New Ultraflex CI flexo from KYMC 

UV and LED for water/solvent based flexo 

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The new KYMC CI flexo press with LED UV curing Photo KYMC
The new KYMC CI flexo press with LED UV curing Photo KYMC

KYMC, the Taiwan based manufacturer with more than 50 years of experience in flexographic press design and application integration, teamed up with TSLC and Rainbow Pigment Co to develop a next-generation CI flexo press. TSLC is a leading LED manufacturer and technology developer with more than ten years of experience providing reliable and quality UV-LED solutions to the global market. Rainbow Pigment is the ink expert with a strong R&D team spanning several product lines and industries. Together, the three companies have come up with what is called Ultraflex.

The TSLC UVLED curing system on the KYMC Ultraflex CI press Photo KYMC
The TSLC UVLED curing system on the KYMC Ultraflex CI press Photo KYMC

The KYMC Ultraflex press integrates three key technologies – UV-LED ink application and curing, solvent, water-based ink applications, and a central impression flexo design not before seen in the Asia Pacific region. While there are many advantages to the UV-LED ink application, it has constraints, which is why the users of this press can also select UV-LED ink or solvent or water-based ink or both at the same time. The KYMC Ultraflex press aims at flexibility, cost reduction, and efficiency.

On top of the hybrid design, the UV-LED application on the CI drum design is superior over the inline UV design in terms of production speed, registration, and tension control. With the Ultraflex press, printers can obtain three technologies with one press. Let’s look at the Ultraflex press from as many as six perspectives.

New business opportunities

From the business standpoint, the Ultraflex is expected to open up new opportunities for printers. PET shrink films, in-mold labels, and pouch packaging that are traditionally produced on inline UV flexo presses can now be achieved on the Ultraflex press.

From the quality standpoint, the high opacity of the UV inks is perfect for reproducing designs with flat high-density solid inks. Thus the UV-LED print stations can be used for the solid areas in the design and the solvent or water-based print stations for the halftone areas.

When it comes to the ink operational efficiency, the UV-LED ink stability characteristics can reduce setup time and reduce the time needed to control the ink properties. It does not require the operators to make constant adjustments.

Reduced Waste

In terms of waste, the UV-LED print deck allows for low printing speed during print setup as the ink does not dry up under room temperature. This will reduce the amount of substrate and ink wasted during print job setup.

When compared to hot air drying, the UV-LED curing operates at a much lower noise level. Therefore, it will significantly improve the working conditions for the operators.

Rise in eco-friendliness

Lastly, the UV-LED is an environmentally friendly solution as it does not emit VOCs. The UV-LED ink goes through a curing process, unlike solvent and water-based ink, which goes through a drying process. During the drying process, the solvents (VOCs) are evaporated into the surroundings causing environmental hazards and, at the same time, are detrimental to human health when inhaled.

In the constantly changing market, printers need to adjust to the market’s needs, be flexible, cost-effective, and efficient. The best quality generally comes at a high cost. The question is, will the customers pay for it? While low quality can be achieved at lower prices, the question is, will the customer accept it? The printers that can find the balance between quality and cost are the ones that will remain competitive on the market.

There is no one right formula for production as there are various types of customers on the market. KYMC understands the printers’ challenges and has responded with the Ultraflex. The best part of Ultraflex is that you do not need to choose between a UV-LED press or a solvent or water-based CI flexo press. You can have it all in one. Printers can take advantage of the UV-LED print stations on the Ultraflex and go back to the solvent or water-based print stations when needed. In a nutshell, Ultraflex is a 2 in 1 investment designed to help printers get the most value. 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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