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As published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media

Ink On Labels in Sasolburg specialises in labels for the FMCG, chemical and industrial markets. The company recently upgraded its factory and invested in new technology and machinery to improve its efficiencies and basket variety, helping to increase its appeal to a broader corporate customer base and spread its risk.

Rotoflex VLI slitter rewinder

Managing Director, Henk Jacobs, explains that firstly the company’s old Mark Andy equipment has been running flat out for the past few years prohibiting them from being as flexible as they would like have been. ‘Secondly, our existing customers have been encouraging us to diversify our offering to include wraparound BOPP film and flexible packaging solutions. Quite a few customers are switching over with us from conventional self-adhesive labels to wraparound film now that we have the new Mark Andy Performance Series P5 press running. It’s exciting that we’re capable of printing sophisticated labels and film package decoration – and have no limits to what we can print flexographically in the future,’ Henk exclaims.

He explains that Ink On Labels considered a few suppliers but chose SArepco to supply the press after visiting the Mark Andy factory in the US to see how they build the machines and realising that their technology was way ahead of competitors. ‘Another major factor in our decision-making process was SArepco’s track record of quality after sales and backup service’.

Paul Bouwer from SArepco explains this servo-driven Mark Andy Performance Series P5 eight-colour full combo press with QCDC (Quick Change Die Cut) technology and advanced waste wind up is the first of its kind in South Africa.

‘The new Mark Andy QCDC station allows the operator to safely and quickly (in 60 seconds or less) slide the heavy die in from the side with the cassette-based system – rather than from above as on the older equipment, which usually requires a heavy lifting or a hoist. This limits die damage caused by cumbersome loading and unloading processes,’ says Paul.  ‘Hydraulic pressure automatically positions and sets die pressure, while the die throw-off capability speeds up the setting of die registration and reduces time wasted on setting up.

Mark Andy Performance Series

The Performance Series P5 press can accommodate very short, medium and long print runs. ‘Its servo-based platform offers benefits, such as repeatable settings that maintain quality from job to job, an intelligent auto-registration system and an automatic load-and-lock inking system that combines several steps in one quick motion,’ he maintains.

This performance model’s strong, rail system allows for countless configurations. It, for instance, has a rail-mounted foiling unit that can move to any position for cold foiling applications.

Henk highlights other features which include, a full corona treater to ensure ink adherence on filmic materials, an extended web path on the final print station for increased UV gloss at high speeds, a rail mounted movable web turn bar that allows printing on the back before turning the label to print on the front section, lamination/gluing of two films to ensure there’s protection and anti-scuffing properties for the back and front of each label.

To ensure the photopolymer printing plates are mounted correctly before they get to the new P5 press, the company invested in a JM Heaford Cobra ELS video plate mounter. Production manager, Willem van Straaten, explains that zooming in with its cameras allows for magnification on items like the registration mark, ensuring the colours are superimposed correctly on top of each other. ‘This increased accuracy is important because it assists workflow optimisation by wasting less machine time and paper.’

Further improvements

Ink On Labels also started with renovations in April to move its large screen printing unit/dryer for its hazardous chemical and safety labels to the opposite end of the factory. This allowed the team to create a dedicated inspection and finishing area that houses its old and new Rotoflex high-speed inspection, slitting and rewinding machines.

Ink On Labels Tyran Fourie

‘We invested in a new servo Rotoflex VLI 440e machine, supplied by SArepco in June, to allow us to move from 10” (254mm) to 17” (432mm) width rolls. The machine has dual “Quick Change” rewind shafts for handling those large diameter rolls needed in automatic label applications. It supports 40mm, 3” (76mm) and 6” (153mm) cores on the rewind and a roll diameter of 1 000mm on the unwind section,’ explains Willem. ‘Other beneficial features include a roll lift for on-board unwind because we can’t pick these big rolls up manually; improved operator control and comfort; active static eliminator; automatic calibration and improved access to the web path for maximising set-up time, reducing waste levels and improving change over efficiencies.’

Paul adds: ‘This fully servo-driven machine is highly automated, runs at speeds of up to 610m/min, and has fast cycle times because of its quick acceleration and deceleration capabilities. All these factors result in massive productivity gains, playing a major role in convincing Ink On Labels to buy the machine.’

Ink On Labels also switched from manual ink mixing to a computerised ink management system on July 1. ‘THink 2000, from the Flint Group Narrow Web, manages ink remixing, waste handling, batch ticketing/tracking, job costing and inventory control at the push of a button. Henk explains: ‘The software clearly shows the mixing process as each ink is added, monitoring use levels and automatically deducting the stock used from our inventory. Not only does this help with accuracy and traceability, we also have better control measures with one person managing and issuing the ink stock. In addition, the computerised ink management system assists us in depleting old stock through rework and creating other colours.’

All photos courtesy of PACKAGiNG & Print Media.

Caption 1st photo: Senior rewinder, Joseph Kalake, Willem van Straaten and Loyiso Ngqameni at the Rotoflex VLI 440 high-speed inspection, slitting and rewinding machine.

Caption 2nd photo: Director, Loyiso Ngqameni; Managing Director, Henk Jacobs and Production Manager, Willem van Straaten inspecting the first wraparound BOPP label job on the Mark Andy Performance Series P5 press. Its modular servo platform can be configured to support a variety of film and pressure-sensitive applications.

Caption 3rd photo: Senior rewinder, Joseph Kalake, Willem van Straaten and Loyiso Ngqameni at the Rotoflex VLI 440 high-speed inspection, slitting and rewinding machine.