At Grafitalia Apex was able to draw a highly positive balance (40 thousand cylinders sold in two years) of GTT inking technology. Here’s why.
Apex has invented a new process to transfer ink to the plate, which was launched at drupa in 2009 and has now been patented at European level, known as GTT (Genetic Transfer Technology). It is based on innovation of the engraving geometry and composition of the ceramics, combined with a modern laser equipment, and aims to make a significant contribution to the standardization and quality of the flexographic process, preventing at source typical flaws such as pinholing, halos, stains and poor dot resolution.
The technology. GTT technology is based on a patented geometric surface with open ended channels, which allows ink–to- plate metering with a low pressure, precise hydraulic method. In this way it optimizes performance and improves the control of the entire inking process. In particular, the elimination of the closed hexagonal cells reduces ink instability due to aeration, making the transfer of the fluid more uniform and monitorable, it also avoids over-inking due to excessive pressure placed on the hexagonal cells to extract the more viscous ink.
The GTT open ended channel reduces by more than 60% the area in which, in the traditional rollers, deposits of ink are formed, improving ink flow over the entire surface and guaranteeing uniform inking of the printing plate. The more regular dots, instead, are due to the open ended channels, that are narrower than the hexagonal cells thus offer greater support. These channels are also shallower (-30%), releasing the ink in a more uniform and complete manner and hence requiring less fluid and a lower viscosity. Lastly, with the GTT technology the pressurized ink no longer “explodes” out of the doctor blade chamber and air is no longer retained in the cells.
The advantages. Apex Italy Srl marketers give a very positive balance of how the technology has been received by the market: «Since we launched the GTT, at Drupa two editions ago – Silvia Caldiroli, sales and marketing head in Apex Italy, states – we have sold about 40 thousand cylinders at international level. A decisive contribution, even in Italy, was offered by the results of the tests conducted in the meantime, they have also definitely conquered the machine builders».
The new technology offers a string of advantages: «Against the initial investment – Caldiroli argues – the savings in running the system, lower ink consumption, less changeovers onboard machine and less cleaning at the end of work, are huge and ROI very quick indeed. You only have to do your sums. With traditional anilox closed-cell cell technology you have hundreds of combinations of screenings/volumes to choose from in order to get a good print on each specific occasion, while with GTT technology only two or three sizes suffice to do virtually all jobs on all types of machines. Hence the printer’s roll base is reduced down to just a few units».
Apex Group of Companies is the world's largest manufacturer of flexo metering rolls. In addition to the GTT series , it produces the traditional UltraCell and UltraCellPLUS anilox rolls and provides sleeves, gluing units as well as ink measuring-, product proofing and cylinder cleaning equipment.