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  • 15 Sep 2021

Apex International to launch FlexoKite in APAC

Apex International will host a virtual launch of its FlexoKite knowledge center in Nashik, India featuring guest speakers from leading flexo industry brands on October 5, 2021

Apex International will host a virtual launch of its FlexoKite knowledge center in Nashik, India featuring guest speakers from leading flexo industry brands on October 5, 2021.

The Knowledge Center is fully-equipped with latest equipment from Bobst Label, Esko, DuPont, Flint Group, and other FlexoKite collaborators. The Asia/Pacific-region Knowledge Center is the sister site to FlexoKite’s inaugural European Knowledge Center based at Apex International’s headquarters in Hapert, the Netherlands. The Knowledge Centers host the FlexoKite webinar series, attended by more than 2,000 globally about critical flexo topics since its inception in late 2020.  
 
FlexoKite’s APAC launch offers the flexo industry peek behind the problem-solving webinar series into the workshop of process improvement. While the webinar series is the public face of FlexoKite, its two Knowledge Centers are equipped with the latest in flexo technology to explore, test, and verify best flexo practices, new and old.  
 
FlexoKite helps converters solve and fine-tune current quality challenges while illuminating a path toward exploration, optimization, and innovation. 
 
‘These webinars bring to flexo one part Swiss army knife and one part crystal ball,’ explained Nick Harvey, technical director of Apex International. ‘Imagine having a tool to handle any glitch that comes along and the ability to peer into your future flexo. FlexoKite offers both by tackling real-world print challenges with an eye on building better workflows with existing and new technologies.’ 
 
FlexoKite’s Asia/Pacific facility boasts of a newly-installed 7-station Bobst M5 label press along with software and platemaking equipment from Esko and DuPont, thus enabling a design-to-delivery workflow that matches the production cycle of printers and converters. Troubleshooting, testing, and problem-solving for real-world flexo printing obstacles give FlexoKite attendees a scientific understanding of a given problem, detailed pathways to resolution, actual printed samples, and the ability to ask targeted questions — and receive detailed answers from presenters.  
 
‘By launching FlexoKite in a webinar format backed up by two modern flexo labs on separate continents, FlexoKite collaborators serve the widest possible audience — the local market and the global industry,’ Harvey noted.  
 
‘Our joint mission is to challenge conventional flexo workflow wisdom which often leads to wasteful, costly, and unsustainable workarounds for problems we can solve together through innovation, technology, and exploration.’ 
 
The complimentary launch on October 5 welcomes virtual attendees with a birds-eye view of FlexoKite, real-time and real-world problem-solving, and the keys to FlexoKite online resources.  
 
The key sessions include:   
  • Exploration of the FlexoKITE center technology offerings in Nashik 
  • ‘Ask Us Anything’ Q&A session with tech gurus from Esko, Bobst Label, Flint Ink, Apex, Tesa Tape, DuPont and Max Specialty Films 
  • Unlimited access to the FlexoKITE webinar resource library 
  • A live print demo on 'Anilox Volume Demystified: Will print density change after an engraved anilox roll is surface-polished to 0.3cm3/m2?' 
On the equipment side, FlexoKite has gathered collaborators including Bobst (label press), DuPont (plates), Apex International (anilox), Flint Ink (inks) and Esko (screen/software) to offer their expertise for the grand opening.  
 
On the consumables and supplies side, industry leaders including Avery Dennison (label substrate), Max (specialty films), Tesa (mounting tape), SwedCut (doctor blades), ESON (flexible dies), Numex Blocks (trade shop) and BM Printist (distributor) bring their unique production know-how to FlexoKite. 
 
During the FlexoKite webinar series in 2021, attendees requested the possibility of live print testing with real files. With software, platemaking, and press available on-site, FlexoKite collaborators are spinning up workflows to enable attendees to submit challenging designs for screening, plate, and print. Samples of print runs, or plates, can be shipped to printers or attendee locations.  
 
When attendees were polled, top concerns were opaque white ink printing, water-based ink foaming, press optimization, and maximizing quality on lower-end corrugated printing. FlexoKite gathered expert partners to problem-solve, and presented useful findings in the webinar series.  
 
Regardless of specific flexo market sector, the lessons revealed by FlexoKite exploration translate across press, ink, and substrate boundaries. For example, test results of various anilox engravings with water-based inks tracked with lacquer application for offset coatings and pointed to reduction in ink or lacquer consumption. 
 
‘With a growing list of FlexoKite collaborators, the usual nagging flexo pitfalls are now challenges ripe for resolution by FlexoKite,’ Harvey observed. 
 
‘The phrase “We’ve always done it this way” has reached its expiration date for flexo in these times when technology and innovation can pave a better path to a leaner, more sustainable production and growth.’ 
 
The two FlexoKite facilities are now operational.  
 
‘The “Kite” in FlexoKite is actually an acronym for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology, and Exploration. Our goal with FlexoKite is to give flexographers enough experiential string to fly their flexo as high as they choose to,’ Harvey explained. 

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