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Folding Carton Printers see the necessity of the Camis principle.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

As exclusive distributors for the Camis range of flexographic plate mounting and proofing machinery, we are pleased to report some excellent success in both the folding cartons and flexible packaging industry.

The Camis Iriflex and Irisleeve machines are designed to remove the manual applications in the plate mounting process and hence improve the goal of attaining a standardised set of cylinders or sleeves all year round for each single colour and job, a feat which the company says has only been achieved until now with ‘in the round’ laser engraved sleeves.

“When your fully automated production line comprises of a 1900mm wide, 10 colour gearless press, unwinding 2000mm diameter reels of carton board, at up to 600 mtrs per minute, subsequently running in line through to an expensive rotary die cutter, various folders, gluers, stacking and turning lines together with over 300 meters of conveying systems with the printed product finally ending up at the Pick and place palletising system, all controlled by up to 20 skilled and highly paid operators, You just can’t afford to stop the line due to the plates.” Comments Export sales Director Mike Attard

Mike continues “When the flexographic process chain is controlled either electronically, from the artwork through to the plate, or mechanically on the press, many seasoned flexographers are starting to realise that the only weak links in the whole process chain is the variation in materials used and that of the manual application of both the tape and the plate on to the sleeve or cylinder. “

Elaborating on this point Mike says that their clients are finding that they are fundamentally leaving the whole flexographic process to chance by manually sticking down the tape and the plate. Clients have been asking themselves “How can we achieve a standard with manual operations?” The application of the tape is manual, Is the tape applied with creasing, air bubbles, stretching, which can all lead to calliper variation? The bond strength of the tape is never even around the sleeve when the tape and plate is applied manually and hence you can get slight millemetric variations in impression, subsequently leading to squash and/or light impression and a less than perfect print quality.

Mr. Attard says that applying the tape to the cylinder or sleeve by hand is often accompanied by lifting the tape up at the corners in order to bring one edge closer to the other for closer butt joins. This not only creates creasing but can also introduce air bubbles and over stretching. This in turn creates a negative impact on the flexo process. Clients are finding a direct relationship between calliper variations in the tape and plate application & the impressions settings required to print effectively.

Mike Attard adds, “We have seen many new CNC gearless presses which are unable to use the complex pressure setting equipment because even though some can identify the impression point of each individual sleeve and store that data on to a chip for quick press setting, manually applying the tape and plate by hand can prevent these sleeves from achieving a tight TIR (total indicated runout) and hence leaving the expensive pressure setting systems unused, leading to wasted film, ink, solvents, electric and press time.”

Mike has also seen that since most flexographers now produce plates in house, the demand for an actual wet proof of the mounted plates has dropped considerably, which in turn is having an adverse effect on print quality due to the fact that the tape and plate application issues are not seen until we are on press! He says that most clients are under the assumption, be it right or wrong, that because they control their own plate production that everything should be OK and press ready. Again Mike stresses that this rarely is the case with manual applications for everything to be press ready.

This is where the Camis range of flexo plate mounting machines (Iriflex for Cylinder and Sleeves and the Irisleeve for sleeves only) have been extremely successful in assisting a large percentage of American users of these complex and massive carton board production lines.

The Camis Taper Slide tape application system removes the manual application of the tape to the cylinder or sleeve, applying the tape via a motorized system thus producing a repeatable and consistent quality, time and time again, for each series of cylinders or sleeves. This means that the tape is perfectly applied without air bubbles, creases and stretching. The tape is applied perfectly butt to butt, across and around the cylinder, drastically reducing the use and overall cost of the expensive adhesive. The Taper-Slide can be fitted to all New Camis Plate mounting machines, but when used together with the Camis plate pressure roller the system removes the two fundamental Achilles heal from the whole flexographic process chain. This means that the printer finally has a set of cylinders or sleeves which all conform to the same standard, all year round.

The realisation that manual operations in the plate mounting process is adversely effecting quality and up time are just some of the reasons why a large number of prominent international folding carton manufacturers have now entrusted their plate mounting requirements to the Camis plate mounter and Taper Slide system.

So why has the US folding carton industry been so quick to adopt the Camis machine and its approach? “Perhaps it’s the fact that these large integrated lines have up to 20 people working on them and that the Production Managers really feel the pinch when the press is stopped.” Answers Mike. “In flexible packaging you may have a maximum of 3 guys on the press and therefore the costs of downtime aren’t as prominent or initially noticeable? All I know for certain is that when I speak with these clients they are extremely relieved to have our machine in their facilities.”

“Testament to this is that every single one of our folding carton clients massive production lines are all achieving higher running speeds, increased up time and greater print quality which has been attributed to the complete “plate and tape” mounting solution offered by the Camis machines.” adds Mike.

Indeed Eurograv report that one major folding carton printer reported a 50% increase in uptime on their older cylinder press following installation of their Camis Iriflex with Taper Slide. “They now have a second Camis machine installed.” Mike says.

“We designed the machine as flexographers. We cannot see any way to and nor do we wish to remove the plate mounting operator. He always has to make the final call, but what we have done is assist these operators in their duties whereby they are no longer the first port of call when a problem on the press occurs.” Mike says that adding a PC to a mounter, auto focus, or colour cameras and monitors do absolutely nothing to improve the process, “You need to actually understand the process before you can offer a fully ergonomic bone fide solution.”

Mike also reports similar success in the flexible packaging field with R&R Flexo of Norwich amongst the first of several clients to recently install the new Camis Irisleeve 1304 Four Camera machine. “This is a slight deviation from our normal machine philosophy” Comments Mike Attard, “but our client really wanted Four Cameras with a plate mounting table and a plate lay down roller and although there are ‘other’ multi camera systems on the market R&R came to us for a complete solution.” Camis engineered their existing Irisleeve machine to accept Four Cameras with 2 split screen monitors as well as the plate mounting table and roller. “We devised our own pre-Angled Camera System which removed the issues and time needed to angle the centre cameras to allow for very tight grips.” R&R installed the Camis Irisleeve 1304 alongside a brand new Uteco 8 Colour Onyx in a brand new factory.

As an example of the direct consequence of purchasing the right plate mounter he advises that a very experienced flexible packaging client in Southern US, with over 50 years of flexographic printing experience, using a multitude of F&K presses reported a payback of the Camis Iriflex 1513 with a 960mm wide Taper Slide in less than six months! A fact that seems even more amazing considering that the client had 6 other modern plate mounting machines from all the major players already in his facility. “Again it’s the same issue as in the folding carton field. Clients now produce their own plates, they deem wet proofing unnecessary, yet we still see these clients’ manually applying tape and the plate with the results only seen when the job has gone to press.” Mike Attard concludes “You can control your plate production, you can control your inks, your anilox, you can have every single quality control audit performed but you can’t control the application of the tape and plate if it’s done by hand. Isn’t it about time we removed all the manual processes from flexo?