Contiweb, a printing, drying and web handling specialist held an open day showcasing its Thallo press to meet the growing global interest in web offset printing for flexible packaging and label production.
'We have more than 100 machines installed globally, offset is therefore a proven technology for flexible packaging,’ said Rutger Jansen, CEO of Contiweb in his opening speech.
Jansen said Contiweb already dominates the global market for web offset dryer-splicer equipment and is aiming to increase its share of the web offset package printing industry.
Sean Smith, market analyst and author, shed some light on market developments and argued that despite being in the early stages of adoption web offset has several compelling arguments for its success in flexible packaging.
‘Brands demand shorter runs, less inventory, smaller quantities, higher quality and faster turnarounds,’ said Smith. ‘Brands do not understand the concept of minimum quantities and expect more flexibility with competitive pricing. Litho technology, thanks to aluminum plates, allows considerable time savings for converters. They are developed in a single step, take a few minutes to expose and are simply process free.'
According to Jan Willem Nota, technical sales manager at Contiweb, packaging converters continue to face several key challenges, such as ever-present squeezing of profit margins at the hands of short run lengths, together with environmental legislation aimed at reducing their carbon footprint.
‘Web offset printing provides a viable solution to overcome these pain points,’ said Nota. ‘With the capability to set up a new job within minutes, the Contiweb Thallo dramatically slashes time-consuming changeovers and is engineered to produce short runs quickly and profitably. Beyond this, the solvent-free inks ensure that the print provider’s carbon footprint is kept to a minimum.’
The attendees had a chance to see the Thallo press in live demonstrations including sleeve preparation, fast job change-over from 24in web, 30-micron BOPP film printed with seven colors to 20in opaque white, 38-micron BOPP film printed with six colors.
‘One of the unique features is our web reverse function. When the operator presses the stop button, the web moves through the curing station. The web then automatically runs backwards to make sure that when we start up the press, we have reduced some of changeover waste. On average, this reduces 30 meters of start-up waste each time the operator stops the press,’ said Remko Koolbergen, CEO of DG Press Services, which co-built Thallo press with Contiweb.
‘The other big advantage of offset printing is the ability to produce plates in-house at very low cost. They can be produced within minutes at a cost less than 10 EUR (11 USD). This means that you do not need to charge plate cost for design changes to your customers,’ concluded Koolbergen.
Contiweb has also opened a demonstration centre at its headquarters in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, where potential customers are able to see full press comprising seven UV offset units and one flexo unit for solvent- or water-based and UV inks.
‘We want to ensure that prospects can conduct their own tests or trial runs to assess the speed and print quality achievable with the Thallo,’ added Nota. ‘We are confident that they will appreciate the multitude of business benefits, not least of which is the ability to increase throughput and exceed customer expectations with shorter job turnaround times.’