With the installation of a highly automated ThermoFlexX Catena-WDLS processing system, Cyber Graphics is expecting an increase in productivity by up to 15%. This will allow the prepress specialist to better face current challenges and accelerate delivery of top quality flexo plates to its large customer base across the US and Canada.
Willstaett, Germany. 1 December 2022 – A leading prepress trade shop established in 1994, Cyber Graphics is the first in North America to invest in the Catena-WDLS Washer, Dryer, Light-finisher, and Stacker from XSYS. The machine was installed this past June and has already more than lived up to expectations, according to Kevin Bourquin, Vice President of Operations.
“Due to the pandemic, we had to go ahead with the decision to buy the Catena-WDLS without seeing it live; instead, we experienced its superior technology through videos and saw it operate via conference calls. Now it is here and it’s even better than we anticipated,” he said. “What has been most impressive about the installation so far is that we were putting production jobs through in a matter of days. Usually, it takes weeks to implement new processing technology and get it working seamlessly, but the Catena machine just slotted in, and we were up and running in no time.”
Automation delivers faster and better
Cyber Graphics has over 120 employees spread over its four locations in Tennessee and Wisconsin, in the United States. Around 70% of customers are in the flexible packaging sector, but the company also serves label (20%) and folding carton (10%) converters with high-quality solvent flexo plates. End use applications are mainly for the food, beverage, pet food and pharma markets.
Cyber Graphics operates four automated plate processing lines, which allow printing plates to be shipped out to customers the next day. “Just-in-time delivery is crucial for our customers, so we rely on a very high level of automation to ensure we have the productivity and the consistency that these converters need to serve their brand owner customers,” said Bourquin. “Having that extra speed really helps offset some of the challenges we are currently facing when it comes to getting the plate delivered to the customer.”
Taking many variables out of the equation, including operator handling of plates between each of the processes, the ThermoFlexX Catena-WDLS is fully automated, meaning that after loading a plate into the system, no further intervention is required until the fully finished article comes out. “The WDLS is an operator’s dream, and our employees love the new system because it is so user-friendly and intuitive to use,” said Bourquin about the feedback from the factory floor.
He continued, “If you’re serving multiple customers around the country, automation is paramount for controlling costs, quality and waste; it also means your team can focus on value-added tasks instead of minding the machine. With the Catena-WDLS, we don’t need to pull the plate out to inspect it during the process, because we know we’re going to get the result we want.”
Deep plate knowledge built in
The partnership with XSYS goes back decades with Cyber Graphics relying on the manufacturer’s technology to remain at the forefront of a highly competitive market. “We have known the XSYS team for a very long time and we trust their forward-thinking mentality and their responsiveness. Thanks to XSYS innovation and their can-do attitude, we have been the first with many new developments over the years, such as LED plate exposure,” stated Bourquin. “Now we are the first to leverage the power of the Catena-WDLS.”
Despite having researched the Catena-WDLS in great detail, the exceptional quality of the processor was still a surprise, as Bourquin concluded, “The deep knowledge of the platemaking process incorporated into the design of the Catena-WDLS has been truly eye-opening for us. We had a major outage in 2019 when a machine broke down for 11 days, but the ThermoFlexX ProServeX cloud-based monitoring service, which features predictive maintenance, will prevent such incidents in the future and that’s incredibly reassuring – we definitely made the right call!”