The installation of a Gallus ECS 340, also known as the "granite press" or "rock press," at Kimoha Entrepreneurs Ltd in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, south of Dubai, brings to 23 the number of Gallus narrow web label presses installed in the Middle East, where the Swiss manufacturer is represented by Heidelberg ME. It was also the first of its type in the region, according to Kimoha’s Managing Director, Vinesh Bhimani, who prides himself and his company on a development philosophy built around new technology.
Kimoha, a family business, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and from humble beginnings has grown to become one of the Middle East’s top five label and tag converters. The majority of the company’s work is the production of self-adhesive labels on both paper and filmic substrates, and paper converting for the logistics label business. The company also produces shrink sleeves that account for around 15% of total output at the factory, but according to Managing Director Vinesh Bhimani: “This is unlikely to grow significantly owing to our company policy of avoiding solvent based products. This is part of our ‘Green –Concept’, for which we were recognized with a Middle East Green Award for Environmental Excellence in 2012,” he explains.
The new flexo line joins two other presses from the Swiss manufacturer, an 8-color water-based Gallus EM 510 installed in 2006, with a specification that includes corona treater and web cleaning, chill drums, three die cutting stations (including the sheeter), laminating, web tension control, and automatic registration. This was followed in 2008 by a Gallus EM 280. Also an eight-color water-based machine, the Gallus EM 280 has a cold foil unit and two diecutting stations, and, says Bhimani, "was the ideal press to cater for falling run lengths, because it cut make ready times by half.”
The new Gallus ECS 340 offers Kimoha yet another web width, and a significantly shorter web path for reduced waste, and the use of sleeve technology, which automates make-ready and speeds up job changes. Specified with eight UV-flexo print stations (all Kimoha’s Gallus presses have full UV curing), the Gallus ECS 340 has the cold foil facility and two die stations, and runs typically at
around 100 metres/minute on most work. As an early production machine, it was not without some start up issues, but as Bhimani explains, "The good personal relationship I have with Gallus in Switzerland was fundamental to resolving these issues, and the pride we felt in being the first label converter in the region to install the ‘granite press’ was worth the start up problems!”
Markets served by Kimoha include lubrication oil, garments, food, dairy, and steel manufacture, although as Bhimani concedes: It is necessary to engage a degree of lateral thinking and accept work from a variety of sources, as long as it is profitable. Our three Gallus presses give us a broad range of capabilities, and this is proving to be a real bonus in handling the variety of work we
undertake." The work includes tickets and tags for the airline industry, and the company now claims to have more than 50 international carriers among its client list, stretching from Argentina to Thailand.