Stratus Packaging Group, one of Europe’s leading label converters with 300 employees working in five production plants in France and a sales office in Switzerland, has reported cost and time savings after installing a Bobst M5 UV flexo machine and the press manufacturer’s DigiFlexo technology.
‘Before, it was taking a lot of time to change the plates and clean the ink tanks between each job printed with different pantones,’ explains Julien Chauveau, R&D manager at Stratus Packaging. ‘It was costing us, and therefore our customers, time and money that we were keen to save.’
The solution came in the shape of a Bobst M5 UV flexo machine which, with the help of Revo, ‘digitalizes’ the flexo printing and die-cutting process. Through a digital workflow, with integrated printing and converting technologies, the machine only generates 20 meters of waste and requires just one minute for each job change. The machine is equipped with the Excellence system for automated exchange of flexo print cylinders.
DigiFlexo, first brought to the market by Bobst at drupa 2016, provides consistent color matching and control, process repeatability and consistency, with quick job changes and minimum waste.
‘We already had an advanced workflow, which made the DigiFlexo solution a natural fit,’ says Julien Chauveau. ‘But now we have taken it to the next level. With only around 15 meters to automatically register up to eight colors between two jobs printed with Revo technology, we now have control and consistency at our fingertips at a very high production speed.’
Bobst established the Revo partnership, consisting of Apex International, AVT, Bobst, DuPont, Esko, Flint Group, Saica Flex, Stora Enso, UPM Raflatac and X-Rite Pantone, to optimize the digitalization of the complete production process.
One of its biggest successes has been around color consistency, which has been one of the main concerns of brand owners. Some substrates are more absorbent, which can affect how the color of the substrate itself interacts with the ink and affects the color. Different printing processes all using different types of inks and colorants.
The Revo 7-color Extended Color Gamut (ECG) is a DigiFlexo process that flows from pre-press through to production output. ECG printing uses three additional ink colors – orange, green and violet (OGV) – on top of the conventional colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), enabling a match with 90 percent plus of the Pantone book. This means there is no need to keep huge inventories of spot colors, but these can be added if required.
‘The machine allows us to print in multichromy in UV flexo,’ says Julien Chauveau. ‘This leads to reductions in ink costs. In addition, eliminating color matching reduces set-up times significantly. Overall with the Revo technology, we are able to optimize our production, with less change time for colors, less cleaning operation needed and fewer flexo plate changes. Consequently, we are able to optimize the cost to produce labels for our customers. By adjusting our printing processes, we have been able to open up new avenues for our company.’