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Printing press manufacturer organizes Open House event at DRUPA 2012

During DRUPA 2012, Dutch printing press manufacturer MPS Systems bv organized an Open House event at its location in Didam/NL. This gave interested parties an opportunity during the trade fair to visit the company on any day they wished, morning or afternoon, after booking in advance. For this purpose, MPS organized a shuttle service to pick visitors up right in front of the north entrance to DRUPA. The supporting programme for the event included a presentation, a machine demonstration and a sight-seeing tour of the works. We were also able to make new contacts during the trip, and ETIKETTENLABELS took the opportunity to visit MPS on the morning of 11 May 2012.

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After we arrived and were welcomed by MPS, some key data about the company were presented. We learned that the printing press manufacturer was founded in 1996 by BERT VAN DEN BRINK and ERIC HOENDERVANGERS and, besides its main location in Didam, it has agencies in Oldenburg/D, Wigan/GB, Brookfield, WI/USA and Santiago de Chile/RCH. Its portfolio consists of narrow-web combination machines for printing labels, flexible packaging materials and folding cartons.

These printing systems also integrate a number of functions that further enhance print quality. These include Crisp.Dot, for example, which provides minimal dot gain and sharp printing of smaller fonts, using a non-driven rubber-coated impression roller. Web tension rollers are driven instead, resulting in a tension-free zone between pressure cylinder and counterpressure cylinder that positively influences printing qualities - besides extending the useful lifetime of printing plates. Multi-Drive servo technology is used to drive the web tension rollers. It transports the web independently of the printing and converting stations so that accurate web velocity and constant web tension can be attained.

An additional option for a variety of printing presses is Nonstop Print Change. The servo drive system allows printing sleeves to be exchanged while the machine is running. This lets the operative swop between variant motifs without having to stop the machine.

Rapid retooling

Following the brief introduction, we were led into the demonstration room where a type EF flexo printing press had been set up. The system on show, which had a web width of 420 mm (printing width 410 mm), was developed for printing labels and flexible packaging materials. It reaches a maximum printing speed of 200 m/min and is fitted with eight print units that use printing sleeves. Further integrated were UV curing systems by GEW, two cutting stations by Kocher + Beck, and freely positionable coating modules. The printing forme was inked by Lean Inking technology. This ink chamber design combines the advantages of open and closed systems. In contrast to the standard EF print unit, it dispenses with a dipping roller. An advantage of the Lean Inking process is that it prevents quality blemishes like ink spitting and ink misting. Various jobs with differing numbers of colours (CMYK + special colours), coating and cold foil embossing, set up by the printers RENÉE BERENDS and RICHARD MEURS, were selected for the demonstration. They showed how the Automatic Print Control system and the job store function can speed up equipping and re-equipping operations, while cutting down on waste paper. This way, just 39m of material was consumed in setting up the first print job. Visitors were given an opportunity to select printing substrates themselves.

Long line for packaging printing applications

After the demonstration of the EF flexo printing press, we were guided through the production halls, where we had a look at the various processing stations for the individual internally produced machine components and at final make-up. A special highlight was the shell of an EXL packaging printing press. This is one of the longest machines the company has ever built, being fitted with twelve print units for flexo and rotogravure applications. It also has hot-air driers to permit the use of water-based and solvent-based inks, and an inline laminating unit. The purchaser of the machine is Folienprint GmbH, based in Gallin/D. Folienprint is part of the Rako Group, has around 100 employees, and has specialized in printing shrink sleeves and flexible packaging materials. Older installations that MPS was upgrading at the request of clients could also be seen, along with other printing presses still under construction. So we were able to examine an elderly printing press that was being overhauled for a Korean company. A great number of interested parties exploited the opportunity to participate in the Open House event, so by the time DRUPA ended, MPS had chalked up around 200 visitors from 45 nations. Apart from interesting discussions and insights into printing-press technology, the event also gave everyone a chance to escape the stress of the fair for half a day. Because of its success, the Open House event is to be repeated at the next DRUPA (2-15 June 2016). Until then, we'll have to wait and see how the innovative technologies of MPS further develop.

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