Miller Graphics Group, an image processing specialist for the packaging industry, has invested in the Kodak Flexcel Direct System for its plant in Limoges, France. The company signed the deal at Drupa 2012, and became the first pre-press company in Europe to invest in the technology.
Miller Graphics Group has 380 employees operating in thirteen sites across Europe, and generates a turnover of 45 million euros. Its customer base comprises packaging printers which use flexo technology to print paperboard boxes, flexible packaging, notebooks, kitchen paper, labels and more.
Miller Graphics France operates from three sites – Limoges (Limousin), Beauvais (Oise) and Avignon (Vaucluse) – and is the only pre-press company in the country to manufacture and directly engrave elastomer sleeves for flexo printing. Miller Graphics France has a 140-strong staff and generates a turnover of 16 million euros.
Hubert Sampré, managing director at Miller Graphics, said: ‘We spotted the Flexcel Direct System at Drupa 2008 and were impressed by its laser diode technology. We had the privilege of being chosen by Kodak to test the machine, due to our experience of engraving ITR (cylindrically shaped) sleeves for flexo printing. We’ve been testing the Flexcel Direct System at our Limoges plant for six months. We’re very happy with the very positive feedback from our customers, so we decided to make our purchase official at Drupa 2012.’
The Flexcel Direct System is claimed to simplify the sleeve manufacturing process, eliminate variations inherent in traditional flexo processes, remove the need for harsh solvents and be suited to all forms of printing.
‘The elastomer sleeves are ready to use, which helps boost production speed by around 50 percent,’ added Sampré. ‘Direct engraving removes the need for solvents and uses a powerful filter to neutralize particulates, making it a very environmentally-friendly flexo system. We also like the fact the high power laser system is energy-efficient, ergonomic and simple to operate.
‘This engraver together with the dedicated Kodak Sleeves produces a level of sharpness that we’d not previously seen. The print quality produced with the Flexcel Direct System is equivalent to the best that can be achieved with digital flexo plates.’
Pictured l-r: Hubert Sampré, Miller Graphics ; Philippe Desange, Kodak ; Claude Vriet, Miller Graphics ; Philippe Coulonnier, Miller Graphics