Growing customer demands for service, quality and fast delivery times are the main challenges for the packaging printing industry. Continuous product innovations make it difficult for companies to keep up with their competitors. Elopak recognized an ever-increasing quality difference with their practice of directly mounting the sleeves on air cylinders, without the use of adapters.
Today, many flexo printing jobs require shorter machine runtimes, resulting in an increased number of job changes. This is a particular challenge for set-up times. Each machine set-up at Elopak was associated with extreme strain on the press operator due to the weight of the air cylinders. Conventional adapter systems were tried, but could not be implemented because of the sub-standard print quality results. In addition, the supply of compressed air through the conventional adapter air holes did not work with the existing air supply system on the printing press. Elopak found the solution with the rotec® sleeves and adapters.
In cooperation with XSYS Technical Service, a rotec® Atlas Eco Bridge adapter was custom-made for Elopak. The special feature lies in the unique air supply system. Instead of air holes, a breathable metal ring evenly builds up an immediate air pillow around the entire circumference of the adapter, allowing much easier sleeve mounting. The airflow can be reduced by up to 90% and the noise level can be reduced to room volume. rotec® Atlas Eco Bridge is a high-modulus carbon adapter. The carbon fiber construction has low-vibration and vibration-damping properties that significantly improves the print quality, especially at higher print speeds.
“This rotec® product combination meets the requirements of our demanding printing material perfectly,” affirms Michael Knoch, Production Manager of Elopak GmbH.
Elopak’s press operators reported enthusiastically: “Until now, two employees had to change the air cylinder at 45 Kg. With the rotec® Atlas Eco Bridge (16.5 kg), this can be done by one person only, while the other already sets up the machine. We can work much easier and faster now. “Another step in the process optimization was the plate mounting. Elopak’s biggest challenge is to accurately match the customer’s desired print result with a simulation.
When using traditional sleeves, employees must accurately attach the plates to the sleeves using a compressible adhesive tape. Mounting errors such as air pockets or a displaced motive can not always be avoided. The rotec® Compressible Sleeve is the best solution for this. Elopak has been using this compressible sleeve for over 20 years, which was specially developed for thin plates and is available in three different harnesses (50, 60, 70 Shore A). The compressible surface ensures optimum printing results with combined half-tone and solid areas in one printing unit. The rotec® Compressible Sleeve offers standardized quality and excellent tape adhesion that prevents “slippage” in the nip.
Through regular print tests, Elopak was able to confirm the consistent quality of the print results by combining rotec® Atlas Eco Bridge and rotec® Compressible Sleeve.