Apex International – Smart anilox and more introduced at Labelexpo Europe

Apex partnered with Hamillroad Software to develop its new Bellissima technology to bring digitaly modulated screening into the flexo mainstream (Source: Apex)

BELGIUM • At September’s Labelexpo Europe, held in Brussels, Apex International went far beyond merely labels in its product offerings to visitors. During the show, the company showed off its new RFID equipped “Smart Anilox” technology, partnered with FoodSafe UV to promote the safety of UV inks and varnishes and introduced its new Bellissima Digitally Modulated Screening technology to the flexographic mainstream.

Going beyond labels

Though labels remained central to Labelexpo Europe in September 2017, the latest hybrid presses from major conventional press suppliers and  a wealth of new conventional flexo press developments with enhanced features for automation, package printing and increased efficiency for short runs, were also showcased.

Smart Anilox

As featured in Brussels, the introduction of an RFID-equipped anilox roll will enable Apex customers to reach new levels in automation and process control. Remco Snik, manager R&D at Apex International, explains that “this ‘Smart Anilox’ is able to automatically share status information with intelligent systems. The Smart Anilox data will be integrated into the MIS which will simplify scheduling jobs on various presses and shorten make ready times. The system will provide feedback that enables preventive anilox maintenance to take place on time.”

By teaming up with press manufacturer MPS, a partner of Apex’s for more than 20 years, and by using that company’s “Talk to Me” connectivity technology, Apex is expanding its offer to enable printers to become more efficient and more productive.

The patented GTT open slalom ink channel anilox geometry will help UV inks reduce spitting (Source: Apex)


UV inks: opportunities in packaging

 Labelexpo also provided the stage for a new industry initiative, FoodSafeUV, to promote the safety of UV inks and varnishes for indirect food contact packaging. According to the group, “UV opens up new opportunities for short run flexible packaging with the added benefits of in-line UV decoration technology and a more environmentally sustainable profile”.

In addition to the opportunities and advantages, however, UV inks are known to cause problems such as ink spitting, due to their high viscosity. By reinventing the very concept of anilox ink-to-plate transfer with its patented GTT Open Slalom Ink Channel anilox geometry, Apex is also providing a unique solution to prevent this problem from occurring.

Bellissima: quality and efficiency in flexo

To improve quality and efficiency in flexo printing, Apex has always been a strong promoter and enabler of fixed palette printing. Apex is also a dedicated member of the REVO-project, supporting the aim to “digitally” standardize and automate the flexo process from pre-press to print delivery, as was demonstrated at the Bobst booth during Labelexpo.

Stepping up its efforts in this field even further, Apex used Labelexpo to announce the formation of Aniken Graphics International, a joint venture with UK-based prepress expert Hamillroad Software to bring Bellissima Digitally Modulated Screening technology into the flexographic mainstream. Nick Harvey, the newly appointed Managing Director of Aniken, explained that “Bellissima was developed and fine-tuned using GTT aniloxes, so not only can our customers consistently see print quality results that exceed gravure and offset, but they can do so for a fraction of the cost allowing flexographers to gain significant competitive advantages especially with shorter runs.”

Rosina Obermayer

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