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Etirama expands global footprint with new press

Etirama expands global footprint with new press

Etirama, the Brazil-based manufacturer of narrow web flexo presses, unveiled its new SPS2 flexo press in January 2021. The company has already sold ten units of the new machine in Latin America and the Middle East before its official launch, with the latter considered a market of high potential for the press. 

According to the company, the new model is the result of intense technological development since August 2019. The press was built using the Be Easy platform developed by Etirama to standardize internal processes and implement a lean manufacturing system. 

The Etirama SPS2 press is built around a shaftless transmission system using Schneider servo motors, with servo-driven synchronized infeed and outfeed. The press has options for manual or electronic printing register adjustment with an HMI touch screen panel. A quick change anilox and pre-positioning on the plate cylinder help reduce makeready times, along with a powered integrated roll lift. 

The press offers cold stamping, silkscreen printing and lamination capabilities and runs at the maximum speed of 150m/min. 

Ronnie Schroter, CEO of Etirama, says a key strength of the press is its price point. ‘It is approximately half the price of its European competitors, which means that customers can have a high-tech product with very high performance, and most importantly, earning money with a quick return on investment.’

The manufacturer reports that owing to the high expectations generated by the press, the market reacted earlier than expected. The company bagged ten sales orders of the press from the Middle East and Latin America while the machine was still being manufactured.

Etirama claims to own 38 percent of the flexo label press market in Latin America and is now focused on broadening its global reach. The company appointed a new commercial agent for the Middle East region, Afra International, in 2020. A new Etirama unit has been set up in Barcelona, Spain, complete with showroom, sales and after-sales services. 

Originally, the SPS2 press was due to be launched at Labelexpo Americas in September 2020. But with the spread of Covid-19, the company had to postpone the launch. The time gained during the pandemic was used to improve the press further and add cost reduction features, says Schroter.

‘Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hindered our plans and we had some delays, especially due to the difficulty in visiting new markets and strengthening our presence in some countries through exhibitions and events.’ He adds that the new machine was supposed to be installed at Afra’s showroom in 2020 but is now delayed till the first half of 2021.

With the pandemic restricting movement across the globe, the after-sales services of the company were restructured to include online remote support. The Superprint flexo label press, the predecessor of the SPS2, has more than 200 installations across the globe. 

Middle East and Africa
Schroter says that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is ‘very important’ for the company and that there are several potential customers for Etirama machines in the region.

The company’s newly appointed MEA partner, Afra International, was established in 1995 and currently has more than 11,000 installations of printing, finishing and packaging equipment throughout the Middle East and east and west Africa. Headquartered in Dubai, the company expanded its business to East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast from 2008 onwards. The company is also a distributor for UK press manufacturer Edale in the region. 

Afra began with a focus on commercial offset printing but has been eyeing the label industry since 2015. The company has been supplying flexo presses since 2003 but the applications were limited to printing on paper and board. In 2015, Afra constituted its Flexo Printpack division – a dedicated arm for narrow web, label and flexible packaging products.

‘Since 2019, we have been looking for good manufacturers of narrow web machines,’ says Vinay Krishnan, director of Afra International. ‘We found Etirama and they were also transforming at the time. I visited their plant in Brazil at the beginning of 2020 and saw their plans and the Afra team was convinced of the strength and capability of Etirama’s machines and the company’s integrity. We were very keen on their Be Easy platform and the SPS2 flexo press. The servo-driven press is very affordable and does not compromise on print quality and technology.’

According to Krishnan, Etirama has a good understanding of the label industry and is agile with the requirements of its customers. Afra’s current focus is Etirama’s narrow web press for thin substrates. The company provides Edale presses for printing on substrates of thicknesses greater than 600 micron.

‘The press will be installed in our showroom in Dubai for demo purposes. We are also going to do roadshows, demos and open houses as well,’ Krishnan adds. 

Afra already has four sale prospects ‘ready to go’ in the MEA region. ‘They are waiting for the machine to arrive and see it live. They cannot go to Brazil. In fact, Etirama Europe does not have the SPS2 press either. It has the Superprint,’ he says. 

Afra plans to present the Etirama SPS2 press to customers at an open house event scheduled for late May or early June (the date has not yet been set). The new machine will also be presented in São Paulo and Dubai in May 2021 and at Labelexpo Europe.