Germany’s Sächsische Walzengravur GmbH (SWG), a Janoschka Group company, has invested in the new KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System for direct laser engraving of elastomer sleeves and plates.
The Frankenberg-based company opted for the innovative FLEXCEL Direct System following an in-depth evaluation, and will use it to enhance its already extensive CO² laser technology.
Founded in 1890, SWG has many years experience in direct laser engraving systems. With a workforce of 125 highly specialised employees, the company’s product range includes gravure and embossing forms, mechanical cylinder and roller manufacture, print forms for rotating screen printing, and sleeves for gravure and offset printing and special applications. A quarter of SWG’s turnover comes from flexographic printing forms, which the company produces for packaging printing, special applications and decorative printing, a field in which it is a market leader.
Direct laser engraving – a fine art
Jörg Günther, Sales Director of SWG, explains the company’s ongoing commitment to laser printing: “We’ve deliberately built up our direct laser printing technology over the years. The FLEXCEL Direct System is our latest addition and will play a key role in our strategy for using flexographic printing for high-end packaging.
“The FLEXCEL Direct System’s high resolution and innovative beam shaping mean we can achieve a significant improvement in engraving quality compared with CO² laser technology, and at the same time increase our productivity.
“These new technological advancements are helping us to compete more effectively with other suppliers of flexographic printing forms based on photopolymer plates.”
The FLEXCEL Direct System is a complete system, with high-end integrated components delivering optimal performance. The imager works with high-resolution, energy-efficient multi-channel laser diode technology (915nm) and 1,280W laser power. The Kodak TIFF Front End Software with 3D-workflow converts the single-bit raster information into three-dimensional engraving data, and into sleeves and plates with a system-specific elastomer formulation.
It’s this integrated approach that persuaded the SWG management team: “All in all, the FLEXCEL Direct System is a more innovative concept than other systems on the market,” continues Günther.
“Another important factor for us is the system’s reliability. And for added peace of mind, we can call on Kodak’s extensive service network in Germany.”
SWG will use the FLEXCEL Direct System to produce flexo sleeves and plates for customers in the high-resolution packaging printing sector. The company aims to increase sales by around 30% with these printing forms.
SWG is also exploring where it can use the new direct laser engraving system for other applications. For example, print forms for special products – including printed electronic components – and manufacturing high-end elastomer embossing forms.
Meike De Vos, Kodak’s Category Manager Flexographic Solutions & Proofing comments: “Increasingly higher quality is becoming the norm for flexible sleeve packaging and we are delighted the team at SWG recognise that the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System can and will meet theirs and their customer’s expectations. This is a growing market and following its investment SWG will be able to position itself as a leading partner of choice.”