Flint Group has announced new additions to its Catena Product family: the Catena-W, for Washers, and Catena-DL, for Dryer Light finishers. The Catena-W operates in a sealed environment. Its efficient extractions ensure a minimum of solvent fumes reaching the workplace, which benefits the health and safety of operators.
The Catena-DL features an automated lift that can be used to move a plate from the shuttle to the dryer drawers and into the light finishing section while avoiding any human touch point.
Since Xeikon Pre-press joined the Flint Group Family in 2015, both Flint Group Flexographic and Xeikon Pre-press were suddenly in the very unique position to have the expertise in plate manufacturing and plate processing equipment in-house. This unique position in the industry resulted in a close collaboration between their R&D departments with the aim to provide a fully optimised pre-press environment to its customers including equipment and plates. ‘We believe that no one in our industry can match this level of expertise and the first feedback we got from our beta customers is confirming our view,’ said Friedrich von Rechteren, Global Commercial VP, Flint Group Flexographic.
The Catena-W is designed to deliver the highest productivity through unique plate alignment, which avoids plate skew during transport as well as an advanced plate queuing system. This limits the distance between plates being processed and maximises the throughput. An integrated plate shuttle will enable a single operator to easily handle large format plates, and a minimum gap between queues will increase the number of plates processed per shift.
Xeikon pre-press R&D Director Bart Wattyn explained, ‘Right from the beginning our ThermoFlexX imaging systems were designed to help our customers through automation and leading edge technology. By listening to the challenges our customers have to face every day, like handling large size flexo plates that are easy to damage, we developed the Flextray with fully automatic loading and unloading. The positive feedback we received was tremendous! Consequently, we announced the Catena-E LED exposure system in 2019 with a fully automatic plate feed from our imagers. Plate processing (wash-out) gives an extra challenge and we took it as a design goal that an operator should be able to handle large plates, single handed and without ever having to come into contact with their solvent-wet surface.’
Stefaan Herman, lead user and Site Manager at Miller-Graphics, a Brand Management, Repro and Flexo Plate making company specialising in flexible packaging, paper and foil, corrugated and labels, stated, ‘We have a great deal of experience and pride ourselves on keeping pace with technical innovations. Choosing the right equipment is vital to keep our business ahead. We are always interested in Flint Group and especially ThermoFlexX developments and are happy to take the opportunity to be the first customer installing the Catena-W and Catena-DL.
‘We’ve found the Catena-W pin-bar system to be very useful. This avoids the need for punching the plate by using an external spiked clamp system. Not only does this save a step, it also means there’s no polymer residue from the punch that can sometimes stick on a plate. Furthermore, the distance required for clamping is less and, thus, saves us some plate material. Rather than a drive chain that passes through the solvent, Catena-W uses a leadscrew that’s outside the liquid – this saves a lot of maintenance.
‘For the environment in our plate room, we noticed that special covers limit the solvent evaporation with almost no smell discernable in the room. The systems are noticeably quieter, too. Overall we believe that ThermoFlexX has definitely brought a literally fresh and extremely valuable approach to our business.’
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