Fujifilm’s solutions for labels and packaging

Flenex FW is a high quality, water-washable flexo plate allowing label converters to improve the simplicity and efficiency of flexo plate production. With this, Fujifilm is in an excellent position to offer high quality solutions for sample and prototype making, along with shorter run label and packaging production applications. The Indian print market has evolved significantly over the last 10 years, both in terms of customer demand and available print technologies. While downward trends have been common for many commercial print applications, printed labels and packaging continue to see growth. From a brand owner perspective, the drive is to improve product visibility and shelf appeal in stores, while minimising operational costs and maximising production efficiencies. For label converters, this demand is driving the adoption of new technologies, particularly in the flexo process, the predominant technology in Europe for label conversion.

Fujifilm’s expertise in the label and packaging market is diverse, with the company already a major supplier of aluminium plates to offset packaging printers and UV ink to narrow web label converters. The company’s infrastructure is therefore built around offering exceptional service for critical consumables purchases. For label converters in particular, Fujifilm offers a comprehensive range of inks and associated products under the brand name ‘Sericol UVivid’ that is designed to maximise throughput and simplify label production. Whether it is simplifying the process of colour matching or reducing the cost of a more expensive production method, the right ink can have a major impact on the printing of a high quality label. And with a high density white ink within the Sericol UVivid range, Fujifilm is well placed to add value to any label production process.

Fujifilm’s high quality, water-washable flexo plate allows label converters to improve the simplicity and efficiency of flexo plate production. In addition, Fujifilm’s emerging inkjet portfolio means the company is also in an excellent position to offer high quality solutions for sample and prototype making, along with shorter run label and packaging production applications.

Flenex FW water-washable plates

Flenex FW is a water-washable flexo plate that provides the highest print quality and productivity, while significantly lowering the cost-in-use compared to thermal, solvent or other water-wash plate technologies. The key benefits of Flenex FW water-washable plates are:

  • Total platemaking time under 40 minutes.
  • Highest flexo quality (200lpi, 1% process dot), depending on the conditions.
  • More output per shift for class-leading productivity.

SM RamprasadSM Ramprasad, AVP – Graphics Arts Division, Fujifilm India, says, “We strive to understand our customer’s business goals, both short and long term, focus on their needs, and then provide the most Fujifilm solutions that will add value to their business. Flenex FW are water-washable plates that answer the call of efficiency. This product not only addresses quality needs of the customer but also facilitates immense resource saving for a converter compared to thermal, solvent, or other water-wash technology.”

Technology overview: Flenex FW photopolymer plates contain a special rubber-based compound that offers a number of inherent advantages over other elastomeric materials from which most other flexo plates are made. In particular, rubber is not oxygen sensitive, which minimises the effect oxygen in the air, has on the dot shape and the complexity of the system to eliminate oxygen from the plate production process. The other advantages of a rubber-based plate material include reduced dot gain, better ink transfer for cleaner and brighter print results, faster exposure and washout times, much more durable, mild washout with water and dishwasher soap and reduced plate swell.

Compatibility: Flenex FW plates are compatible with leading Flexo LAM CtP devices such as Screen PlateRite FX, Esko CDI and Xeikon ThermoflexX Series as well as with the main water wash processors in the industry. Both the analogue and digital versions of Flenex FW can be used with any UV, water-based or solvent-based inks.

High quality print: The Flenex FW water-washable plate system does far more than simply eliminate the need for solvents and wicking cloths. It delivers longer runs while producing a consistent 200lpi at 4,400dpi, 1% process dot structure for superb high quality print, depending on the conditions.

Flat top dot structure: The rubber-based compound means a 1% flat top dot can be achieved without complex systems to eliminate oxygen, and results in lower dot gain. In addition, better ink transfer produces noticeably cleaner and brighter print results.

Higher productivity: Flenex FW water-washable plates reduce platemaking processing times to less than 40 minutes, 300% faster than leading solvent systems and 1.5 times faster than current thermal and water-wash technologies. Faster platemaking means more time on press and a dramatic increase in output per shift, freeing you to redeploy labour to more value-added activities. Typical benefits include increase in number of plates produced, faster job turnaround, maximise press time and lower labour costs or opportunity to redeploy.

Lower cost-in-use: Because of the simplicity of Flenex FW plate processing, the expense of higher-cost solvent and thermal processors as well as upcharges on associated consumables is avoided. The Flenex FW system therefore represents the lowest cost in use for the production of flexo plates.

More durable: Flenex FW is proven to deliver significant improvements in plate durability and reductions in plate swell, thanks to its unique technology. This means each plate is able to perform longer on press than competitive plates. This increases overall press uptime and results in longer print runs and greater overall profitability.

Less impact on the environment: The processing of Flenex FW plates is accomplished with only a mild detergent. Not working with solvents is a huge benefit from a health and safety perspective.

Kodak to gain milestone flexo growth in Weatherford, Oklahoma

Kodak recenlty hosted customers and community leaders at a groundbreaking ceremony in Weatherford, Oklahoma to celebrate the expansion of its manufacturing facility in the region to accommodate a new flexo plate line for the production of Kodak Flexcel NX Plates. The ceremony and associated celebrations featured a ribbon cutting by Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and remarks by flexographic packaging division president Chris Payne and Kodak customers.

The theme of the event centered on regeneration and the revitalization and investment of the Weatherford plant in its 50th anniversary year, which was chosen for its strong technical capabilities and existing skilled tenured workforce. The new flexo plate manufacturing line, a sister operation to Kodak’s existing plate manufacturing facility in Yamanashi, Japan, is designed to meet increasing industry demand for higher quality flexographic printed packaging with more cost effective and efficient production processes. The $15 million investment represents one of the company’s largest capital investments since 2000 and underscores the ongoing growth and adoption of KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates that grew 16 percent in 2016 compared to the prior year, a rate four times the projected growth rate of the flexible packaging market itself, according to Smithers Pira.

The new flexo plate line is expected to be in full production by early 2019 and will initially focus on supply of Flexcel NX Plates to customers in the Unites States, Canada and Latin America.

Schobertechnologies to display high-speed, variable web-fed converting technology

At Labelexpo Europe (September 25-28, 2017, Brussels, Belgium), Schobertechnologies will display RSM-DIGI-VARICUT, a new generation of hybrid drive technology especially designed for digitally printed flexible packaging materials, which combines continuous and vector rotary die cutting technology in re-registration mode, so that a wide range of formats can be processed with a single tool. With a fully modular design, the RSM-DIGI-VARICUT is designed to convert web width up to 850 mm, and with repeat or format length of up to 1220 mm.

The standard configuration of the RSM-DIGI-VARICUT includes a high speed, programmable robot-automated stacking and counting system (“Spider”) which combines extreme acceleration, velocity and precision at a continuous web speed of up to 50 m/min.

The equipment is designed to stack different types of products combined within the same printing image. These can be heavily nested or can be a combination of very large/long and small products. Product specific fast interchangeable pick-up plates take up products at synchronized high speed and stack them non-stop into a dual piling cassette system. A 100% product inspection system with defective product discharge is also available.

Short set-up times with minimum waste and cost-effective cutting technology with maximum lifetime due to micrometric die wear compensation adjustment are additional significant benefits of this converting technology.

Additional technologies to be highlighted at the show include die cutting, sealing/embossing, punching, cut & place, scoring/grooving, gluing/bonding, cutting, collating and product delivery.

A large selection of consumable inventory such as round, square and profile punches and dies, crimp punches and dies, circular knives, perforating and cutting wheels and blades, as well as quick change clamping bars will also be shown on the booth.

HP unleashes breakthrough pack ready lamination solution for flexible packaging

At interpack 2017, HP Inc. announced commercial availability of HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination, allowing immediate time-to-market for flexible packaging. A pioneering technology, Pack Ready lamination creates high-quality, high-performance laminates for HP Indigo digitally printed flexible packaging without the use of adhesives.

HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination is designed for HP Indigo flexible packaging digital printing on the HP Indigo 20000, 8000 and WS6800 digital presses. It provides strong laminate bond strength with zero curing time for immediate pouch converting, opening new opportunities for digitally printed flexible packaging.

Developed and patented by HP, Pack Ready Lamination was first previewed at drupa 2016 as a proof-of-concept design, and fast-tracked into a fully developed commercial solution based on positive partner feedback and demand. The solution includes the HP Indigo Pack Ready Laminator and Pack Ready Film.

HP Inc. also announced the commercial model of the Pack Ready Laminator, optimized for the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press. Now commercially designed, it will be manufactured and supplied by Karlville. Customer beta testing of the laminator is scheduled for this summer. First units are to ship by the end of the year.

HP Indigo Pack Ready Coating is another solution in the HP Indigo Pack Ready ecosystem. HP customers in Europe, including Swiss flexible packaging converter O KLEINER AG that recently installed a second HP Indigo 20000 digital press, are using the post-print coating solution for high-performance applications in the marketplace such as retort pouches. Commercially released in November 2016, the solution is now extended to support microwavable clear retort pouches.

Besides, HP announced that the upcoming HP PageWide C500 Press would deliver a mainstream production capacity of up to 25 million square meters of boards annually, powered by proven HP PageWide Thermal Inkjet technology. Announced at drupa 2016, customer beta testing is scheduled to begin at the end of the year, with commercial availability in 2018.

HP digital printing technologies enable powerful brand campaigns

At interpack 2017, HP Inc. announced continued adoption of its industry-leading solutions for product campaigns by leading brands worldwide, as well as new tools designed to help brands unleash the power of HP digital printing.

“Brands are discovering that HP can help reinvent the way they engage their audiences and the experiences created for them,” said Nancy Janes, global head of Brand Innovation at HP Inc. “HP’s industry-leading labels and packaging solutions enable converters to offer brands the solutions they need to grow their businesses and raise their profiles.”

HP digital printing and powerful software solutions make it possible for brands to connect with customers in unique and creative ways, and also benefit from time-to-market and streamlined business operations. Ongoing successful brand campaigns printed on HP digital presses include Amarula, the South African producer of cream liqueur, which is now releasing a special edition of 400,000 bottles with individualized elephant icons to raise global awareness for the same remaining number of the endangered African species. The production of the one-of-a-kind designed elephant icons and names on labels was made possible by HP SmartStream Mosaic, using two seed patterns in a variable design software algorithm, and the HP Indigo WS6800 Digital Press.

While, Nestle is printing and giving away more than 56,000 personalized Kit Kat packages in a campaign, produced by UK-based HP Indigo customer Ultimate Packaging. Using Ultimate’s web-to-print capabilities, winners can personalize the chocolate packages with a photo or phrase on the Kit Kat pack, which they receive in a special presentation box. The flexible packaging packs are printed on the HP Indigo 20000 and HP Indigo WS6600 digital presses.

Besides, Melinda Apples of Italy is using social media and digital print for a campaign to support Italian apple farmers affected by the earthquake in 2016. The apple company launched the “Dedicamela” (Pledge an Apple) campaign, inviting comments on its Facebook page to encourage the afflicted farmers. The uplifting messages are integrated into the design of the corrugated boxes, and printed on an HP PageWide T1100 Press by converter Ghelfi Ondaluti. Two million cartons have been printed thus far, and another six million are slated for production. Melinda donates a euro for every message; in the first two weeks of the campaign 22,977 comments were received.

To facilitate the shift to HP digital printing, HP is also offering two new tools: the HP Agency and Designer Tool Kit and HP Brand Managers Digital Packaging Return on Investment (ROI) Calculator. The HP Agency and Designer Tool Kit offers open source training materials, enabling creatives to unleash the true potential of HP digital printing technologies. The package will be available this summer.

HP is also offering a simple-to-use tool for brand managers to calculate the ROI of various HP digitally printed packaging (labels, shrink sleeves, corrugated, folding carton and flexible packaging) compared to current conventionally printed packaging costs.

Group Publications