There were several important themes or threads revealed by the Labelexpo in Brussels including the serious interest in extended gamut printing using 7-colors, the mainstreaming of digital label presses, the use of web-fed label or label-like presses for producing cartons and flexible packaging, the use of offset printing on unsupported flexible substrates, and lastly the increased visibility of mid-web presses in almost all categories – digital, flexo, offset. However, the show stopper at Brussels this year was first time exhibitor Soma Engineering’s mid-web 620 cm-wide Optima CI flexo press – both because of its excellent location right at the centre of the exhibition and because its precise high quality printing and its quick and practically automated changeover demonstrations made for a terrific show.
Known as a wide web CI flexo manufacturer, Soma brought its 620 format CI flexo press (also available in 820 mm widths), optimized to run labelstock, paper and film packaging materials and aimed atin-mould and wrap-around labels, shrink sleeves, retort stand-up pouches and sachets as well as paper sacks, cups and plates.
Available in 620 and 820 mm widths in up to eight colors, the Optima 620 8-color press at Labelexpo was demonstrated at speeds up to 300 metres a minute with a rewind that included slitting labels into five rolls. The fast web changeover for reverse printing with intelligent impression adjustments to reduce start-up waste was shown. In addition Soma’s new, award- winning print cartridge system for spot colors is a means of significantly reducing ink costs on printing jobs where expensive spot colors, special effect and metallic ink formulations are required.
Pavla Kusa, commercial director at Soma said to us, “The Optima short-run CI flexo was first shown at K2013 in Dusseldorf, and since then it has already achieved more than 30 installations in Ecuador, Poland, Portugal, France, Africa and the USA.” Kusa revealed that the Optima has a robust design based on a real monoblock and that the company expects to sell at least 24 presses of this design each year. “Unlike us, not many companies can control the manufacture of all the mechanical parts. We don’t want to earn money on the service; instead we want to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers.”
Senior Soma executive Dr Peter Lechner also gave a hint of the new wide web CI flexo press that Soma plans to show at drupa 2016 in Dusseldorf. “It will be a step ahead of the others in terms of quality and includes fast changeover and ink cartridge. ”While the name of the new press is still a secret, Lechner admitted that it will have a width between 1 and 1.5 metres.