AB Graphic International’s Matt Burton and Jim Kehring provided an in-depth look into the company’s latest products, and how its breadth of finishing technologies is accommodating the newest digital printing solutions.
“It’s amazing how many great customers and partners we have joining us,” said Burton. “What we’re showing you revolutionizes the way label printers can finish digitally printed labels. This technology helps the transition of more work to digital printing even easier. This is a challenging time for everyone, but I’m a little surprised at the rate of orders that are still coming in during this time.”
ABG has a global footprint, which can meet demand for converters on a worldwide basis. The company’s digital lines and converting equipment are being produced at two plants in the United Kingdom, while SRI rewinders and inspection systems are being produced in Germany. Burton described the company as a one-stop shop for digital finishing, converting machines, slitter rewinders, camera technology, turret rewinding, and solutions for sleeves and packaging.
In addition, ABG’s acquisition of Enprom Solutions in Girona, Spain, has added to its capabilities. “We have a substantial profile and presence in North America and Western Europe, with facilities in Chicago, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Santiago, and more. We have over 60 distributors around the world, and most of the business –95%–is still export driven. There are very few countries we haven’t exported machines to.”
Both Burton and Kehring explained how an effective finishing department can make the printing process that much more efficient. All ABG manufacturing plants remain open and operational, and the company’s increased reliance on automation has benefited converters during these challenging times, as well.
According to Kehring, the newest Digicon modules are highly automated and feature a modular design. “We’re focusing on our new automation modules to help with workflow and future-proof changes we’ve made,” said Kehring. “We’re continuing to strive forward and improve on this design.”
Automation has allowed ABG to keep up with workflow demands, specifically from new printing presses with enhanced speeds. “As presses like the HP Indigo V12 come out with higher speeds, you need to be able accommodate that on the converting side,” noted Kehring. “We need to get enough material from the die unit to the rewind, and feel confident with that availability.”
The ABG Fast Track die, a dual handle semi-rotary die station operating at 150 m/m, features two anvils and comes with an automatic die loader – providing a seamless diecut with no gaps or changes noticed.
“We still have that same great high speed, but we’ve made some changes for what we can offer for die loading,” said Kehring. “What this item is is a cassette, and it’s capable of holding 10 dies. This allows the operator to load die plates in any way they deem necessary, and the correct die will be found from the cassette. There are also adjustable anvils system options.”
Meanwhile, movements can be adjusted via camera. ABG has also developed a new stripping solution. The new camera module, with Fleyevision, ensures 100% inspection. Knives can be set up manually or measured automatically, where they will look for gaps to place the knives. There is also an edge trim mode utilizing the HMI.
With automation, this process can be configured upstream. When the operator simply presses a button, the knives will be set to their new position.
“The Series 3 is a modular design, so if you decide the stripping unit is beneficial right now, we can put that in,” explained Kehring. “If one of the other options, like flat-bed foiling or screen units, are preferred, we can add those in, as well.”
Kehring also detailed the benefits of JetFX embellishment, which include digital foil, varnish, cast and cure. Printers can generate a strong tactile finish, allowing their print to pop on the shelf. JetFX provides a quick turnaround for high-quality labels without having to wait for tooling. The unit runs at varying speeds, depending on the coverage area. Most customers, however, are operating between 20-30 m/m.
“Module availability will be immediate for some, while others are going into beta shortly,” said Burton. “We will notify our customers and distributors accordingly.”