Complementing press demonstrations of the Bobst M1 and M5 inline flexo presses, specialists from APR, Bobst, GEW, Flint Group and Eaglewood Technologies gave presentations that focused on the latest developments in the flexo printing, UV curing, ink and anilox cleaning.
Mat Jones, of Bobst North America, kicked off the event by providing an introduction to Bobst. He said that while the company is the largest manufacturer of printing and converting equipment in the world, it is still a relative newcomer to the label and narrow web segment. The theme of the Open House event, Jones said, was to provide an “update for profit and survival.”
With over 5,000 employees, Bobst has a presence in 50 countries around the globe and is worth 1.3 billion Swiss Francs, according to Jones. The company’s North American headquarters is in Northern New Jersey, and has 200 employees.
As part of a unique partnership, at APR’s Chicago-area Technical Center, there are now two Bobst flexo presses available for demonstrations. APR’s Technical Center is the only demo facility for Bobst narrow web presses in North America.
The latest addition to the APR Technical Center is the Bobst M1, which was showcased at the Open House. The new, 14” eight-color press is designed for high-definition flexo jobs requiring fast changeovers. “The shortened web path results in minimum waste, set-up times and high registration tolerances. The optimum flexibility and footprint of the M1 gives label converters a high-performance, economical option for producing high definition flexo labels for all end-use categories,” Jones said.
The M1 press comes with Bobst’s SnowBall converting technology, which minimizes matrix breaks during production due to the short distance between stripping and rewinding. A servo-driven stripping cylinder enables ideal stripping tension and less downtime. The Open House demo also showcased Bobst’s Laser Set 360 degree pre-register and automatic registration system.
Dedicated to label production, the M1 has an “open” structure designed to simplify access to the “Flower” print stations, a concept first introduced to the market by Gidue, the Italian narrow web press manufacturer acquired by Bobst in 2015.
Those that invest in the M1 have a choice between one, two or three diecutting units. Servo-driven diecutting stations allow for converting flexibility, accurate tension and register control. The open slitting section area offers a short setup time and easy access to the slitting area with multiple slitting technologies.
Also demonstrated at the event was the M5 – a full servo, multi-substrate inline flexo press, equipped with Bobst Digital Flexo technology. The M5 is what Bobst calls the "unlimited substrates" press. Bobst’s Digital Flexo concept transforms flexo printing and diecutting into a "digital" process. A "digital workflow" with integrated printing and converting technologies allows for 10 meters of waste and one minute for each job change, resulting in the highest print quality, consistency and extremely lowest operating costs. Features of the press include over-dimensioned chilled drums for "positive" web transportation on the most delicate substrates. In addition, “Easy" drop-in technology, also known as Bobst Ready, allows for fast interchangeability of flexo, screen and hot foil.
Todd Blumsack, Vice President, Business Unit Web-fed, Bobst North America Inc., was pleased with the event and opportunity to present to converters demonstrations of the M1 and M5 presses. He said, “Technology must be seen in operation to truly assess and appreciate its effectiveness which is why APR’s technical center serves as a demo facility in the US for Bobst narrow web inline flexo presses and multi-process printing and converting lines for labels, flexible packaging and carton packaging production. This event brought to bear how smart design and innovative technology can deliver converters’ needs for increased equipment efficiencies and lead-time, and quality conformity with brand owners’ requirements.”
Dave Nieman, President and CEO of APR, commented on how the new M1 press complements the M5. “By having both presses on site we are able to demonstrate short run solutions for any budget and all label application formats. Here at APR we are constantly working with converters to optimize their process control standards. The label printing industry is more competitive than it has ever been and it is essential that converters know how to optimize job-to-job repeatability and color control. Having these two narrow web flexo presses on hand allows our demo center to become an extremely effective classroom and to help our customers in each step of the label production process,” he said.