drupa 2012: Ultra-efficient Inline Folding Carton Converting Close Up

It's an opportunity that only crops up once every four years: drupa 2012 could not be staged at a better time for Gallus Stanz- und Druckmaschinen GmbH. At the Dusseldorf fair, packaging printers and folding carton manufacturers will have a chance to experience an extremely flexible solution for inline carton converting with high-quality finishing from a carton or plastic roll. Gallus will show the modular Gallus ICS 670 inline machine system, with a maximum print width of 670 mm (26.4") and enhanced with numerous innovations, at Stand A45 in Hall 2.

A high level of automation, short set-up and make-ready times, no-compromise quality and process flexibility, and openness to modular growth in the future are the hallmarks of the Gallus ICS 670. The inline production process is completed without any manual intervention – from the roll to flat-bed processing of the cut blanks. These manifold benefits and capabilities can be witnessed live at the exhibition stand several times a day in demonstrations geared to the needs of typical folding carton production shops.

Make way for the Gallus ICS 670

The 40 m long drupa line will be configured with a non-stop large-roll unwinder for rolls with a diameter of 1800 mm, the new Gallus gravure unit, eight EVA (Easy Value Add) platforms for various modules, and the Gallus FCL 670 flat-bed die-cutter. The gravure printing unit complements the HiDef flexo printing, which is positioned by Gallus in the Gallus ICS 670 as the mainstream printing process.

The gravure printing unit is a brand new product that is specially tailored to the conditions in folding carton print shops where frequent job and ink changes are the norm. Gallus is by no means a newcomer to the gravure sector, however. The manufacturer was developing and installing gravure presses to meet packaging and decorative requirements as long ago as the 1980s.

Ingenious design and feature details predestine the new gravure unit for reliable, high-quality production whenever ergonomics and simple, to a large extent toolless make-ready are top priorities. All cylinder settings are controlled by powered drives, for instance. The unit also has a novel web length compensation device, which maintains a constant web tension if the impression roller has to be lifted for make-ready purposes such as to exchange the plate cylinder. The gravure unit can thus be converted on the fly without having to separate the carton web in order to change the cylinder. An ink changeover trolley containing all of the components needed to supply the gravure unit with ink means ink changes can be carried out conveniently by a single operator. The ink tray and doctor blade are automatically positioned by a motor relative to the plate cylinder. The gravure unit in the drupa configuration prints with impression cylinder sleeves and water based inks, which are dried in a 2 m long hot air dryer.

"SENSITIVE", the drupa demonstration job, comprises the high-end sales packaging for a haircare line, for which the gravure unit will print the background using a special red ink. The gravure printing process will be preceded in the production line by the cold foiling application, for which two EVA platforms are required (flexo printing module for applying the adhesive and cold foiling module). HiDef flexo printing modules will be in action to facilitate high-definition CMYK UV printing of images, graphics, and text as well as UV gloss coating. Finally, the "SENSITIVE" cartons will be given a special texture by applying a UV relief coating in a rotary screen process: the wavy pattern in the subject will be visually and tactilely raised. This step will take place in a screen printing module with a Gallus Screeny S-Line plate in the plate cylinder.

A vigilant eye

Another new option for the Gallus ICS 670 comes into play when the creased, cut, and separated blanks are obtained from the printed and finished carton web in the flat-bed processing system. In combination with a blank ejector in the transport section of the Gallus FCL 670 flat-bed die-cutter, the fully automatic, inline 100% quality control system eliminates the need to undertake manual inspections and remove faulty blanks superfluous. A monitoring unit positioned downstream of the last EVA platform and fitted with different camera systems continuously checks the printed image and the surface of the web for defects like color inconsistencies, registration errors, doctor blade streaks etc. Up to eight lanes of blanks can be individually monitored in this way and ejected on a lane-by-lane basis with no restriction on the blank length.

Quick job and version changes – live

A second demo job – an application from the food sector – will be used by Gallus to show quick job changes and several other exciting refinements. High-definition UV flexo printing in combination with various UV varnishes will play a dominant role in the "Zarentaler" carton. The HiDef flexo printing modules in the Gallus ICS 670 will be replaced with externally prepared modules in a matter of minutes. The Gallus team will also demonstrate the procedure for changing over from screen to flexo printing on an EVA platform.

The "Zarentaler" example will enable drupa visitors to see how version changes (text imprinting, design change) can be realized without stopping the press – also referred to as "flying imprint". A HiDef flexo printing™ module will be prepared with the new plate on a free EVA platform without interrupting production. Once the new printing unit has been run up to production speed, the transition from one unit to the other is completed in a fraction of a second – it really couldn't be simpler and with less waste.

The demonstrations by Gallus at drupa 2012 are designed to document how the Gallus ICS 670 inline machine system lives up to the claim "ultimate efficiency in folding carton converting" in every respect. Gallus will also seize the opportunity provided by the exhibition to present itself as a partner for the global folding carton industry and cast a spotlight on its proven expertise, application know-how, and first-class service.