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BOBST - CI flexo presses

BOBST has actively contributed to the development of the printing industry over a period of 125 years and today its Fischer & Krecke range is dedicated to producing web-fed, CI flexo printing presses for the flexible materials industry.
Cutting edge technology and high manufacturing standards ensure premium print quality and long-lasting value. With their varied repeat lengths and medium to super-wide printing widths, BOBST CI flexo presses meet the requirements of the most demanding package printing applications.

MW 85F / 125F
Minimum waste. Maximum quality.
20SIX
Intelligent design. Intelligent economics
40SIX
Premium flexo for large volumes
90SIX
Premium Flexo for Preprinted Linerboard
 

CI flexo printing process

Flexographic printing

Flexographic printing is a method which uses a flexible relief plate to print onto a substrate, which may be a wood-pulp based, synthetic, or laminated material. Such substrates may include:
  1. Films such as polyester, OPP, nylon, and PE
  2. Papers
  3. Carton board
  4. Non-woven textiles
  5. Coated or un-coated liner board
Today's flexo printing presses use photopolymer printing plates containing a mirror relief image of the required print. The raised areas on the plate have ink applied to them by an anilox roller and then transfer it onto the substrate.
 

Press types and process description

There are three different architectures for flexographic printing presses, depending on the arrangement of the printing units, which may also be called printing decks:
  1. Central impression, or CI, flexo presses: where the decks are arranged around a single, large diameter impression cylinder
  2. Stack flexo presses: where the decks are stacked one above the other
  3. In-line flexo presses: where the print units are laid out horizontally in a line
In a modern flexographic press, each print unit comprises of:
  1. Anilox roller: a cylinder of highly engineered metal and/or ceramic, which is laser engraved with minute cells of a given angle, line screen, and volume to deliver the required fineness of print
  2. Chambered doctor blade system: a device that delivers a measured amount of ink to the cells of the anilox roller
  3. Plate cylinder: which the printing plate is mounted upon
  4. Impression cylinder: a sleeve that supports the substrate as the printing plate is pressed against it
  5. Inking system: ink holding tank, ink pump with delivery and return ink lines, plus other elements to ensure the maintenance of ink supply and viscosity
Between the print units, driers may be installed so that subsequent colors can be applied to the substrate without merging into those previously printed. These driers may utilize hot air, infra red or ultra-violet light, depending on the application.

During the printing process, the ink is pumped into the ink chamber of the doctor blade system. Two blades within the ink chamber, the barrier blade and the doctor blade, seal either end and confine the ink to the chamber while it is in contact with the anilox roller. As the anilox roller rotates, the cells in contact with the doctor blade system collect ink, and then any surface excess is removed as the roller passes under the doctor blade. As the anilox rotates, its surface comes into contact with the raised areas of the printing plates mounted on the plate cylinder, transferring the ink. The printing plate then rotates and transfers the image onto the substrate.
 

Applications

The applications of CI flexo printing include the manufacture of flexible and aluminum packaging, pre-print liners and labels, plastic and paper bags, heavy duty paper sacks, and shrink sleeves.
 

Process advantages

The flexo printing press offers users a number of advantages, not least that the most readily available inks are water based and therefore easier to work with and faster to dry.
The manufacture of flexo printing plates is relatively straightforward and the process is also easily adaptable to a wide range of substrates.
The high print quality and registration accuracy of CI (Central Impression) flexo printing is well established, while recent developments among in-line flexo printing presses have meant that flexographic presses are now able to compete against gravure and litho machines in areas such as fiber-board packaging manufacture.


BOBST expertise and knowledge

BOBST, with its Fischer & Krecke products, is the recognized technology leader in CI flexo printing for the flexible material and pre-printed linerboard industries.
Beyond the well-equipped standard configuration, all Fischer & Krecke flexo presses can be fitted with a multitude of additional technical options which adapt the press to specific production requirements and to the competitive advantage of users.
Innovative handling and maintenance concepts guarantee a unique degree of machine availability and reliability while minimizing the risk of operating errors. Additionally, every machine is supported by a comprehensive range of technical service and customer support solutions available from BOBST’s world-wide support network.
 

Processed materials

1. Paper

Paper is a fibre-based material produced from wood, rags or organic material. The types of paper used in the packaging and graphic arts industries typically use wood and/or recycled paper and board, which is then chemically or mechanically processed to produce cellulose pulp. This pulp is bleached and processed in a paper making machine to produce reels of paper which may optionally be coated or finished to provide a better surface and/or improved visual appearance.
Paper may be between 0.07 mm and 0.18mm thick, with paper for printing and packaging applications generally being in a range between 60 and 120 gsm. The crossover point between paper and board is normally considered to be around 160 grams per square meter (gsm), as it is only at this level that a fibrous material is likely to be stiff and rigid enough to make a container.
Paper has a wide range of industrial applications including use for the packaging of products as diverse as confectionery and cigarettes, as a component in packaging laminates, and for many commercial print uses.
 

2. Carton board

Carton board (also called cardboard, paperboard or solid board) is the name for a range of paper based materials that includes folding box board (FBB, GC or UC), solid bleached board (SBB, SBS, or GZ), solid unbleached board (SUB or SUS), white lined chipboards (WLC, GD, GT, or UD), some unlined chipboards, and certain laminated boards.
To manufacture carton board, fibrous material, either from trees, recycled paper, or a mixture of the two, is turned into pulp. It is then bleached and processed in a board making machine to create a board consisting of one or more layers, which may optionally be coated to provide a better surface and/or improved visual appearance.
The crossover point between paper and board is normally considered to be around 160 grams per square meter (gsm), as it is only at this level that a fibrous material is likely to be stiff and rigid enough to make a container.
Cartonboard is primarily used in the packaging industry to produce all types of folding cartons, but may also be used for graphics applications. For folding cartons the board used will normally be in the range 200 to 600gsm, or 350 to 800 microns.
 

3. Linerboard

Liner board is a paper product made up of layers of chemically and/or mechanically processed wood pulp along with added coatings.
Similar to carton board, paperboard, cardboard, kraft board, and solid board, the product is used extensively in the packaging industry.
Liner board is generally found in grammages from 120 g/m2 to 800 g/m2.
Some liner boards use solely virgin wood pulp, while others include recycled paper fibers. Liner board may be bleached or unbleached depending on the application.
 

4. Film

A film is usually characterized as a thin synthetic resin layer. There are many types of films and their use depends on their physical and chemical properties, which make them especially suitable for a given application.
The most commonly used plastic films are low density polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), bioriented polypropylene (BOPP), and polyester (PET).
Printed film is used for packaging, display materials, stickers, seals, and a wide range of other graphic applications.
Films are generally characterized by their basis weight, expressed in g/m²; and thickness, expressed in microns. For some films it is also useful to know their density, expressed in g/cm3.
The increasing awareness of environmental issues is intensifying research into film substrates derived from renewable sources that are compostable. 
 

5. Aluminium foil

Aluminum is produced from bauxite, an ore abundant in nature. From the rolling mill, aluminum foils emerge with a natural shiny finish, almost as bright as a mirror, but also can be produced with an as-rolled, satin-like finish called matte.
Aluminum foil has all of the unique functional characteristics of the aluminum alloy from which it is made.
Because of its exceptional barrier properties, aluminum foil is used across a wide range of flexible and other packaging applications to protect foods, drugs, cosmetics, and a lengthy list of other items, most often in combination with other packaging materials.
 

6. Laminates

A laminate is a material that can be constructed by bringing two or more layers of material together. This can include different material combinations from a wide spectrum of flexible substrates including thin aluminum foil, film, and paper. These materials have different physical properties and varying thicknesses that combine to provide the required barrier performance.
Converted single- or multi-layer webs are used in a number of industries, from the packaging of food and non food products to industrial applications including the photovoltaic industry.
 

7. Non-woven

Non woven textiles are unique, high-tech, engineered fabrics made from fibers.
In combination with other materials, or used alone, non wovens are used to create a wide range of consumer and industrial products with diverse properties, including:- absorbent hygiene products; apparel; home furnishings; healthcare and surgical fabrics; construction, filtration, and engineering materials; and wipes.

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