November 13, 2020
The label market is challenging
The label market is a growing and challenging segment with rapidly changing technologies. Common challenges are shorter print runs, processing different types of labels and more diversified jobs. These are also the forces driving digital printing with high cost. There is a shift from basic labels to high-end applications. Etiquetes Anoia started serving the label market by using letterpress technology. Letterpress printing requires real skill. Therefore, high quality results are dependent upon the operator. Flexo presses have short set-up times, produce less waste than letterpress printing, and guarantee high-quality output. Furthermore, the need for additional work and cost is eliminated with flexo printing. Over the past years flexo printing has continuously evolved and Etiquetes Anoia realized that they needed a more reliable plate supplier to improve their printing quality and consistency. The same reliability and consistency were needed in the plate production as well to avoid waste of time and resources.
Improving print quality and workflow
“At this moment of Covid-19, we think that the most important things are the flexibility and the fast delivery, by keeping the quality standards”, noted Ramón Solà, General Manager of Etiquetes Anoia.
In 2017, Etiquetes Anoia started working together with Flint Group and made a step towards the future by switching the plate processing technology from water to solvent. They installed a nyloflex® Combi FII, compact all-in-one, plate processor that’s includes exposure, washer, dryer and light finisher for small format plates. This enabled a significant improvement regarding consistent plate quality.
In 2020, they began using XSYS nyloflex® FTS printing plates, a versatile flexo plate with inherent flat top dots for multiple market segments. “We choose to work with Flint Group because of the good service and quality, but also the technical advice by finding the best solution for us”, stated Mr. Solà. Following the continuous improvement process, Etiquetes Anoia tested the newly launched nyloflex® FTS printing plate with a better result when printing with UV inks.
After the first trials, Etiquetes Anoia saw two clear advantages; improvement of printability, more ink transfer and density with improved dot definition, and reduction of start-up time and waste due to a better wettability of the plate nyloflex® FTS in combination with UV inks. Mr. Solà added: “The productivity of exchanging the printing plate has not undergone any significant change as the plate processing times are more or less the same, but we observed a strong improvement in the workflow as a result of the faster start-up. We have less startup waste per print job and eliminated the need to clean the plate prior to printing”.
Overcoming Challenges Together
“We work together with XSYS for continuous quality improvement. At the end of 2016, we had a bunch of challenges regarding stability in producing high quality plates. Today, with XSYS as a very supportive and problem-solving partner, we overcome these challenges. We have stabilized our plate processing while saving time, reducing cost and significantly improving quality”, said Mr. Solà.
Etiquetes Anoia is a family owned company founded in 1998. They started their business with a letterpress machine printing labels for the textile business and bought their first flexo printing press in 2000. Today they have three flexo machines plus special finishing, silk-screen as well as hot and cold stamping. They produce self-adhesive labels and booklets for the food and chemical markets. Etiquetes Anoia prints all kinds of labels: various sizes, formats, including up to 12 inks, and special finishings. Furthermore, they do their repro design in house as well as produce their own printing plates with a focus on several segments, such as food and beverages, industrial and customer care products.