The Features of Modern Flexographic Presses & Their Printer Benefits

In today’s ever-changing environment of printing and converting, customers are looking for the latest in technology and automation to keep ahead of consumer demands.

Manufacturers need to be at the forefront of these changes, ready to respond and provide solutions to their customers that will allow them to adapt easily to these challenges.

Uteco Hatzilambros Crystal CI
The new Crystal CI press achieves speeds of 1,968 fpm.
All photos courtesy of Uteco

At Uteco, we strive in researching and developing answers to the latest trends and providing innovative systems to customers designed to guarantee high quality standards, ergonomics and ease of use for today’s challenges. They include:

Shorter Runs

Quick changeover capability and setup of new jobs with the use of:

  • Kiss & Go 2.0 automatic impression setting, for low waste and quick setup time
  • Automatic Sprint Wash system for faster washup times (10 minutes or less)
  • Quick sleeve change system with the use of pneumatic sleeve push-off device for easy anilox and plate sleeve extraction
  • K-Register, a fully automatic register control for central impression (CI) flexographic presses, which registers automatically without operator intervention during each job startup

Customer Demands

Innovation is constant and affects the whole production cycle. In the manufacturing industry, innovating means reaching high automation, supporting people, new technologies and different customers’ needs.

An example of this is the development of calculation software called Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). It monitors efficiency data during the production cycle, giving the ability to keep non-productive times to a minimum. The individual pieces of equipment are connected to each other by a remote PC that receives and catalogs the information. Data collected is communicated to the manufacturer continuously and in real time.

Uteco Hatzilambros Saphire EVO Wide
Suitable for printing on various substrates, such as film, aluminum, paper, and board, the Sapphire Evo digital press is equipped with Ultrastream technologies, designed to print with digital, water-based inks.

Modern presses, like the new Crystal CI Press by Uteco, stand out for their automation systems, capable of reducing job changeover times and trimming waste on materials and inks used. It achieves a printing speed of 1,968 fpm. Standard configurations can include a front rewinder and unwinder that can be positioned face-to-face, allowing for a much more compact footprint and better management of the rolls.

These presses can be configured with optional equipment, including flexographic and inline rotogravure units and the application of UV, UV LED lamps and EB curing. They are the latest examples of meeting the demands of customer and brand owners who need new production tolls to successfully compete in global markets.

Some manufacturers also offer a robotic system for print sleeve, adaptor and anilox changes, making changeover much safer and faster for wide web and long repeat configurations.

In answering printers’ and converters’ near-constant calls for digital printing capability, machines like the Uteco Sapphire Evo Wide combine all the advantages of digital technology with superior print quality. Configurations are ideal for short and medium runs because they allow you to optimize production times, thanks to extremely fast job changeovers, reducing operating costs and keeping productivity high.

Uteco Hatzilambros Data Acquisition
A new data system is connected to the press, establishing the ability to acquire, process, and file all sensitive data for energy and ink consumption analysis and machine efficiency.

Suitable for printing on various substrates, such as film, aluminum, paper, and board, while paying great attention to the environmental impact, a press like the Sapphire Evo digital press is intentionally designed to print with digital, water-based inks.


Industry 4.0 is at the forefront in driving adoption of innovative technologies and solutions in internal processes, product design, production and development of intelligent systems for machine functioning.

Like other press manufacturers, Uteco is a promoter of the Industry 4.0 methodology, and all machines are manufactured within the Industry 4.0 optics.

Process control features that benefit from such an approach list out as follows:

  • On-press inspection: 100 percent camera web inspection systems with color control, bar code monitoring and roll-reporting systems
  • Roll-handling systems: These allow for the loading and unloading of rolls automatically, enabling loading of cores on the shaft on an expandable mandrel without operator assistance
  • Color management: By reading the image of reference and the printed image with a spectrophotometer, data is transferred to prepare the proper color correction. The proper quantity of color correction is given in the dispensing bucket and utilized by the printer to adjust the specific color directly on the press. The system helps reduce press downtime for color matching, allows for finetuning of colors near the press and can calculate the exact quantity of ink needed to assist in cost control. Reports can be produced for ink consumption and traceability
  • Data acquisition and analysis: This is a system that is connected to the press. It affords the ability to acquire, process, and file all sensitive data for the energy and ink consumption analysis and machine efficiency. The system automatically generates reports in PDF and CSV format by a web interface monitoring the complete state of the machine
Uteco Hatzilambros Digital Interfaces
Simplification of diagnostics via 24/7 remote assistance, with the use of augmented reality software, allows the operator to work hands-free.


Today’s press manufacturers have the capability to offer multiprocess configurations, such as a water-based/solvent-based ready press. Additionally, they can tailor, depending on a customer’s needs, inline processes of various configurations, such as inline lamination, inline slitting, and additional downstream units for front/backside printing in register for overprint varnish and coatings.

These units can be either UV, EB or hot air hoods, depending on application. There is also the option to integrate V-folder assembly units, as well as diecutting systems, inline with the press.

Remote, VR Assists

Many of today’s presses include a simplification of diagnostics and remote assistance available 24/7 through an advanced remote session with the use of augmented reality software. This allows the operator to work hands-free during remote assistance with technicians and have access to digital manuals, 3D drawings, PLC diagnostic consultation and much more.

With the help of digital interfaces that machines have, customers have a constant communication channel during remote support. In addition to the digital services, traditional support channels are also available at all hours of the day.

About the Author

Tom Hatzilambros is a sales specialist for Uteco North America. He has held the position for more than seven years. Hatzilambros is a graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, MA.