Hybrid gravure and offset press for packaging demonstrated

Manroland Varioman f:line open house event


manroland web systems has created a technology platform that combines the benefits of varied technologies and processes while specifically avoiding the weak points inherent in other technologies and simultaneously providing top customer benefits. The new press represents one more interesting option together with the Goss VPak and the Contiweb Thallo to use web offset printing for flexible packaging substrates.

The pilot Varioman f:line press is an offset gravure hybrid, which prints foils and provides the proven core competences of manroland web systems like mature design, system integration and service and maintenance packages. The new packaging printing press was presented to interested and potential customers at an open house event at the company’s factory in Augsburg from 27 February to 1 March 2018.

The first f:line press is to be installed at an international flexible packaging printer’s site in the first half of 2018. A second Varioman c:line press is configured for a cartonboard manufacturer while a press specifically for book applications is also in the early stages of development according to manroland web systems.

The new press is essentially a platform that makes possible a variety of technologies in a web-fed in-line configuration with a high degree of integrated control and automation. The mixture of offset and gravure in the pilot press provides particularly short make-ready and changeover time with reduced start-up waste rates. The press as shown in the open house is suitable for a variety of flexible packaging applications, including shrink sleeves on plastic films and for printing on paper and aluminum foils.

The press has been designed to meet the need gap for short and medium runs taking advantage of offset technology with its inherent quality and cost benefits in imaging inexpensive high resolution digital aluminum plates rather than gravure cylinders for printing on flexible materials with a variety of new curing systems. The special offset printing units have been developed with cooperation partner Goebel GmbH.

At the same time, the combination of technologies like the degree of variability and particularly the quality of the printed product from the offset side, with the benefits provided by gravure printing as in the areas of varnishing, adhesives and opaque white, are important factors for the packaging printing of today and the differentiation that a modern printing house requires from its offerings. Within the framework of the three-day event, the new hybrid system was demonstrated to packaging customers from around the world.

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The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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