Polytype America Corp.

WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is Readying an Important Technology for the Market

WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG has renamed itself. The new name WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG (based in Fribourg, Switzerland) means the company is now synonymous with customer-specific total solutions in the areas of printing, coating and converting. WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is providing yet another forward-looking technology that promises to appeal to many sectors, namely, water-based industrial ink-jet digital printing on plastics, aluminum and paper substrates.

The new name WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG expresses the enormous breadth of the portfolio of this company, which is part of the Swiss-based wifag//polytype Group. At WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG, software and automation expertise are now together under a single roof with mechanical engineering and materials know-how.

Here is what "total solutions from WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG" means:

  • Mechanical engineering for printing, coating and converting machines geared exactly to what customers want;
  • Conventional and digital process solutions developed in partnership with customers;
  • own automation and control station technology;
  • own software and ink-jet inks and primers developed in-house.

All this was made possible by the strategic purchasing of specialized companies begun in 2007 and the ongoing expansion of our existing team of experts. Polytype Converting AG will initially remain a subsidiary but is expected to be merged with WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG in early 2015. The previous WIFAG and Polytype Converting subsidiaries located in Germany, China, the United States, and elsewhere will stay unchanged.

Inkjet printing demonstrated at open house

Jörgen Karlsson, CEO of WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG, presented his company's comprehensive range of capabilities for the first time at an open house held in Fribourg, Switzerland in early June 2014. It was attended by about 50 representatives of big, well-known companies from the international newspaper, packaging and coating industries.

The new pilot version of the Techma-4 printing press was shown in operation at this open house. It can print with water-based industrial ink-jet inks on plastic films, aluminum and paper-based substrates, e.g. food packaging. Other focal points of the open house for customers were the digital printing advances developed in-house and the new Competence Center Fluid Technologies. This center came about when WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG took on a complete R&D team from Ilford.

Broad portfolio and comprehensive expertise

A wealth of additional expertise has been accumulated in recent years at the two famous companies WIFAG and Polytype Converting. Both can look back on a long tradition, the former in newspaper printing, the latter in coating and converting technology. Both stand for unsurpassed Swiss quality in mechanical engineering.

The corporate group added drying technology, inter alia, to its portfolio on acquiring a majority stake in Pagendarm (Hamburg, Germany) in 2007 and digital printing on purchasing Spühl in 2008. Sales of the Virtu line of link-fault pass-through (LFP) machines had been largely discontinued. Nonetheless, the experts from Spühl formed the core for the new Digital Competence Center of the wifag//polytype Group, which opened up whole new possibilities to the entire corporate group. The Automation Competence Center has a similar story. There, the expertise of WIFAG and Solna (taken over in 2011) was recently supplemented by the addition of a team that had previously worked for EAE in Ahrensburg.

Other technology innovators emphasize PR and announcements whereas WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG does not. Jörgen Karlsson: "We have no song-and-dance shows at WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG." WIFAG and Polytype Converting have made great strides in advancing industrial digital printing. The Swiss printing and coating experts are probably the first to have gotten water-based ink-jet digital printing ready for the market, a technology that is also suitable for food packaging. WPT is currently working jointly with two different customers on solutions for printing on aluminum foil and on a total solution for printing on paper-based substrates. The latter is intended to replace a conventional intaglio printing process in this product segment soon.

In early 2014, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG took a final crucial step for guiding these projects to a successful close. It was at that time it took over the ten-person R&D team from Ilford Imaging, a Swiss company that had become insolvent. Lars Sommerhäuser and his team brought expertise in ink-jet inks, primer solutions and functional layers to WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG. The Swiss technology company can now offer precisely matched solutions without having to rely on outside ink experts, for example.

Customer projects and OEM partnerships

Besides these key developmental partnerships in coating and printing, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is of course already a successful supplier of OEM technology in its own right. For instance WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG provides the "digital engine" for the dmax digital off-line varnishing system from the Swiss manufacturer Steinemann.

In addition, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG makes available digital printing technology for the other companies in the wifag//polytype Group. As a result, Polytype AG has already been able to provide customers with the first digital printing machines for printing on plastic cups.

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