Industry expert Mike Fairley takes a look at what visitors to the Gulf Print & Pack 2011 expo can expect to see.
The printing and construction of packaging is one of the most complex sectors of the print industry, with its wide range of materials, from paper and board, to plastics, laminates, metallic foils. It uses all the major printing process from flexo and offset to gravure, hot and cold foiling and, today, even digital printing, and it has some of the most demanding quality, performance and environmental requirements to contend with too.
If you add all the special finishing, coating, cutting, forming, erecting, filling and sealing operations that may be required to produced the complete, filled, pack, it is easy to see why the package printer needs to keep up-to-date with everything that’s new, including the latest legislation and testing requirements.
So, what better place for printers, converters and packers in the Middle East to go to see and discuss everything that’s new and exciting, than Gulf Print & Pack 2011, which takes place on March 14 – 17 in Dubai.
Certainly, for film producer Innovia Films, the show provides and excellent opportunity to show printers, converters and brand owners the latest transparent, metalized and colored films that regularly become part of some of the world’s best known brands – from confectionary to perfume, cheese, biscuits, tea, shampoo, tobacco and soft drinks. Innovia can even offer its award-winning, compostable, cellulose-based film, NatureFlex as a genuine ‘green’ alternative.
Moving on from film, the Eltete Group will reveal a replacement for the traditional media board, used for cartons, media and signage. This 100 per cent recyclable D-Board product is a printable lightweight carton board.
In printing, Spanish manufacturer Comexi has its new high performance flexo press, which utilises EB flexo technology and eliminates photo-initiators. The F4 FLEXOEfficiency press is a new way of flexo printing that makes short run work more efficient, and offers an entry into the label market for new converters.
Package and plastics printers seeking superior printing results from their presses might wish to view and discuss the latest high definition corona treatment systems that provide premium results on conductive and non-conductive packaging materials. The Enercon H System claims to create higher dyne levels, superior print adhesion and a larger operating window than ordinary corona systems. It has specially constructed ceramic electrodes that have been optimized for use with a proprietary ceramic blend roll covering.
Also presenting equipment for enhancing package printing quality standards is Eltex Electrostatic GmbH. The company’s ESA GNH61 electrostatic printing assist systems for upgrading gravure presses means and end to missing dots and offers an optimum ink transfer to flexible materials. The company’s ESA GNN75 core charging systems are enhanced with new technical features that include fully automatic adjustments, optimum printing results, regular color density and auto-recognition of paper or film.
Press performance enhancements and cost-savings for every application are being highlighted at the show by technotrans Middle East, with their latest dampening solution fine filtration systems for offset presses, whether sheet- or web-fed. Described as an ‘investment in savings’ their fine filtration unit beta.f has already proven itself with more than 70 installations since 2008 in the Middle East market. Reduce maintenance and chemical consumption result in a considerable reduction of operating costs and maximum machine availability.
If you are looking for package printing inks that suit almost all printing substrates – from polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, PVC, polyamide to paper, then a visit to the East Mediterranean for Printing Inks Company (EMPI) at GPP could be rewarding. Specialists in manufacturing high quality liquids inks, both solvent and water-based, for flexo and gravure packaging applications, the company has the flexibility to produce high concentrate inks which can also be used in ink dispensing systems.
For all packaging and label printers interested in improving the work environment and productivity, GeconomiX will show how print producers can optimize their production. One of the highlights at this year’s GPP will be the company’s waste collection system that handles paper, carton, adhesive and other waste, ensuring that no dirt, paper particles or dust is created inside the printing factory. For food producers, this means a perfectly clean environment.
GeconomiX will also present a die-cutter stripping device that reduces labour, time, and operating costs, and provides a cleaner working environment. Air proof cabinets ensure machinery is protected from dust and dirt, which reduces maintenance, gives higher print quality, and prolongs the press’ working life. The cabinets also minimize noise pollution during the production process to improve the working environment.
But it is not just press efficiency and performance that are highlighted at this year’s show. Pre-press and plate-making advances are also to the fore. The Kodak Trendsetter NX Imager for example, is said to offer exceptional productivity and consistency, outstanding image technology, semi-automatic operation, process stability and easy maintenance, as well as a wide tonal range for flexo printing. The system allows packaging printers to produce high-quality results to differentiate their products, using digital flexo plate images that eliminate drop-off of highlights and providing exceptional printing results.
Also shown is the Kodak Prinergy Powerpack workflow system that delivers the specialised packaging pre-press tools needed to build and pre-flight packaging files, as well as including a job management feature to track jobs from receipt of files, through proofing, approval and platemaking.
Lightweight gravure cylinders and the high quality rotogravure cylinder engraving required by package printers can be found on the Kroma booth at the show, while Technomec will be presenting ready to engrave polished copper cylinders, shafted steel cylinders, copper-plated cylinders and shafted copper cylinders.
With continuing pressure on package printers to improve quality and performance it is interesting to see some exhibitors at GPP showing the latest in inspection and measuring equipment. Unilux are presenting LED inspection lights that provide package printers and converters with the capability to see more details and at the same time offer cost-efficiency. This is achieved by using LED stroboscopic inspection lights that have a softer light that avoids harsh reflections from foils, metalized substrates and highly reflective coatings on high-speed lines. The LED lamps use about half the power of traditional strobe lights and have a longer lamp life for lower operating costs over the life of the lamp.
For package printers that need to measure the densities and color values of processes and spot-colors, German manufacturer Techkon GmbH are presenting the SpectroJet, a ‘spectrophotometer on wheels’ that revolutionises automatic color measurement on any color control bar for any printing process. The device is simply guided by hand along color test patches.
Accurate, spectral measured data is sent to the PC software ExPresso to display all relevant information for controlling the printing press. Ink zone specific density information and recommendations enable the press to be set ‘in-color’ very quickly. This saves paper waste and ensures high print quality. The unique feature of the system is its flexibility to be used with any press type and format.
What seems certain is that Gulf Print & Pack 2011 will have much to offer those packaging printers and users that are looking for higher quality and performance, to streamline their operations, to achieve efficiency savings, to reduce waste, and to manage their businesses better.
Don’t miss out!