Germany-based flexible packaging supplier ACW-Film has installed a GSE Dispensing Colorsat Compact system, which is being used to safely dispense solvent flexo and gravure inks, and has helped it attain color consistency and reduce material waste.
Part of the Melitta Group, the company supplies the confectionery, meat and sausage and detergent packaging markets. Until the Colorsat Compact’s installation, ACW-Film’s pre-press staff mixed the colors manually. Because almost every job needed special colors, mixing involved excessive material waste and make-ready time, with inconsistent quality results.
Installed in October 2016, the Colorsat Compact ink dispenser serves ACW-Film’s three solvent ink presses – two CI flexo, one gravure – that convert films, top-films and bags. It has automated the mixing process and ensured accurate, repeatable color, on-demand.
Dispensing to an accuracy of 1g per component, the Compact meets the most demanding color targets, with a 20kg recipe typically dispensed within two-and-a-half minutes. The dispenser also enables easy reuse of inks returned from the press, better stock management and a cleaner ink kitchen, and also saves recipe details for fast recall of repeat jobs. Set-up times are reduced, ink yields are improved and delays from inaccurate color have been eliminated, while the dispenser also simplifies logistics, reducing the number of ACW-Film’s components from more than 50 to 34.
Markus Wielens, managing director of ACW-Film, commented: ‘While exact savings haven’t been finally calculated, due to the short period we’ve been using the Colorsat Compact, we are projecting a 50 percent reduction in ink waste. Moreover, we are also seeing a huge reduction in material waste, and we have gained valuable press time.’
The dispenser’s ink management software, developed by GSE, brings ACW additional benefits, besides precisely calculating each ink component’s weight as it also provides recipe data and ink costs per job, traces ingredients through the supply chain and stores complete batch information for each job.
ACW-Film’s Colorsat Compact includes a unique, IECEx1-certified explosion-proof safety feature. A grounding wire is clamped to the Compact’s ink barrels that hold base components and are in turn connected to the dispense head. The wire is also fixed to the ground, thereby conducting static electricity and preventing sparking that can lead to explosions. An alarm light alerts operators if the ground wire is not properly connected to the ink barrel.
‘Working with solvents means you always have to be vigilant,’ said Wielens. ‘The German government has strict rules which we follow, and we see GSE Dispensing’s solution not just as productive, but as a way of ensuring our employees’ utmost safety.’