Steinemann Lotus 102 SF

This laminating machine not only ensures perfect finishing but also cost efficiency with lowest glue consumption on various kind of films, says Sachin Shardul.

31 Aug 2011 | By Sachin Shardul

The demand for creative and visually high-quality packaging is steadily increasing in the growing print market of India and printers are looking for affordable solutions in this field. With increased demands on finishing of a product from the print buyer, printers are investing in laminating machines to run alongside their presses to provide quality service under one roof and faster turnaround time. Steinemann’s Lotus 102 SF is one such machine which is gaining popularity in this sector.

At PrintPack 2011, Hyderabad-based Pragati Offset selected the Lotus 102 SF from SRK Technology, the New Delhi-based exclusive dealer for Steinemann in India. SRK Technology showcased a live demo of Lotus 102 SF at its stall, demonstrating the lamination of metallised polyester film on 350gsm and laminating red acitate film over matellised  folding boxes. Rajesh Agarwal, managing director at SRK Technology, says: "The machine is the fastest lamination machine in the world with speeds of over 100 mtr/min or 11,000 sheets/hour. This machine saves a printer Rs 50-lakh annually when used for a run of more than 50,000 sheets a day. This machine achieves perfect surfaces and can laminate more than one lakh sheets of 22x30 inch per day."

With an installation base of 12 in domestic and 400 in the international markets, Lotus 102 SF is one of the preferred choices of the print finishers.

The other names include, International Print-o-Pac, Janus Packaging, Manipal Press, Manohar Packaging, EIH, Utility Printpack, Yamir Packaging, United Brothers, Canpac Trends, TCPL and ITC.

Applications in print
Steinemann Lotus 102SF is capable of doing film-to-board of 350 gsm and film-to-film lamination. The machine is solvent-free and capable of laminating various types of films like OPP, PET, PVC, nylon and metallised. It can laminate sheets of sizes 22 x 30cms to 102 x 142cms at the speed of 10,000 sheets per hour, thus fulfilling the needs for production in various print sectors, mainly commercial printing, book printers and packaging. The acetate film lamination on top of red metallised board gives the sheet a rich textured look. The applications cater to luxury and liqour packaging.

Pragati Pack, which kick-started its label project with the installation of an eight-colour MPS EF 410 and a Nilpeter narrow-web flexo press invested in the Lotus 102 SF to complement its press armoury which includes an MPS flexo 330mm eight-colour press, the first one installed in India, in April 2011.
Hemanth Paruchuri, director at Pragati Flexo, says: "Over the last few years, we have invested in presses to aid in our expansion plans, which in turn have increased our production capacity. We needed a laminating machine which would complement the increased throughput of our metallised jobs. And Steinemann suited our requirement."
Notable features  
The Steinemann Lotus 102 SF has the production capacity of more than 1,00,000 sheets in a day. Depending on the substrate and the laminating film used, the Lotus 102 SF applies a mere 1.8 to 3.5 grams polyurethane (PUR) adhesive per square metre. A double sheet-cleaning brush with an additional, heatable, chromium-plated calendar makes the surface of substrate smooth and dirt-free. Agarwal says: "The unique feature of Lotus 102 SF is its low glue consumption. This helps on increasing the savings on the glue and reducing the lamination costs. Plus, it is designed to consume less power, since it does not need a drier."   

Due to cold laminating process, the sheets lie flat throughout the entire production process. The film is cut precisely and without tension by the Steinemann hot knife. In Lotus 102 SF laminator, the heated, rotating cutting knife (hot-knife) for tension-free cutting is particularly advantageous when using PE or polyester films. The tearing or scoring system used for parting often fails when difficult film types are involved, whereas the hot-knife reliably melts and severs the film material. This patented function for rear-edge detection before the actual laminating operation enables precise cutting of slightly overlapping sheets.

Packaging done from cardboard has an internal PE coating as a functional barrier that is intended to fulfil technological demands, for example, a vapour barrier. At the same time, however, the functional barrier also prevents migration of constituents of the ink and varnish film into the packaged goods beyond the extent permitted by law. The functional barrier, therefore, serves purposes of food safety and protects the packaged product against undesirable environmental influences.

At PrintPack 2011, Steinemann showcased the Lotus 102 SF with new feeder featuring the suction head of the KBA Rapida 105. This feeder significantly reduces the setup times and allows smooth feeding of the substrate to be laminated.

Many cardboard manufacturers offer PE-coated board from the factory. A frequent disadvantage in this context is the large minimum purchase quantity, which impedes efficient use in the event of relatively short runs. In addition to which, printing pre-coated board also involves a slight residual risk of invisible set-off. In the delivery pile of the printing press, the freshly printed front side comes into contact with the barrier-coated back of the next sheet. Fresh ink and varnish films can bring about invisible set-off. This even applies to UV ink and varnish films, because further curing in the pile is observed as a result of the post-curing effect. The drying energy applied, and the associated heat, give the ink and varnish films thermoplastic properties, this encourages set-off on the back of the board.

Agarwal says: "This problem can be avoided very reliably by laminating a barrier film after printing. The curing process of the ink and varnish films has then been completed, and the risk of invisible set-off is almost zero." According to Steinemann, the machine achieves direct cost savings in the region of 20 to 30%, giving the print finishers a decisive competitive advantage. The adhesive used in the machine is solvent-free which makes it further environmental friendly.  

Low cost lamination
The market is dominated by the water-based laminating method, where a dispersion adhesive is applied to the film and partially dried before the actual laminating operation. However, there are limits to the achievable speed in back lamination, because substantial quantities of dispersion adhesive are applied. This automatically results in a high energy input for drying.

The low-cost alternative is lamination with PUR adhesive. Although the cost of the PUR adhesive is roughly 75% higher than dispersion adhesive, solvent-free lamination with PUR adhesives cut the adhesive costs by half, as the result of the smaller quantities required. In addition, the method offers better performance and further savings resulting from the lower energy input which is approximately 65% lesser than with water-based lamination.

The sheets are transported absolutely straight on the Lotus SF, and the contact pressure during the actual laminating operation is also much lower than on water-based laminating machines. This permits new applications that can only be realised with difficulty by the classical sheet laminating process. In addition to kraft board with a thickness of 2 mm, corrugated F and E-flute board can also be laminated with metallised films.

Companies like Novacoat, Henkel offer food compatible PUR adhesives. During the production, the potential emission levels of these PUR adhesives are very low owing to the low processing temperature of the Lotus SF laminator. Hence these adhesive are suitable for the production of food packaging.

India is one of the key growing markets for packaging products and high-end laminating and offline varnishing machines continue to have major potential, especially in the packaging segment.
Agarwal concludes, "The manufacturers of food packaging and primary packaging can make particularly good use of the potential of the Steinemann Lotus SF for cutting costs and expanding the range of applications especially when the demand is growing."



Minimum sheet size 22 x 30 cm / 8.6" x 11.9"
Maximum sheet size 102 x 142 cm / 40.1" x 55.9"
Maximum production 11’000/h
Working speed up to 100 meters / minute
Sheet weight 100 - 600 g/m2 (70 lbs - 30 pt.)
Adhesive application 1.8 - 4.0 g/m2
Maximum film diameter 400 mm / 15.7"
Required power (400V) 35kW / 42 kVA / 60Amp
Average power consumption 28kW / 40 Amp

SRK Technology
Rajesh Agarwal
+91 98110 54748


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