Soma Engineering drew an audience of over 160 at its May 2014 Flexo Conference held at its Soma Globe Training and Demonstration facility in Lanskroun, Czech Republic. Attendees were comprised of senior management personnel from printing and converting companies from around the world as well as industry co-suppliers, the trade press and two delegations from China. As a result of the success of this and it's 2013 program, the Flexo Conference is set to become a regular annual fixture in the Soma calendar.
The spotlight was shared with speakers from various flexographic printing technologies who gave presentations on the latest innovations in their respective fields that included effective 4C color Pantone reproduction from PPP, saving money through anilox roll consistency, Apex, Smart App technology to meet 2014 EU standards for packaging from Reproflex and plate technology bench marking, Chespa.
An afternoon session covered presentations from the perspective of a flexo printer and a brand owner, BUDVAR, preceded by an overview of the new Optima press by Soma Marketing Manager Petr Blasko, who explained the reasons behind the development of this, narrow/mid web printing product.
"Our research has shown that the flexo printing market wants consistent quality of 70 lines per cm (177 lines per inch) with as short a set-up time as possible," Blasko says. "It is difficult for printers to produce short runs on wide web presses and remain competitive. We believe the Optima, with its new design concept offers a more competitive solution, particularly as a supplement to an existing wide web printing operation. The Optima offers reduced running costs compared with running a like for like job on a 1300 mm press. In addition, the new design concept reflects the new trend in value added packaging offering press customization according to specific customer needs.”
The Optima uses all the sophisticated components as found on Soma's wide web presses including Bosh Rexroth servo drives to reduce energy costs, JDF intuitive menus and job reporting, Falcon impression system with no marks, InkFix color matching and Fast blade doctor blade technology. Additional cost savings are achieved through the use of one liter volume ink cartridges where reduced coverage is required for colors such as expensive metallics. Constructed from one solid single block frame the press offers maximum rigidity at high speeds up to 300 m/min and ergonomically divided work stations for print and unwind/rewind operations.
Blasko adds, "We are not over-looking the possibility of aiming the Optima, not only as a solution for wide web flexible packaging, but also for the narrow web label printing industry. We can foresee the possibility of high speed printing label and packaging substrates on an 820 mm wide model by splitting into two 400 mm wide webs and adding various off-line finishing options such as embossing, foiling and other decorative and converting applications.”
The three day program was rounded off with a presentation by ex flexo printer, Nick Crow, demonstrations of the Soma Flex Optima and Premia flexographic printing presses and was preceded by a tour of Prague and celebratory boat trip. Copies of all presentations can be supplied on request.