The integration of Gallus into HEIDELBERG is beginning to show impressive returns, starting with the Labelfire 340 hybrid press and now the Gallus One digital all-in-one label press, a jointly developed press and ecosystem. This new press is designed for the industry’s digital future and the new normal.
By David Zwang
The Gallus Group, originally formed as Schuster & Co. in 1925, produced a hand-powered printing press, which became their first label press, the Gallus Junior. In 1950 they introduced the first Gallus flexographic self-adhesive label press at the graphics trade fair in Chicago. In the 1970s, the company restructured their manufacturing processes and invested in NC machines (CNC) and continued to produce high quality flexographic presses for global distribution. In 1999, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (aka HEIDELBERG) acquired a 30% stake in Gallus and in 2014 acquired the remaining 70%, making Gallus a HEIDELBERG company.
HEIDELBERG is a brand that is ubiquitous with printing and packaging and has been since its founding in 1850. Today they have solidified their position as the sheetfed offset market leader with more than 40% of the installed market. Of that installed base, 65% is commercial and 35% is packaging. Offset presses, especially those that HEIDELBERG has been digitalizing, have a long future. Going forward, HEIDELBERG is expanding their position in packaging with both offset and flexo offerings beyond folding cartons and labels and surely corrugated and flexible packaging are not far behind.
The Gallus One
HEIDELBERG announced their new Gallus One digital all-in-one press at Labelexpo Americas as they continue to integrate and expand their label and packaging lines. This new all-digital roll-to-roll press has its roots in the Gallus/HEIDELBERG jointly-developed Gallus Labelfire 340 hybrid flexo/digital label press introduced in 2016. This new Gallus One roll-to-roll press prints at 70 m/min. with a 340mm printing width, which is on the wider side of many of the other all-in-one presses which tend image around 320mm. It uses Dimatix Samba printheads on printbars which are attached directly to the machine, so can achieve levels of print quality that match those of high-resolution offset printing. This is accomplished at a native (physical) resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi with a droplet size of just 2pl and four different available drop sizes, providing a visual resolution of 2400 x 2400 dpi. The printheads have integrated printhead capping and an automated ultrasonic cleaning system which can minimize manual cleaning and downtime.
The Gallus One prints CMYK-plus-White low-migration aqueous UV ink, which is compliant with Swiss Ordinance, Nestlé Guidance, Eupia, and GMP, making it ideal for indirect food contact and pharma applications. The white ink reaches an impressive 85% opacity at the full 70 m/min. production speed. The Gallus One design is focused on improved TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and ease of use. As such, they have designed it to be easily maintained, including a newly designed ink management system that allows ink replacement while the press is running without contamination. The ink cabinet is accessible from the operator’s side, making it easy for the operator to replace the ink while still monitoring the machine operation on its newly designed intuitive HMI (Human Machine Interface).
The new press includes a vision system to monitor and ensure the print quality. It provides live visual checking via web video while the press is running. It also performs automatic compensation for missing nozzles and automatic compensation for density variation. It allows the operator to adjust the register at the push of a button.
The Gallus One supports a wide range of substrates and to ensure continuous production, it has built-in automatic splice detection, which detects splices and lets them pass all printbars without the loss of register and speed. All of this in a compact 11 x 20.8-ft. footprint.
More Than Just a Press
Gallus One is designed to be a complete solution and not just a standalone print engine. One could say this is only the beginning as this new modular platform can spawn several variations in the future. Within the new Gallus One ecosystem, users have state-of-the-art inkjet technology, a new Gallus One inkset, sophisticated workflow software, and a new predictive press monitoring service to ensure minimum press downtime using HEIDELBERG Prinect. The ease of use includes ease of set-up as well. According to Dario Urbinati, Chief Sales and Service Director, Gallus Group, “With cloud capabilities inbuilt within Gallus One, you can not only enjoy remote set-up, but transparent performance monitoring and standardization across your press portfolio and manufacturing sites.”
The Gallus One machine will be installed and ready for demonstration by April 2023 in the Print Media Performance Training Center located at HEIDELBERG USA’s headquarters in Kennesaw, Ga.
Even More to Come at PRINTING United
While Labelexpo was primarily focused on label production with some shrink sleeve and flexible packaging evolving in, in a few weeks, we can expect to see magnitudes more of introductions of digital and analog packaging equipment, including the HEIDELBERG Smart Print Shop and the Speedmaster CX 104 with Push to Stop technology.
Zwang & Company
David Zwang travels around the globe helping companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach. He specializes in production optimization, strategic business planning, market analysis, and related services to companies in the vertical media communications market. Clients have included printers, manufacturers, retailers, publishers, premedia and US Government agencies.