Flexible Inline Process with Versatile Components

Folding carton and liquid packaging production is faced with tremendous market momentum when it comes to design trends, printing processes, finishing methods, and functional aspects. With its highly flexible inline machine concept, Gallus Stanz- und Druckmaschinen GmbH provides folding carton manufacturers with superior solutions that prepare them optimally for present and future market needs. The Gallus portfolio comprises several different series, each one tailored to specific requirements within the carton industry. All of these models share a talent for economical and efficient inline production in a single pass from the carton roll to the cut and separated blanks.

The powerful Gallus INTRO series is predestined for mass production of standard folding cartons and liquid packaging with a low level of surface finishing. The machines are suitable for flexo printing with water or solvent based as well as UV curable inks. With a maximum printing width of between 560 mm and 1650 mm and speeds of up to 500 m/min, Gallus INTRO machines cover a wide range of formats and production requirements spanning several width classes. Specialized solutions, for example for lottery tickets, can also be realized with the help of the INTRO series. By contrast, the Gallus CCS 510 is targeted at the high end of the folding carton market, where short-to-medium run lengths with a variety of valuable finishing characteristics are the norm. This machine system for inline production is designed for printing widths of 510 mm or less. The proven platform concept with flexible exchange modules allows the press to be configured quickly according to the requirements of each particular job and minimizes set-up times.

Gallus ICS 670: maximum flexibility for exclusive folding cartons

Folding cartons uniting all facets of high-quality finishing and a mixture of jobs both with and without finishing are the domain of the Gallus ICS 670. With a maximum printing width of 670 mm (max. web width 690 mm) and the option of a mono or non-stop unwinder, this machine system is consistently modular and can be configured to match customer requirements. Depending on the type of production, methods used, and format lengths, the Gallus ICS 670 runs at a maximum speed of 220 m/min (flat-bed die-cutting) or 350 m/min (roll-to-roll). Thanks to the EVA (Easy Value Add) platform concept, it is also possible to combine different printing processes and finishing methods if the job so demands. The process can be changed over in only a few minutes without any tools simply by swapping the modules. A module cart and pallet system are provided for this purpose and facilitate a further reduction in set-up times.

Gallus positions flexo as the mainstream printing process on the ICS 670 for the majority of applications – cigarette packaging is an exception – whereas gravure and screen printing are considered to be optional finishing methods. The Gallus module for brilliant, high-definition HiDef flexo printing is largely responsible for the remarkable quality of folding cartons printed in this way, which is every bit as good as that achieved with offset or gravure processes. The HiDef flexo module features temperature-controlled anilox rollers with a precisely defined pick-up volume and automatic printing pressure adjustment to guarantee absolute consistency from proofing to full production speed regardless of the progress of the job. The automatic Gallus register control system prevents registration errors very effectively. Digital "flat top dot" photopolymer plates with a minimum linescreen of 175 lpi, mounted on sleeves and teamed up with bridge sleeves, are used for flexo printing. With multicolor production, one HiDef flexo printing module is required for each EVA platform.

The basic platform can be equipped with UV lamps and / or hot air dryers (with a tunnel length of 1.4 m or 2 m) according to the type of flexo ink (UV curable, water or solvent based). There is also the option of printing on the back of the carton web using one and the same HiDef flexo printing module – without having to turn the web over. A bypass frame and additional guide roll are mounted on the platform for this method of production, and the direction of rotation reversed.

End-to-end inline finishing

The Gallus ICS 670 also supports another printing process that can endow folding cartons with multisensory attributes over and above the striking finishing and security features – rotary screen printing. Like its flexo and gravure counterparts, the intuitive screen printing module integrates easily and toollessly into any EVA platform. Special color effects, solid areas with maximum ink coverage, security inks and raised, tactile icons or linework often call for a very thick ink film, in which case rotary screen printing is ideal. Gallus especially recommends the Screeny S-Line plates, which can be supplied in both a conventional and a digital version, for screen printing.

The cold foiling module extends the machine system with a finishing technique that has become enormously important in recent years because it is economical while offering multiple creative opportunities and overprinting options. Production with cold foils or films entails a flexo printing unit applying the UV curable adhesive in the Gallus ICS 670 to the carton web. In the next station – the cold foiling module – the color coat of the foil is transferred by contact pressure and then cured under UV lamps immediately downstream. And that's not all – the module can also be changed over in a few simple steps in order to laminate transparent or metalized films. Apart from the increased production flexibility, inline lamination has the advantage that it cuts out the need to purchase (expensive) prelaminated stocks.

The packaging can be coated with a high-gloss gold or silver layer using the rotary hot foil stamping module, which is likewise compatible with the EVA platform, for instance. Up to six foils can be clamped in this module across the full printing width. The elegant look and feel of the precious metal gloss can be further underlined with an embossing effect.

The rotary hot foil embossing module provides folding carton manufacturers with a superior solution for their high-end finishing needs. The unit has a separate basic platform that units hot foiling and embossing in a single pass. One good thing about combining these two functions in one module is that the registration errors that can otherwise occur between the transferred film and the embossed surface are now a thing of the past. Various options such as hologram insetting and a foil saver can be supplied by Gallus for both hot foil embossing and hot foiling.

Fully automated processing – from the web to the finished blanks

At the end of the printing and finishing lines, responsibility for all standard processing processes like creasing, embossing, window punching, and die-cutting passes to the Gallus FCL 670 flat-bed die-cutter. Die-cutting waste is broken out and the finished blanks separated in the stream delivery. Owing to the principle of the flat-bed die-cutter, comparatively cheap cutting tools can be used. This high-tech unit also incorporates numerous smart details designed to minimize set-up and changeover times. A 100% quality control system can optionally be installed to monitor production. A blank ejector makes sure that only quality checked folding carton blanks are delivered in shingle streams or if necessary stacked.

The ICS 670 machine system is a flexible and efficient production solution in the Gallus portfolio. The Gallus ICS 670 machines installed to date have proved to be a safe and viable investment for customers in Dubai, Indonesia, and Germany, who value their ability to produce high-end packaging with optimal shelf impact extremely efficiently in a single pass.

The Gallus ICS 670 will be the centerpiece of the Gallus Stanz- und Druckmaschinen GmbH exhibit at Drupa 2012 in Düsseldorf, Germany (Hall 2, Stand A45). Several new developments, including a state-of-the-art gravure unit, will be unveiled when the inline machine system is demonstrated live.