In order to maximize performance and minimize downtime on presses, printers, substrate and ink manufacturers work hand-in-hand to determine which inks will best run on their presses. The ability to test inks prior to producing and going on press is ideal.
To eliminate guesswork, Flint Group Narrow Web has invested in a new Nilpeter combination printing press, which will be located in the company’s Centre of Technical Excellence (CTE) in Trelleborg, Sweden.
Niklas Olsson, Flint Group’s Narrow Web global brand manager, says that continuous improvement is one of the guiding principles of Flint Group, and added that expanding the capabilities of the company’s existing Centre of Technical Excellence was a natural move.
“We've had this center up and running since the mid-1990s,” Olsson says. “It was simply time to make a move to improve the equipment and press capabilities. To continue our position as the most innovative ink company, we need a testing facility the provides the latest and most complete print capabilities.”
The new Nilpeter press offers five printing stations, which can be changed into various print methods, including flexo, screen and offset. Flint Group is able to handle all ink chemistries, including water-based and solvent-based, as well as UV mercury lamps and UV LED lamps.
The Swedish-based Centre for Technical Excellence covers Europe, Middle East, Africa, India and Asia; there is also a CTE in the U.S., which is focused on North America and Latin America.
“Our CTE in Plymouth, MN, has been up and running since 1999,” Olsson adds. “This facility is used for customers seminars, R&D testing and training, and by industry partners and educators in our industry. In 2014, we plan to host three customer seminars.
“The fully functional narrow web presses in both CTEs, in Sweden and in the U.S., are used for R&D purposes - helping us develop and test our ink products to ensure we have the best, most effective, products for the narrow web market,” Olsson notes.
Olsson says that that customers benefit in various ways from the emphasis on testing at the CTEs, “first, by receiving the most innovative ‘hot off the press’ solutions the industry can provide; second, through technical seminars offered free of charge with live press demonstrations; and third, our key customer partners have access to these presses for testing and product trials. Rather than use their own equipment for testing, they are welcome to visit our facilities and work directly with our experts.”
Olsson says that Flint Group “absolutely” receives great interest from customers in using the CTEs.
“Our CTEs are constantly in use, by customers of Flint Group and by our co-supplier industry partners,” Olsson concludes.