Welcome to our series of guest blogs from key flexo industry players. In this edition, Maria Costantino, Global Key Account/Sales Director at Koenig & Bauer Flexotecnica, discusses FTA Europe’s Diamond Awards, sustainability and innovation.

We are delighted to have confirmed our Gold Sponsor to the Diamond Awards event, which aims at promoting quality flexographic printing across Europe.

Even this year, the Diamond awards was a special occasion for the flexo industry to meet and to celebrate the excellence in flexo printing. The recognition of excellence in printing is important, as it will boost flexo against gravure or offset even in emerging markets.

We are convinced that the flexible packaging of the future must follow a circular economy. This is why we have joined CEFLEX, a European initiative with partners from the entire flexible packaging value chain.

The adoption of solvent-free inks and lightweight compostable substrates will have a profound impact on CI press design. We have been one of the early suppliers of CI presses operating with water-based or UV LED inks and of hybrid machines incorporating diverse printing technologies, which are ideally suited to provide the flexibility required by the new products.

We have been working in partnership with inks and substrates suppliers to develop new process and applications based on bio-based compostable polymers to print recyclable mono-material packaging.

Besides the Research & Development center in Tavazzano Italy, we have expanded the Customer Technology Centre at our headquarters in Wurzburg Germany by installing an 8- color CI press of the series Evo XD. With this flexo press, we will be able to organize dedicated printing demo to all customers on a variety of substrates with water-based inks.

In the last few years, we have witnessed a growth for lightweight monolayer flexible packaging instead of laminated structures for easier recyclability, which require a coating to preserve the barriers properties of the package.

Therefore, the number of hybrid lines of CI flexo press with in-line a flexo or gravure coating unit with independent dryer for functional solvent or water-based coating has increased.

Our ingenious technical solutions in the design and manufacture of combined lines confirm our leadership with hybrid lines on the international marketplace.

The COVID-19 has had an impact on our private lives and business as demand for retail grocery products, personal and protective packaging has increased.

E-commerce and the demand for hygiene and safety standards will give a great impulse to the packaging sector worldwide.

One of the key topic on all flexo machines is automation at all levels, and the advantages that computerizing essential elements of the process can provide in efficiency, accuracy and repeatability of the process.

Shorter production runs imply faster make-ready times and reduced waste during the set-up process, increased level of automation and integration with customer’s plant operation management systems (Industry 4.0). 

Most customers require machines with high levels of automation and ready to be integrated in their production and plant management systems (Industry 4.0).

Our compact and flexible machine layout design allows for short set-up and make-ready time, operator-friendly machine use as well as reduced waste. Implementation of a number of automated systems such as PrintTronic aim at increasing press uptime and decreasing downtime in-between job changeovers.