Esko and Wink Stanzwerkzeuge teamed up and brought together their soft and hardware expertise to create an efficient staggered label solution. Both companies highlighted the benefits of this partnership at Labelexpo Europe, which took place from the 24-27 September in Brussels, on Esko stand 5B25 and Wink stand 6G92. 

The combined solution allows label converters to optimise label production, increase production speeds, enjoy material savings and produce highly accurate print and die-cutting results. 

The partnership combines Winks die-cutting technology with Esko’s staggered cut software and Esko Kongsberg cutting tables, resulting in the ProShift® technology. ProShift® enables impressions to be arranged more flexibly and make full use of the entire printing area. This is done using Winks modern laser technology to arrange the upper and lower edge of the flexible dies in steps. 

Esko’s sheet layout software Plato creates the staggered label layout at the touch of a button. Perfect alignment between the printing and cutting plate is guaranteed, as the data is exported simultaneously to create the staggered flexo plate and to order the shifted die at Wink. 

Fransz Verbeek, Product Manager at Wink elaborates on shifting print to attain the advantage, This type of shifted printing and die-cutting has many advantages. In most cases, labels are arranged symmetrically to save space and keep the consumption of materials to a minimum. However, this configuration is less beneficial for the rotary die-cutting process because vertical lines tend to cut more forcefully than horizontal lines and high contact pressure causes the vertical lines to cut even deeper. This can also damage the liner material and result in wear and lasting damage to all components in the cutting unit.

ProShift® counteracts these negative effects by vertically shifting the impressions in the machine’s running direction, which significantly reduces the number of horizontal lines and evenly distributescutting pressure.

The ProShift® solution has a lot advantages compared to conventional label production, especially when cutting rectangles or other shapes with many horizontal lines: optimisation of die-cutting results and reduced liner damage, longer lasting flexible dies and machine parts, stabile waste stripping which prevents web breaks and thus reduces down time.

With the ‘staggered cut’ option of Esko’s software and Kongsberg cutting tables, shifting labels become clear for the printing part as well. In order to guarantee an efficient workflow for the label printer and coordinate the offsetting of printing blocks and flexible dies as accurately as possible, the relevant order data is simultaneously prepared and converted into digital format by Eskos Digital Flexo Suite.

Esko’s Digital Flexo Suite has increased efficiency at the prepress stage when producing printing plates and control processes. The software uses algorithms and is connected to Esko Kongsberg systems, so that plate cutting becomes fully automated. It also sets parameters for use when mounting plates to the printing cylinder. 

Pascal Thomas, Business Development Manager Flexo at Esko comments, With the staggered labels solution conventional rectangular print shapes can be created on the cutting table as well as individually shaped and staggered images with accurate contours and consistent repeat accuracy. This means prepress companies can supply their customers with pre-cut flexographic printing plates ready for installation, saving time and costs. Automatic plate cutting also means that print companies can benefit from higher quality and more accurate cuts.