Towards the end of last year, Papke Verpackungstechnik GmbH in Mülheim, Germany, installed the first multi-pass digital printing machine from Erajet – the MP 2500. After a short start-up phase, Papke has now created a good level of work to ensure high utilisation of the new digital printing machine.
ERAjet has been developing single-pass and multi-pass digital printing systems since 2012. The first single-pass digital printing machines have been in use at customers since 2014 and some of them run in three-shift operation. Based on the original single-pass technology, a new multi-pass digital printing machine has been designed for industrial use in recent years. Many important elements of the single-pass technology have been adopted. In 2017, TS Group then presented the two ‘Erajet’ digital printing systems for the first time in the European market.
With Papke Verpackungstechnik GmbH, TS Group found an ideal partner for the first installation of the multi-pass digital printing machine in Germany. Papke Verpackungstechnik GmbH is a 40 year-old family-owned company. In 2008, Managing Director Ralf Schöck acquired the company, picking up the majority of the shares from the company’s founder Klaus Dieter Papke (who remains as a co-owner).
In addition to a wide range of packaging made of foam, foils and hardboard, the company specialises in the production of packaging made of solid board and corrugated. In the past, these were always delivered unprinted to customers in the automotive supply and metal processing industries. This is exactly where Papke's management saw its market for digitally printed packaging. They selected the new Erajet MP 2500 multi-pass digital printing machine, thanks to its simple design, simple installation and print data processing. The first orders were produced shortly after installation of the machine and training.
The digital printing machine allows the use of all common print file formats. The completed data is sent from the computer to the Erajet programme and converted by using Caldera-RIP software. This process only takes a few moments and the digital printing machine is ready for production.
The Erajet MP 2500 is equipped with a vacuum roller feeder which is easily adjustable and can feed sheets up to 4,000 mm long. It has a working width of 2,500 mm, making it ideal for many types of corrugated products. The pair of infeed rollers behind the vacuum picks up the individual sheets and transfers them to a vacuum belt, which passes through the complete machine. This ensures that the sheets always remain in the same position during printing, thus achieving extremely high register accuracy and even print to the edge of the sheet.
In digital printing, vibrations of the entire machine also have a significant impact and can have a negative effect on the print image, as the dot setting is no longer correct. This is prevented on the Erajet MP 2500 by a special frame construction and the use of special materials. Together with the vacuum suction, the sheet to be printed is fixed, flat and vibration-free in the area of the print head. The actual digital printing is carried out by a left/right moving printing unit. The print head only moves over the areas that really need to be printed and not over the entire working width. This accelerates the printing process and increases productivity. The printing unit contains eight Kyocera print heads for CMYK. Additional print heads for a 6-colour version are available as an option. The inks used are 100% water-based. Thanks to the 20 years of digital printing experience of Handway and Kyocera, the inks developed for the Erajet MP 2500 achieve the highest print quality with low ink consumption.
The print quality can be adjusted by the operator. With the ‘One-Pass’ setting (where the printing unit only moves once over the printing area), it can print fast – up to 700 sqm
per hour with a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, perfectly sufficient for many print jobs. The print quality can be increased up to ‘Four-Pass’ mode, where the high-resolution print of 1200 x 1200 dpi can be achieved.
A newly developed dryer with a combination of IR and hot air can be added, as well as a coating unit (available from mid 2019) at the end of the machine. An automatic stacking system as well as an automatic feeder from the stack in front of the digital printing machine round off the possibilities for upgrades. The Erajet MP 2500 can be upgraded to a fully automated production line with a maximum of six colours.
In addition to the successful installation at Papke Verpackungstechnik GmbH, TS Group is now installing further Erajet MP 2500 digital printing machines in Europe. "The concept of an easy-to-use and compact, yet industrial digital printing machine with water-based inks is very popular among customers in Europe," says Olivier Toutin, President of TS Group.