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Labels give products their unique identity and boost the impulse to buy at the point of sale. The label market combines a share of some five percent of the worldwide print volume of around EUR 400 billion with great growth potential. This is why Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) decided to present its extensive portfolio around label production at not one, but two events in September. Gallus, a subsidiary of Heidelberg, demonstrates all the possibilities around digital and conventional label printing as well as digital finishing in the narrow-web field at Labelexpo in Brussels (link to the Gallus digital press folder). At the Label Day at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site, visitors saw complete production workflows for wet-glue and in-mold labels (IML) on Speedmaster machines.
The IML production showcase featured not one, but two world premieres. With the FoilStar Cure, it is now possible for the first time to realize the reliable application of cold foil on IML foils across the entire run on a Speedmaster XL 106. The new IML Performance Package significantly increases productivity. Visitors to the Label Day, however, also got to experience the production of wet-glue labels live in two workflows, one on a Speedmaster XL 75 eight-color double-coating Anicolor press with Multicolor, and one on a Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color double-coating perfecting press with FoilStar for applying cold foil. In both cases, finishing took place on an Easymatrix 106 FC for hot foil embossing. The quality inspection was performed by a Diana Eye 55.
“At the Label Day, we showcase our technological innovativeness in this important market segment,” explained Stephan Plenz, Member of the Management Board responsible for Digital Technology at Heidelberg. “The machines are precisely matched to the customer’s respective requirements, and help the customer to achieve profitable production in the growth market of labels. With our modular printing systems in offset, digital and flexo technology, on the web or on sheets, we can meet the customer needs of the label world in an innovative and economically efficient way”.
In-mold labeling (IML) is currently the most modern labeling technology for plastic packagings, and the IML volume is growing at a rate of over four percent per annum on average. More than two thirds of global production are used for food packagings, with packagings in the cosmetics, chemical, and automotive industry making up the rest. Demand in the market for metallic effects on in-mold labels is growing.
Up to now it has not been possible to produce metallic finishing effects with cold foil in sheetfed offset on IMLs in a 100 % UV process in a stable way. The Russian label printer Prof Press from Rostov-on-Don needed precisely such finishings on cold foil, and got in touch with Heidelberg to see what it could do. The developers from Heidelberg have now succeeded in implementing a new process for sheetfed on a Speedmaster XL 106.
This involves adding an LED UV adhesive to the substrate in the first printing unit and then applying the cold foil in the second printing unit. The highlight is a modified cold foil web guide with a long wrap angle on the impression cylinder, which enables the adhesive and cold foil to be cured as one by an LED UV dryer. The adhesive/cold foil combination is then overprinted with LED UV inks and UV coating. This produces better adhesion of the cold foil, and thus also high process stability, and a much higher metallic gloss.
The machine for the customer Prof Press – a Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color press with coating unit – was now presented for the first time at the Label Day. It is precisely tailored to the requirements of the printing company and equipped with the new FoilStar Cure, the CutStar roll sheeter, and three LED UV interdeck dryers. The visitors to the Label Day were impressed by the high quality of the results. Another factor in this were the Saphira consumables optimally matched to the process and the machine. The printing press was incorporated into a production workflow with the Speedmaster XL 106-DD rotary die-cutter. The die-cut labels were then finished using the TRX 1100 blank separator from Kawahara.
Before this point, there were several tests with the machine, in which the printers from Prof Press were heavily involved. The machine will be installed in Russia at the beginning of next year. According to Prof Press, the printing company intends to use it to offer jobs with new metallic finishing effects for differentiation at the point of sale, and to service even more customers in this growing specialized market. The new solution is all the more important for Prof Press because it looks after the molding process itself in-house, and cold foil is particularly suitable for this. During this process, the printed label made from polypropylene is placed into a casting mold bearing the shape of the final product (e.g. a tumbler or a paint bucket). Then the liquid polymer is injected into the casting mold, where it fuses with the label and takes on the shape of the casting mold during the curing process. The label and packaging form an inseparable unit and a smooth, edge-free surface.
For the second world premiere, Heidelberg showcased its new IML Performance Package at the Label Day. This has been developed specifically for thin cold foils with a grammage of 45 µm to 100 µm to enable stable processing with high speed and maximum performance. The new package was demonstrated on a Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color press with coating unit and the CutStar roll sheeter. The package consists of special modifications in the feeder and in the delivery, a modified sheet transfer between the individual units, and antistatic devices. The first users of this package achieve a significantly improved net output in practice, and have already ordered additional machines with this equipment.
Visitors to Heidelberg Label Day saw a world premiere: FoilStar Cure now makes it possible for the first time to realize the reliable application of cold foil on IML foils across the entire run on a Speedmaster XL 106.
The new IML Performance Package – used here on a Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color press with coating unit – significantly boosts productivity.
Fascinated visitors watch the printing unit with the FoilStar on Label Day…
… and the achievable metallic effects.
Almost 200 participants attended Heidelberg’s International Label Day.
Visitors to Label Day also experienced the production of wet-glue labels, as here on a Speedmaster XL 75 eight-color double coating Anicolor with multicolor.
The Diana Eye 55 was responsible for quality control for wet glue labels.