Poster printing

CI offset printing technology from Comexi

Comexi is ideal for short to medium runs and meets stringent customer requirements, Felip Ferrer, Brand Manager, Business Development, Offset Printing, Comexi, tells Rahul Kumar.

What does the machine do?
It is a hybrid printing press that combines offset and flexo with a central impression cylinder (CI), using electron beam curing (EB) inks. It encompasses the benefits of offset printing and the safety of low-migration EB inks and coatings, resulting in a wide range of substrates to be used for many applications. We are at the forefront of this technology; a mature solution that offers many advantages, such as durability; high quality printing; fast time to market; competitive costs; high efficiency and so on.

What are the different models?
The standard models have seven EB offset printing units for high quality printing and one EB flexo for whites and varnishes. As an option, additional inline flexo/gravure units can be installed. With more than 20 presses in operation in the market and installations in progress in Europe, Asia and America, we are launching the new CI offset evolution.

How do these models differ from each other?
The new model offers improved performance and automation. Some of the new features include

  • Closed-loop color control without marks (measures color for video inspection)
  • Integration of sleeves and plate mounting with the robot
  • Improved ergonomics
  • New automatic watch winders
  • Auto print function
  • Scrap saving function
  • New wireless control by tablet type
  • Automatic washing in all offset/flexo units
  • A new flexo unit with anti-bounce to increase speed
  • Glossy/matte varnishes and opaque whites with lower volume
  • Connectivity with Cloud Production Analytics

Is there anything in the machine that is available as a standalone unit, if the machine is modular?
Inline printing units for special applications can be added to the initial configuration or as an upgrade. Our online layout configuration unit has a dual function; upstream or downstream use is possible with the change of the web path. In addition, the option of air conditioning of the CI enclosure (temperature and humidity) is interesting, which makes it possible to install the machine in a non-air-conditioned room, thus widening the operating conditions. This unique feature is possible thanks to the mounting of each printing unit around the central drum in a closed chamber with sliding doors.

When was the machine launched?
The new model debuted at drupa 2021 and is currently available for deliveries from 2022.

What was the thought process when designing the machine?
Comexi is a market leader, offering innovative and sustainable solutions. EB inks and coatings are the optimal solution to replace solvents, reducing emissions, consuming less ink and energy, while creating a safe environment for the printing process. On the other hand, EB offset inks have been available from various ink suppliers for many years. They have no photoinitiators and have been approved for food packaging. These two factors inspired Comexi to develop the offset IC. The new model is the evolution of this technology.

Which target market(s)?
A variety of flexible packaging and labeling companies in the food and non-food industries. As for flexible packaging, offset CI can be used for snacks, confectionery, frozen food, dry food, pet food, tobacco, chemicals, cosmetics, among others. When it comes to labeling, our customers print shrink sleeves, wraparound labels, IMLs and self-adhesive labels. Due to the low cost of prepress, its efficiency and its flexibility, CI offset is not only ideal for short and medium runs, but also for long runs of more than 100 km, at a cost and very competitive performance.

What types of substrates can it handle?
Offset IC is able to handle not only thinner and elastic films, such as PE, BOPP, PET and PA, but also thicker paper or laminates. When it comes to aluminum, the machine should be pre-primed. It can do surface printing or reverse printing for lamination. Optimum lamination performance will be complemented by evaluation by the Comexi Technology Center (CTec) for a wide range of applications, including the most demanding, such as autoclave packaging.

How fast is it?
Prepress designs can be automatically and effortlessly converted through the extended gamut process from a marketing file to a plate format. In a few minutes, the plates are imaged in a CTP (computer to plate); the result is a complete set of plates in less than 20 minutes. CI offset prints at a speed of 300 m/min with a web width of 1100 mm.

What is the USP of the machine?
CI Offset is the best option to expand the market and also enables new solutions for recyclable flexible packaging. This versatile machine can be used to attract new customers, as it has fast and inexpensive prepress, similar to digital. In addition, it has competitive productivity and low printing costs, equivalent to conventional flexo/gravure machines.
EB inks and coatings are highly resistant to chemicals, heat, sealing and scratching, providing true, more recyclable and efficient alternatives for various complex laminations. This is achieved by reducing the number of layers and makes CI offset the ultimate solution for recyclable packaging. When choosing to print PE on the reverse, the partial cross-linking process increases the thermal resistance of the outer packaging layer, while surface printing gives the EB coating high surface protection.

Is it easy to use?
The new model has improved ergonomics and various automations to simplify job preparation and increase the speed of changeovers. It also includes automatic washing in all units and ink level sensors.

The offset IC is equipped with the CIP3/4 function, which connects the prepress design target to the machine. For timely color matching, this software allows presetting of machine ink keys. Once the color is approved, the color closed loop option can be used as an autopilot to print every run with no color deviations. The machine has features for easy maintenance, including full accessibility to the 360 ​​degree roller train and internal platforms.

What training and support are offered?
Comexi offers comprehensive training for machine operation and maintenance. Additionally, there is a production support package that offers a comprehensive prepress and productivity training assessment. Our technology center, CTec, will provide in-depth knowledge, not only to achieve the highest printing performance, but also to create a variety of new applications with post-process expertise, such as lamination, coating or the splitting.

How much does it cost?
The price of the standard machine is around 3.5 million euros. Although the level of investment is higher than that of conventional flexo or gravure, the return on investment is short because there is no need to invest further in additional equipment, such as color recovery systems. solvent. In addition, explosive protection for solvents is not necessary, the inks are supplied in smaller 3 kg canisters which can be stored close to the machine.
The CI offset press has the best technology to maximize the extended gamut process: the inks never dry out and can stay in the machine for a long time. Therefore, it reduces the number of cleanings and speeds up the changeover process.

Worldwide installation numbers? How many do you plan to install in 2020-2021?
Leaders in printing and converting previously trusted our technology. Since the launch in 2014, more than 20 CI offset presses have been installed worldwide at our customers.
In 2021, we are installing five new machines in the Netherlands, Brazil, the Russian CIS region, Thailand and Spain.

Contact Details
Felip Ferrer, Brand Manager, Business Development, Offset Printing, Comexi
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +34 626 422 958