During Converflex 2013 Uteco Group organized an open house to present a live demo of the results of its partnership with Kodak to overprint variable data on flexo jobs inline, plus the quality levels achieved with the adoption of DuPont™ Cyrel® DSP plates and related workflow.

Converflex – it is a longstanding tradition – exhibitors draw advantage from the concentration of buyers from all over the world to organize visits to their works and give live demonstrations of the most interesting machines. Uteco never misses the opportunity and this year in particular had a lot to present: the richest flexo printing machine configurations for packaging and, aboveall, the results obtained working with two high-ranking partners, Kodak and DuPont.
The Uteco-Kodak partnership
On May 10th, at its Converdrome® Skill Center, Uteco showed the results of an innovative project for hybrid printing carried out with Kodak, to respond effectively to the growing demand for quality prints customised with variable data. Many the applications, as sales director & category manager Kodak Italy digital printing solutions Riccardo Passerini recalled for the occasion: from addresses to lottery tickets, from barcodes and QR codes to packaging and advertising, but also books and newspapers, maps, and virtually any other type of printed product.
At Colognola ai Colli attention was focused on a Uteco latest generation flexographic Onyx 810 EB2 with EB drying, fitted with two Kodak Prosper S20 inkjet heads, top of the range in quality and effectiveness. The heads of the Kodak Prosper S series overprint work already printed with other technologies, in this case flexo, at different speeds and resolutions (the model S20 reaches 600 m/min). Moreover, they can be placed in any point of the line, easily integrating into existing manufacturing processes, obtaining hybrid printing inline in a single pass.
Quality and costs: some figures. The two inkjet heads operating at the Uteco technology center print in black plus a color at 400 m/min (inline with the speed of Onyx on which they were mounted), with a resolution of 600×300 dpi, print width 10.56 and pigmented or waterbased inks.
The Kodak Stream Inkjet Technology enables the reproduction of high-quality images and long life not only with hand use and coated papers, including glossy coated, but, thanks to a special primer, even on flexible plastic films: a goal this, achieved by the joint work of the Kodak team and Uteco in six months of testing and verification. The technology in question uses a continuous flow of ink that is dispensed from the nozzles of the print head; this stream is broken down into individual droplets, “shot” at high speed and extremely high accuracy, to form particularly sharp, bright and colored images. The inkjet heads, placed after the flexo printing, can be moved along the width of the coil, according to the point where the overprinting of image data or variables is to be carried out. With an extra advantage: if cost has always been the Achilles heel of variable data printing in high volumes, the Kodak Prosper S systems are proposed as fully compatible with the most varied applications, not only in commercial printing or publishing but, integrated with flexography, also in packaging.
DuPont plates + Kiss & Go
The other demo organized by Uteco was i to show the results obtained by mounting the new DuPont™ Cyrel® DSP plate and the DuPont™ Cyrel® DigiFlow workflow on a central drum Onyx 108 (10 colors, light 1300 mm) specifically designed for flexible packaging. The prints were made on 20 micron white BOPP and, after a fast job change, on 20 micron transparent BOPP, at a speed of 450 m/min.
The work has shown the quality obtained with these digital plates, launched last year at Drupa, which are characterized by the textured surface, formulated to achieve high print density, a minimum sized dot and low crushing. They also provided a further demonstration of the effectiveness of the Kiss & Go® printing pressure setting system (developed and patented by Uteco along with Grafikontrol) to obtain fast starts with scraps of just a few meters.
The Onyx 108 demoed was also equipped with: automatic SprintWash® printing unit cleaning systems; Gama viscometers integrated into the machine’s HMI; a Rossini central drum cleaning system; a 5 meter drying tunnel with two gas burners plus Nira automatic air recirculation system with LEL; BST’s QCenter 100% viewing and inspection system; onboard machine SmartMatch® color formulation.