Modern Narrow Web Presses Drive Efficiency, Maximize Productivity

Efficiency throughout the pressroom has forever been the guiding light in the development of printing presses.

Today’s models are designed to maximize the profitability of short-run conversion of film and paper structures for pouches, sachets, stickpacks, wrap-around and shrink sleeves.

A complete job changeover on an 8-color UV press can be performed in approximately 10 minutes, with waste generated in makeready equating to less than 100-ft. of substrate.
All photos courtesy of Nilpeter

Critical componentry speaks to automation, interconnectivity, data storage, quick makeready and more. Including:

  • With job memory and auto-register, operators can efficiently set up the press and recall settings to produce sellable product quickly, with less waste and higher quality
  • Overall efficiency is evident in the integration of UV, solvent or e-beam lamination, enabling inline construction of various types of flexible packaging
  • Lightweight tooling relies on sleeves instead of printing cylinders, eliminating multiple gears and format rings
  • Landscape design enables very precise impression of dot-to-substrate transfers
  • No handles or mechanical interfaces on the print head means the operator does not have to adjust impression or positions—this is done with a computer tablet placed on each unit
  • All positions—tensions and torque parameters for instantaneous recall—are stored in the job file, guaranteeing 100 percent accuracy for recall with zero variance
  • Closed doctor chamber systems maintain a zero-pressure chamber, guaranteeing no leaking of inks

The story does not stop there. Recent innovations that continue to drive productivity enhancement on press have been met with widespread acceptance. Printers’ wish lists have been populated by requests/demands for:

  • Temperature conditioning systems that are designed to deliver capabilities like bringing inks up to process temperature before printing—and keeping this temperature constant until the print job is done. Optimum temperature is adjusted on the main panel—and stored in the job bank for repeat consistency and quick changeovers
  • Incorporation of sleeve anilox rollers, instead of cylinders, that leads to a more operator-friendly system with side mounting easily accommodating repeat ranges of 12-in. to 32-in.
  • State-of-the-art machines capable of performing a complete job changeover on an 8-color UV press in approximately 10 minutes
  • Waste generated in makeready that is often less than 100-ft. of substrate
    Likened to unibody manufacturing, eight motors drive and control each print head on Nilpeter’s FA-26 press, with closed-loop feedback to the PLC.

Example & Experience

One example: Nilpeter’s FA-26 mid web press. Billed as highly versatile, it offers the option of choosing mercury UV, UV LED curing, solvent- or water-based inks, or combinations of all of these.

On this particular press, eight motors drive and control each print head with closed-loop feedback to the PLC. Plus, the printhead frame is one unit and likened to a unibody manufacturing process; via “Clean-Inking,” it maintains constant temperature of the inks along with consistency in density over time and run length.

Furthermore, every print head has a free-running impression cylinder separate from the chill roll. The chill roll has a very long contact to the web and is equipped with a precision servo drive that keeps the tension constant from print head to print head, ensuring proper chilling and register for a multitude of sensitive substrates.

The first FA-26 was installed last year with TQL Packaging Solutions in Dallas, TX. TQL is effectively running jobs at or below 25,000-ft., setting up faster than its narrower equipment with setup automation, and doubling the speeds it regularly runs on 16-in. presses.

Scott Smith, owner and president, explains: “We are noticing far better efficiencies in setup and less waste, even with a much wider web than we’re used to running… The market for what the machine can do is so much greater than what we estimated. Between new work and cutting in on traditional gravure business, the future looks bright for our business.”

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Nilpeter. For additional information on Nilpeter’s current narrow web and mid web product lines, visit the company’s website.