific requirements and the EuPIA exclusion list.

Randy Vandagriff, president and corporate vice president, enterprise inkjet systems division, Kodak, said, “The new press offers economical water-based inks on flexible films at production speeds. It is great to be working with a partner like Uteco to combine their exceptional expertise with ours to deliver a high-end digital production device that offers new opportunities for the flexible packaging industry”.

Stefano Russo, COO of the Uteco Group, said, “As the demand for mass versioning and customisation of packaging grows globally, hybrid flexo, gravure and digital printing is becoming a very important part of packaging providers’ offerings. The combination of Uteco and Kodak’s technologies not only delivers a competitive option for digital short-run printing, but also competes in medium-long print runs. This makes the Sapphire Evo an ideal investment for both label and packaging print service providers.”

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