The FlexoTech Innovation Award was accepted at a gala dinner and ceremony held at London’s Hilton Hotel
CZECH REPUBLIC • Soma Engineering has won the FlexoTech Innovations Award with its new ink cartridge system for spot colour printing on CI flexographic printing presses. Developed in conjunction with the launch of its new 800 mm (11.8“) wide, Optima printing press, the ink cartridge system offers printers a means of reducing ink costs on printing jobs where expensive spot colours, special effect and metallic formulations are required.
The entry submitted included an example costing to produce a beer label printed through flexography for a Czech Republic based producer. The seven colour job was produced using solvent-based ink, CMYK + Pantone 485, Pantone orange and silver that was surface printed on a 75 microns lye-resistant, 600 mm (23.6”) wide paper substrate. The targeted printing speed was 300 m/min (11.8 fpm) with a print repeat of 400 mm (15.7”) , three labels across and around. This short run job of 400,000 labels had an estimated production time of 60 minutes. Following preparation of the press for this job the ink pumps were primed with CMYK and spot colours. The minimum volume of ink per colour in the system including doctor blade, ink hoses and ink bucket was 6 litres per colour, plus ink to print 400,000 labels. When the print run was completed the 6 litres of ink per colour was returned to the ink bucket. A feasible process for CMYK inks, but not for Pantone spot colours or expensive metallic formulations that cover less than 1% of the print area. Using the ink cartridge system for the spot colours reduced ink waste with considerable savings.
The Soma ink cartridge is patent pending and is suitable for water-based, solvent-based and UV curable inks and fixes on the doctor blade chamber cross beam without tooling. The system was launched following extensive Beta testing and is available for both new and existing Soma press installations and includes integrated viscosity control and wash-up with touch screen control to each printing deck.