A slice of Italy’s converting valley

Rotomec Open House at San Giorgio Monferrato


Rotomec’s 9-colour RS 4004X gravure printing press equipped with the unique Total Automtic Pre-register Setting (TAPS) feature for automatic cylinder pre-register setting was demonstrated at the Open House to illustrate the latest advances aimed at successfully reducing waste in gravure printing. The RS 4004X gravure demonstration comprised printing two 6-colour jobs on PET substrates, with a change of colour on an off-line unit during printing, showing the gravure cylinder pre-washing sequence, a fully automatic splice, the automatic and simultaneous changeover of 6 trolleys, the replacement of the doctor blade holder and splash guards on two printing units.
The RS 4004X is the new high-tech update of the RS 4000 press with a view to reduce waste and environment impact. The fully automatic press is available in two versions — with shaftless or shafted cylinders. In addition to the demonstrations illustrating the ease and speed of the different work sequences which provide for very fast job make-ready and changeovers, Rotomec’s developments in the integration of electronic line shaft technology and register control were of interest to the more than a dozen attendees on the afternoon that we attended.

The entire automated cylinder changeover process was fascinating and particularly the Total-Automatic-Pre-register-Setting feature, which successfully reduces waste in gravure printing to unprecedented levels at press make-ready and changeovers. TAPS provides a totally reliable pre-register system whereby cylinders can be inserted in any angular position and with only a single control touch it starts the press, moves all the cylinders in register position and switches the register control into automatic mode, whether it is a new or repeat job.

The TAPS function works very fast, completing the presetting procedure in a matter of few minutes by reading a dedicated pattern printed on the web and phasing each cylinder accordingly: simply, rapidly and completely error-free. The extremely rapid and efficient register performance to integration of Rotomec electronic shaft technology and Registron S 5100 register control via the High Dynamic Interface function results in as much as five time faster register correction. The HDI register correction took place in one cylinder revolution and it happens because the system is able to move the cylinders without moving the material web. TAPS is unique on the market to date, and it could even be retrofitted to the five 4003 gravure presses already installed in the Indian market and also to the 4004 press installed at ITC’s plant near Chennai.

TAPS guarantees the repeatability of the minimum start up waste because it is the first register presetting based only on what is printed on the web. For this reason TAPS is totally independent of operators skill, web path configuration, parameters adjustment and there is no need of manual operation or special tools. Together with the other visitors viewing a large screen mounted on the machine fairing, we were also impressed by the accuracy and stability of register control at all stages of production including the speeding up and slowing down of the press.

Also demonstrated at the Open House event was Rotomec’s latest generation solventless laminator – the SL 850. The SL 850 is the version dedicated to solventless applications of Rotomec’s very successful CL 850 multi technology laminator and the company’s latest development in converting technology since it started manufacturing coating and laminating machines in the 1960.

The machine layout and the position of all its control systems and component sections have been designed and manufactured according to the most efficient and ergonomic criteria in order to accelerate and facilitate machine operation, enabling fast job make-ready and changeovers.  The very short distance between the coating unit and the laminating nip provides the most accurate process control and web introduction, whilst the very sensitive and accurate web handling control system – one of the hallmarks of Rotomec’s laminators –enables the production of high quality laminated structures with a wide combination of flexible substrates and very low waste of material in the process.

The SL 850, 1350 mm in web width, is equipped with automatic duplex shafted winders. Automatic winders substantially contribute to increasing the machine performance, and achieve a production output that is almost double that of a line with simplex winders.

Visitors to open house including one whose ambition was to own a Rotomec laminator were very impressed by the compact structure, the design of the solventless system, the laminator control and managements systems that enabled outstanding production speeds during the demo. The SL 850 production speed is 430 metres a minute (1410 ft/min) but during the open house, lamination of two 20 micron BOPP clear films was achieved 750 metres a minute to demonstrate the behaviour of the adhesive and the lamination process at high speed.