The Polish packaging manufacturer has installed a ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 flexo plate imager to meet demands from customers for faster delivery, more flexibility, and increased sustainability. The company chose to invest in the XSYS technology for the first time as part of a determined drive to expand the capabilities of its in-house prepress department with innovative solutions.
Willstaett, Germany. 02 February 2023 – The flexible packaging market is moving towards more sustainable solutions and manufacturing methods that have less impact on the environment. Flexo platemaking is an area where significant progress in reducing waste has been made, with new technologies and higher levels of automation that improve the process while remaining cost-effective.
As part of its strategy for future success, KB Folie Polska Sp. z o.o., in Poland, wanted to introduce a new digital imaging technology that would allow them to deliver consistent print quality at speed, but also reduce plate waste, operator time, energy consumption and overall costs. After surveying the market for some time, the company was convinced by the advantages presented by the ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 and signed on the dotted line. The investment also includes ThermoFlexX Woodpecker screening technology for adding microstructures to the surface of flat top dot plates to help maintain print quality at top press speeds.
“We are one of the first printing houses in Poland to leverage the many tangible benefits of the ThermoFlexX system with Woodpecker surface screening,” said [Jan Marcinkowski – Deputy Production Director]. “XSYS is known for its fresh and innovative approach to technology, and ThermoFlexX imagers for their high levels of automation and waste saving features. Our new machine is definitely proving that point by levelling up our in-house platemaking capabilities as a greener, more cost-efficient proposition.”
Based in Warsaw, KB Folie specializes in flexible packaging, mainly for the fresh and frozen food industries, but also the chemicals and cosmetics sectors. Originally founded as an aluminum trading company in 1996, the family-owned enterprise set up its flexo printing department in 2000 when the first wide web flexo press was installed, and later also added rotogravure printing. Currently employing 200 staff, plans are underway to expand further and build a completely new printing facility, as the company continues its growth trajectory.
The product portfolio spans the breadth of flexible packaging for both dry and liquid foodstuffs, including mono-material packaging solutions, laminated packaging, bags, ready-made doypacks and other types of pouches with closure sealing, various types of notches and perforations, cold seal, and variable coding on the inside, among the many options.
In 2016, KB Folio established an R& D Center with funding from the Polish Ministry of Development, followed by additional funding from various institutions, to support customers with innovative solutions and to forge new relationships with suppliers and manufacturers. “That was really a breakthrough year for us,” said [Michał Sikorski – Head of Scientific Research and Development Department.]. “Since then, year by year, our R&D activities have brought us more and more benefits, allowing the introduction of new types of packaging products that meet and even exceed the expectations and needs of our customers.”
[Jan Marcinkowski – Deputy Production Director] added, “We place a vast emphasis on research and on production of high-quality and increasingly more environmentally friendly packaging; and because we also strive for the production plant itself to be as green as possible, the equipment we buy must support that vision.”
Finding a new solution
KB Folie has been making flexo plates in-house for many years. The new ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 from XSYS is the latest digital imager acquired for this purpose and it came through long-term supplier Scorpio Sp. z o.o., a distributor of ThermoFlexX products in Poland. “Like every company with over 20 years of experience, we started out with analog methods. In 2008, we moved to digital imaging, which we are successively updating to stay at the forefront of developments, most lately with the new ThermoFlexX, which is an exciting technology.”
In order to accelerate profit projections, the company analyzed its workflow to decide on the best route to follow to improve the print quality and the production speed. “We were looking for a machine that would let us meet customer requirements, without wasting time and without adding more costs,” said [Jan Marcinkowski – Deputy Production Director]. “We live in the fourth industrial revolution; in an increasingly digital world where we can save time by automating more and more processes. These were the main reasons for switching to a new solution.”
Known for its high-quality imaging, low waste, and impressive productivity, the ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 can produce plates up to 900 x 1200mm (35 x 48”). Featuring the built in FlexTray, it can automatically load and unload plates with one touch of a button, which reduces the risk of damage due to manual handling. The automatic resolution switching function matches laser optics to file resolution, giving users much more flexibility, including the ability to image multiple plates at different resolutions simultaneously. Meanwhile the unique Vacuum Slider Concept (VSC) allows plates of any width to be loaded without needing to be taped in place, another waste saving innovation. With Woodpecker surface screening added to the mix, KB Folie has the option to boost ink density in the solid areas and improve dot definition for even sharper text and images, all while ensuring a smoother ink lay down for those jobs that demand the highest quality.
Having incorporated the imager into the daily workflow and experiencing the difference it has made, [Jan Marcinkowski – Deputy Production Director] concluded, “The ThermoFlexX 48s laser is very user friendly and flexible and also compatible with other devices. We have found that it provides longer plate durability, which results in greater print stability, and cuts down on waste of plate material. When we need to, it also allows us to work with files that have a lower resolution, which ensures faster data processing and acceleration of work. I can safely say that we are very satisfied with the investment.”
Picture caption: from left to right: Arkadiusz Musielak (KB Folie), Paweł Stoliński (SCORPIO), Jan Marcinkowski (KB Folie).