Today's migration-neutral inks are the product of a multiphase development process that started with low-odor inks (Epple's GA series), which have excellent organoleptic (sensory) and printing properties, do not cause swelling and contain no mineral oils. This makes them suitable for non-food packaging, secondary food packaging, primary packaging with a functional barrier and primary packaging if approved by an independent body. The next step was low-migration inks such as CareFood MAW, which satisfy all legal requirements in Europe and are therefore suitable for direct-contact food packaging. But the ultimate printing inks for food packaging are migration-neutral ones, at present available solely from Epple. The only potentially migratory ingredients in SensPrint MU (optimised for KBA Rapidas) and BoFood MU are foodstuffs or food additives. In the unlikely event that migration occurs it would only be of odor- and taste-neutral components. The same binding agent ensures that the ink penetrates fast and prints well. BoFood MU and SensPrint MU thus comply with all current and foreseeable legal requirements and demands from the food sector.
Epple guarantees migration neutrality in ink manufacture by processing optimized, precisely specified raw materials, rigorously vetting all incoming ingredients and implementing special processing regulations. Every batch is tested prior to being filled into containers. Epple also helps customers make the most of a new type of ink by providing professional support with print production, modifying the ink formulation, setting up an ink database and assisting with audits and plant certification.
Performance and cost efficiency in packaging printing were the subject of a talk by Jürgen Veil, KBA head of sheetfed marketing and product management. He focused on two aspects – cutting makeready times when printing packaging on the popular B1 (41in) Rapida 106, and new features in large-format sheetfed offset. DriveTronic components for this format already include KBA's sidelay-free Sensoric Infeed System, which reduces makeready time by dispensing with setting and marking, and has a tolerance range of ±7mm (0.27in), more than any other pull system. This dramatically reduces the risk of stoppages. And there are no leading-edge errors because the sheets are not pulled sideways and so can no longer tear. DriveTronic SPC accelerates the makeready process by cutting plate-changing time to virtually zero, since it operates simultaneously with other makeready processes. DriveTronic Plate Ident promotes reliability by identifying the plates during the changing sequence, presetting registration and conducting a plausibility check between the plate and the job.
KBA's CleanTronic Synchro allows the impression cylinders, blanket cylinders and rollers to be washed simultaneously – and, on presses with SPC, during a plate change. This can deliver a further saving of some 30 per cent. It is also possible to wash the impression and blanket cylinders simultaneously, or the blanket cylinder in half the time with two washing bars, on a large-format press. Valuable time can be saved even when only the blankets need washing.
A complete change of plates on a large-format KBA press takes around two-and-a-half minutes, including resetting register to zero. An automatic change of coating plates on a Rapida is much faster than on comparable make of press. Small details often have a big impact on the effective printing time. For example, a plastic film on the ink-duct cuts cleaning times during ink changes. And a new energy-efficient dryer, VariDryBLUE, reduces heat generation and the volume of exhaust air through heat recovery. This cuts both costs and carbon emissions. Nonstop automatic systems at the feeder and delivery, combined with automated logistics systems for the substrates, make the Rapidas highly efficient, cost-effective packaging presses.
KBA also officially announced its entry into the consumables business. Print chemicals, blankets, inks and many other products for litho presses are now available under the brand name KBA PressConsum. All the products selected have been benchmark-tested and optimized in collaboration with the manufacturers. Some KBA users have already run successful tests in the press room. PressConsum consumables are also used in KBA's customer centre, for press acceptance tests, at trade fairs and for customer training. This means that any quality fluctuations can be detected and remedied in good time. Packaging printers will be interested to know that the range includes Epple's SensPrint MU migration-neutral inks, developed exclusively for KBA.