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03/29/2019

That's how fast modern flexo printing can be

On 27. and 28. March, machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) hosted visitors to the open house "Experience the Future of Flexo". More than 500 visitors from around the globe attended demonstrations showing how fast and optimized printing processes can be today: Just 3 hours after a group photo was taken, the image was produced on the new NOVOFLEX II at speeds of 600m/min. Job changes every 5 minutes demonstrated the efficiency of the W&H machines and intelligent automation systems for short runs.

The highlight of the Open House was the premiere of the NOVOFLEX II high-performance flexographic printing press, which can print the most challenging jobs at maximum speeds. W&H demonstrated the performance of the new system by switching between two images at a speed of 600 m/min. Both jobs were high line count graphics with particularly hard leading edges of plates. The first image was the group picture taken in the morning.

Speed in the overall process

The conversion from image to finished print in 3 hours was made possible by an optimized overall process. Partner KODAK FLEXCEL used the FLEXCEL NX Ultra solution to produce ready-to-print Ultra plates in less than one hour. The NOVOFLEX II with its clearly structured printing unit as well as automatic storage and sleeve ejection system enables a sleeve change in just a few minutes. The EASY automation modules ensure fast setting as well as impression setting and register setting in less than 90 seconds. "We wanted to demonstrate that flexo printing, with its high quality and proven process reliability with modern W&H machines and an optimized overall process, enables enormous flexibility and speed. The reactions of the guests showed: We were successful," summarizes Hermann Veismann, Head of the Printing Division at W&H.

Performance across the entire portfolio

The MIRAFLEX from W&H is the market’s best-selling press with more than 650 machines worldwide. At the Open House, W&H showed the MIRAFLEX II in two versions: The proven dual-port and a new compact single-port that requires less floor space. Thanks to the face-to-face winder configuration on the single-port, there is a central loading and unloading area for the winder, which shortens web and operator distances. In addition to a pure 4C process job, the single-port showed further developments in the fully-integrated VISION print monitoring system designed in-house by W&H. The audience was particularly interested in the unique Head-Up Display and the intelligent print defect classification. "The developments presented are part of our focus on PACKAGING 4.0: intelligent machines, intuitive operation and integrated processes," says Veismann.

CMYK color separation to multicolor separation

W&H also used the demonstration of the two MIRAFLEX II versions for a direct comparison of CMYK color separation with multicolor separation. While the single port printed in 4C, the dual port worked with a fixed 7C color palette. This direct system comparison showed the advantages and possibilities offered by the consistent use of an extended color gamut. In this context, the technical highlights in the areas of inking, inking unit design and drive technology of the W&H presses were clearly demonstrated.

Maximizing machine benefits through digital services

New digital technologies will facilitate customer support in the future. The Information and Diagnostics Center (IDC) demonstrated the use of digital data glasses during live troubleshooting: A customer who needs technical support puts on the headset with integrated camera and connects to an expert from the IDC. The expert sees everything the customer sees in real time and can help him quickly and easily. In the medium term, the digital services will be used in both service support and training. "With digital data glasses, we are bringing our experts even closer to our customers. This enables us to make our service even simpler, faster and more convenient for our customers," says Christian Brönstrup, head of the IDC.