At the Heliograph Holdings stand at IGAS, we met with Hans-Georg Schepers who is the patent-holding pioneer in the use of high powered direct laser technology for gravure cylinder making and also for the direct laser imaging and engraving of flexographic plates. An electronic engineer with many years of experience in the gravure cylinder industry, Schepers built up his own company in Vreden in Germany in the 1990s with his belief in bringing digital data directly to the printing form using higher powered laser tools as they became available. Schepers said, “To some extent the parts of the solution existed in various concepts and applications but at the time no one put together the whole engraver with direct laser imaging for gravure cylinders.”
The initial machines used UV lasers for exposing photopolymer coatings from Fuji, Kodak, Agfa, Kale and Foinder for and the machines kept developing in parallel with more powerful and economical laser developments. The lasers became smaller, stronger and faster. The first laser for digital flexo plates was also a Schepers patent. While his company eventually became a part of Heliograph Holdings, Schepers told us at IGAS, “We make gravure cylinder machines for everything in gravure, which includes flexible packaging, cartons, decorative wall paper, floor and wood laminates, textiles, security for stamps, passports and currency, embossing and mico-embossing, tissue and many other applications.”
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