The two flexo presses replace three older 330mm wide presses, and according to Parkers, have “doubled running speeds and have the additional benefit of a wider web width.” Established originally in 1952 as a supplier of paper bags to the grocery trade, the company has always been involved with food packaging, and moved into labels and carton production with a mix of flexo and offset press technology.
Still under family ownership, with Tim and Toby Parker at the helm, the company underwent a major program of expansion five years ago with the appointment of Eugene Roche as operations and development director, and Phil Hood as sales director. Since 2007, turnover has more than doubled to £7.3 million, and Roche is now well on course for achieving “world class” plant effectiveness of 88% by the end of 2013, having raised it from 55% to 78% already.
According to the company, the two new Gallus presses are a key element in this improved efficiency. Part of an investment program that topped £2 million, the company chose Gallus presses after extensive testing and detailed negotiations to ensure that the manufacturer could precisely meet Parkers’ requirements, and, as far as was possible to predict, future-proof customer changes in demand. “We considered all options including having our existing presses reconditioned, but came to the conclusion that to move the game on we needed a fresh start. The Gallus machines offered that, handling all of the customer jobs we test-printed,” says Roche.
Key to the success of the new presses has been their ability to hold tight register at high speed on PET, foil and unsupported film materials. “The Gallus’ ability with fine print and cold foil has given us a useful sales tool because it’s a reliable form of added value decoration,” explains Hood, adding, “We now have an extended and more versatile capability across a variety of substrates, and an improvement in quality that is out of all recognition.” Part of the investment package included web monitoring with a camera to improve quality. Fitted with visual and audible warnings, the inspecting units can be set to pre-determined parameters to allow the presses to run at high speed. Specified with eight UV-flexo stations, cold foil laminating, automatic register and two die stations, the Gallus EM 430 S is something of a hybrid, with servo drive, and crucially for ease of operation, sleeve technology on each station for the loading and unloading of print cylinders and anilox rolls. Its modular platform design concept allows for flexo and screen heads to be switched quickly and easily, and with its sliding touchscreen panel that allows the operator to control the press from any point along the line, it is well suited to short and medium run work on paper and plastic substrates.