The recent collaboration between SOMAand Grafikontrol has resulted in a high-performance state-of-the-art press for Bomarko, an Indiana based leading packaging printing company in the United States, required a high-performance flexographic press to meet the needs of its very important food packaging segment.
For SOMA, a Czech Republic company, the project presented an opportunity that marks another foray into the very demanding US market. The challenge comes with high demands but even greater rewards for the company SOMA, looking to build upon its base in North America. For Bomarko, it signifies considerable confidence in the Czech company to produce the technology that it has promised to its customers for wide web printed film and paper.
«In their presentation of this very demanding project, Bomarko management emphasized their primary goal was to produce high quality food packaging products on specialty papers, while maximizing efficiency and productivity, – comments Pavla Kuša, Commercial Director and family member of SOMA’s ownership -. In addition, we wanted to provide 100% quality assurance throughout all stages of the printing process.»
Could it be done?
From the beginning, founder, Mr. Ladislav Verner, set out to develop high-technology presses. As a professional engineer, he was well aware that there was a market for high quality, wide web CI flexographic presses that maximize efficiency and increase productivity. After 28 years, studying and analyzing his initial designs for more than a decade and demonstrating a commitment to grow, he introduced his machines with great success to leading European manufacturers.
In 2019, Bomarko was focused on print stability for very demanding jobs and solutions that enable extremely fast job setting, switch-overs and makereadies. Several meetings between Bomarko and SOMA engineers preceded press production to review all details that would be unique due to the challenging specifications requested. Pavla Kusa emphasized to her engineers that the design of this new machine had to provide added value with a cutting-edge technology to enhance print stability.
Stefano Squarcina, SOMA’s new Global Sales & Marketing Director, who was directly involved through the final stages of the project, explains print stability.
«From a mechanical perspective, the construction had to guarantee the stability of the entire structure at extremely demanding printing speeds (500 meters per minute). In addition, a new job-setting software solution had to be developed to proactively regulate and correct problems related to unstable, bouncing print.»
Mario Maggioni, Area Manager Latin Countries. Mario keeps the technical contacts for clients of Soma flexo machines interested to the Grafikontrol inspection and quality systems
100 percent total inspection
For this press, the selection of the quality controls was crucial. It required 100% inspection of the print side, varnish and coating, top to bottom register, and, most importantly, the tracking of defects throughout the entire process.
SOMA selected Grafikontrol as its partner to handle these crucial requirements. Grafikontrol, an Italian company, has been a leading supplier of defect detection systems for over 50 years, and has significant experience in the North American market.
Paolo De Grandis, General Manager of Grafikontrol, outlines the scope of the project: «The project included the Progrex, a system that combines 100% inspection with an area camera offering a complete view of the print detail. This combination ensures total quality control over the entire web width and for the entire print run.
«In addition, a Lynex 100% print inspection system was added to inspect transparent varnishes, coatings, cold seals and lacquers.
«To control front-to-bottom printing, a Matrix C/S dual camera system was inserted after the downstream gravure unit. Finally, EasyTracker, our newest system, was added for defect traceability throughout the entire production process. This is a unique system that allows operators to maintain speed and make the entire process as efficient as possible from printing through the slitting process. It reduces waste and prevents adding value to unusable material.»
Upon the completion of rigorous test trials, led by Bomarko technicians, operating at a speed of 500 meters per minute, they declared that they had not seen any other machine from any other manufacturer that was able to fully meet their needs while providing a safe work environment with zero defects. Full acceptance was accomplished.
The result of this collaboration is a customized 1500 mm wide web press, the Optima 2.
The Optima 2 has 8 printing units with an inline gravure unit for the application of cold seal in register. It is designed to print both food and non-food packaging on paper utilizing water-based inks which represents 80% of production.
With this successful partnership, Soma and Grafikontrol have solidified themselves as leading companies in their respective industries supplying the flexible packaging segment. An earlier collaboration of the two companies can be seen on the Optima 1, currently being demonstrated at the K exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Like the Optima 2, it also includes Grafikontrol inspection and control systems.