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Technical bottlenecks and development status of flexo printing in China's flexible packaging printing
Time: 2014-07-29 Source: Cutting Edge of Packaging Read: 10522 times
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Wenzhou Junchuan Machinery Equipment Co., Ltd.
As we all know, flexographic printing has attracted more and more attention from the industry because of its environmental advantages in using ink, suitable for printing on easy-to-stretch films such as PE, and increasingly exquisite printing effects. In Europe and the United States, especially the United States, occupying 80% of the market share. In recent years, the flexo printing process has also developed rapidly in the field of folding cartons and labels in China, but it has not been much in the film soft bag industry. What are the reasons for its progress? In what ways is the bottleneck technology restricting its development?

First, flexo contrast gravure, its advantages and disadvantages in flexible packaging printing

Xue Zhicheng, Chief Engineer of Shaanxi Beiren Printing Machinery Co., Ltd .:

1. Comparison of fixed investment in equipment

At present, the suppliers of high-end satellite flexo presses are in Europe, such as Germany, Spain, Italy and other countries. The price of a mid-to-high-end 1200mm 8-color flexo press is between 16 million and 30 million yuan. China has also formed a scale, the price is about 6 million to 10 million.

Suppliers of high-end gravure printing machines are in China, Japan, and Europe, with prices ranging from RMB 9 million to 13 million. The price of domestic equipment is between 5 million and 8 million. It can be seen that in terms of investment cost of a printing press alone, a flexographic printing press is more than 50% higher than a gravure printing press (conventional high-speed 300m / min gravure printing press is about 6 million yuan).

In addition, each flexo press needs to be equipped with many devices and spare parts, such as 20 to 30 anilox rollers (70 to 400 l / cm); 40 to 50 sets of printing sleeves, 3 to 4 sets of intermediate sleeves, and one automatic Mounting machine, etc. These ancillary equipment requires an additional investment of 4 million to 5 million yuan. If all printing orders are printed, the cost of the ancillary equipment may be even higher. So the fixed investment of one imported flexo printing machine is probably equivalent to two imported gravure printing machines.

2.Comparison of fixed investment and maintenance cost of printing plate library

The flexographic printing plate is a flat sheet of photosensitive resin plate, which is light in weight and easy to store. Generally, it is only necessary to separate the printing plates with a foam film, and then use two corrugated cardboard to protect the entire printing plate. Flexographic printing plates are generally placed vertically. A square meter of space can store 10 to 20 sets of printing plates. A flexographic printing machine has about 800 to 1,000 products per year in normal turnover, which requires a 50m2 warehouse to store printing plates. can. In addition, the anilox roller, printing plate sleeve and intermediate sleeve of the flexo printing machine also need to be stored on site, which takes about 70-100m2.

The gravure printing plate cylinder is made of steel, copper, chromium and other metals, and weighs about 25kg / piece. A set of 8-color printing plates will exceed 200kg. Therefore, the storage of gravure printing plates generally uses high-level shelves, and high-level forklifts are required for entering and exiting. A gravure printing machine generally requires 500m2 standard high-level shelves. Due to the high load-bearing requirements, the gravure library is almost the warehouse with the highest investment by enterprises.

Whether it is a fixed investment in the warehouse or daily maintenance costs, flexographic printing is much lower than gravure printing.

3. Comparison of printing plate cost and life

The cost of making flexographic plates depends on different widths, colors, and perimeters. The price is about 10,000 to 20,000 yuan / set, while the gravure is only 8,000 to 12,000 yuan. In addition, the average life of flexographic plates is 900,000 to 1 million impressions, while the gravure can exceed 2 million impressions. In addition, the steel core of the intaglio plates can be reused, which is incomparable to that of a flexographic plate.

Although these situations are related to the short development time and small scale of the current flexographic platemaking plants, the important reason is that the price of the main raw material of flexographic plates, photosensitive resin plates, has remained high. The cost of the plate material accounts for about 1/3 to 1/2 of the selling price of the printing plate. At present, the photosensitive resin plate materials are mainly supplied by international companies such as DuPont, Flint, Kodak, etc., and their high market share also dominates the printing plate. market price. Especially seamless plate making, the price is relatively high.

Of course, flexographic plate making also has its advantages. The plate making cycle is short, only 0.5 to 1 day. Compared with gravure 3 to 10 days, it can greatly improve efficiency and meet customers' flexible delivery requirements. If the manuscript of Shanghai Xinhua is OK, it can be published within 3 hours.

The contrast between gravure and flexo printing has its own advantages and disadvantages. This is not caused by poor equipment, but caused by consumption concepts, application areas, and policy guidance. We always said before the 80's and 90's that our products were very good and the packaging was not good. Immediately after that, we proposed first-class packaging and second-class products, which led to the proliferation of transitional packaging. The excessive pursuit of fine printing has also affected the development of flexo printing to a certain extent.

The advantages and disadvantages of printing can be described in terms of efficiency, energy consumption, and product order.

4. Comparison of printing operating costs

Efficiency: The speed of flexo printing is fast. The speed of mainstream models is as high as 300-500m / min, which is incomparable with the speed of 80-150m / min when gravure is printed on flexible films. Taking soft LDPE film products as an example, the pass rate of flexo printing is 5% to 10% higher than that of gravure, and the register accuracy of flexo printing is as high as 25 μm, which is incomparable with that of 0.3 to 0.5mm.

Due to the long feeding path of gravure, each color is as high as 4-6m, and the distance between the flexo color groups is only 40-60cm; meanwhile, the problem of inaccurate lateral overprints often encountered during gravure printing (especially soft, easy to pull Stretched film material), it hardly appears in flexo printing. Therefore, gravure printing can only choose narrow, low-speed printing due to inaccurate lateral overprinting when printing soft, easily stretchable films; flexo printing has an advantage in printing on relatively high-speed, easily stretchable materials. The efficiency difference between the two is more than 4 to 6 times.

Zhang Xingbin, General Manager of Songde Flexo Printing Division:

Advantages of flexo printing: First, the cost of printing is low, the main reasons are: A) lower weight or thinner raw materials can be used; B) the amount of ink is small, so the cost of ink will be lower; C) the scope of the raw materials Can be printed from non-woven fabrics, LDPE films, cloths to paper with uneven surfaces; D) Low energy consumption, mainly due to the thin ink layer, and the energy consumed by drying is greatly reduced; E) The printing speed is high and every Each machine also takes up less labor and gravure of the same specifications. Second, environmental protection. Mainly reflected in the use of water-based inks, low energy consumption.

Disadvantages: First, the equipment investment is higher than gravure printing; second, because the ink layer is thin, the print phase is dark, and the "selling phase" of the packaging product is poor.

Tian Jun, General Manager of Xiangfeng Ocean Bank:

Our company is the agent of European and American printing and post-press equipment, including the satellite flexo press of the Italian Asper company; we also help them introduce advanced equipment manufacturing technology according to the needs of Chinese companies, including gearless satellite flexo presses . (The following is a quote from the speech of Chief Engineer Wang Yang of Shanghai Ziquan Label Printing Co., Ltd. at the 4th Annual Meeting of the China Indian Printing Association Flexo Branch. I hereby declare and thank Wang Yang himself.)

Compared with gravure, the main advantages of flexo printing on flexible packaging printing are: 1. Fast speed. When printing flexible films, the current actual production speed of most imported satellite flexo printing machines can reach 300 ~ 400m / min. It is incomparable to the speed of 80 ~ 150m / min when gravure printing machine is printing soft film. 2. A wide range of substrates, ranging from very thin 12um breathable film to 400g cardboard (of course not on a machine). 3. High overprint accuracy. Take soft LDPE film products as an example, the overprint accuracy of flexography can reach 25um, which is incomparable with the overprint accuracy of 0.3 ~ 0.5mm. 4. Less material waste, because: (1) still using LDPE film as an example, the pass rate of flexo printing is 5% -10% higher than gravure; (2) required for satellite flexo printing machine changeover The material is within 100m, and the gravure printing machine needs 900 ~ 1500m. 5. High efficiency, gravure printing often encounters the problem of inaccurate lateral overprinting when printing soft and easily stretchable films, so only narrow-width materials and low-speed printing can be selected; satellite-type flexo printing uses high-speed and wide-format. As far as soft and stretchable film materials are concerned, satellite flexo printing can reach 4-6 times the efficiency of gravure. 6. Environmental protection, the consumption of flexo ink is only about half of gravure, and the consumption of flexo solvent is less than 60% of gravure. The additive effect of the two is: in terms of unit area, the consumption of solvent during flexo Less than 30% at gravure (see table below):

At the same time, the flexo mixed solvent is mainly ethanol and contains a small amount of ether solvents; the environmentally friendly gravure mixed solvent contains a large amount of isopropyl alcohol and ethyl acetate, and the environmentally friendly gravure mixed solvent also uses a large amount of toluene and Butanone. It can be seen that not only the solvent consumption of gravure is only 30% of the gravure, but also that the flexo solvent itself is much more environmentally friendly than the gravure solvent, which is why flexo is widely recognized as the main reason for green printing.

The disadvantage of flexo printing is that due to the limitation of plate making and anilox roll production technology, the current flexo printing on wide-format films in China can print 1% ~ 2% screen lines with 133 lines, which is visually better than The gravure 150 or 175 lines are also slightly thicker. In addition, the current platemaking cost is still 50% higher than that of gravure printing, and the service life of the plate is only half that of gravure printing.

Yan Shunjia, Sales Manager of Shantou Ouge Machinery:

Flexo printing technology has been popular in developed countries in Europe and America for many years, especially in the United States, the market share of flexo film has reached 80%. However, in countries such as China and Japan, the packaging industry has been affected by gravure and offset printing for a long time, and has more emphasis on realism, using a lot of realistic level patterns. To use flexo to trace the printing quality of offset and gravure, the end user is bound to be difficult to accept. So flexo printing is less accepted in our country than offset and gravure. But with the strengthening of environmental protection requirements and awareness, coupled with the impact of foreign demand, this situation is slowly changing. Therefore, in recent years, China's flexo market has maintained a rapid development rate.

In contrast to gravure, flexographic printing technology is environmentally friendly because it uses non-toxic, odorless water-based inks. However, gravure printing requires the use of a large amount of solvents. After calculation, the amount of solvent volatiles produced in the process of gravure printing is about 350 tons per year, which has a great impact on the environment and human health.

In addition, taking a satellite flexographic printing machine as an example, it is better in structure than a gravure printing machine. Because the substrate is tightly wrapped on the central impression cylinder, the tension is very stable, and the distance between each color group is short, which is convenient for registration. Therefore, in terms of overprint accuracy, overprint stability, tension control, etc., the performance of flexo printing is very good. It is specifically manifested in individual special substrates, such as PE breathable film, POF heat shrinkable film and other easily deformable substrates. Instead of discarding gravure, choose flexo.

Lu Zhijian, General Manager of Shanghai Fanhua Machinery:

Flexible packaging printing has always been a major competition for flexo and gravure, but the specific situation varies from country to country. In order to protect the environment, Europe and the United States restrict gravure and strongly advocate the development of flexo printing.

Advantages of flexo printing:

A. Environmental protection. Flexo printing, generally using water-based or alcohol-soluble ink, is known as "the most environmentally friendly printing method" in the industry. At present, most of the domestic soft film printing manufacturers use solvent-based inks. Ink and water will be the development direction in the future.

B. Low printing cost. Packaging products are characterized by large batch sizes and require repeated printing. Low-cost printing of satellite flexographic printing machines has reached widespread consensus internationally.

However, the development of flexo printing in China is relatively lagging. At present, plastic flexible packaging is still dominated by gravure in China. It is mainly due to some shortcomings of flexo that have delayed the promotion and use of flexo in China. From the perspective of printing manufacturers, the cost of equipment for gravure printing, technical reserves of printing personnel, and plate making suppliers are much more mature than flexographic printing, and the cost is also much less.

Insufficient flexo printing:

A. The print effect is difficult to compare with gravure. Europe and the United States emphasize that concise color blocks and lines have a strong visual impact on people, while China's packaging is more focused on realism, and a large number of realistic patterns is a difficult point of flexo printing. However, in recent years, some of the flexo printing products have achieved end-user recognition. The most representative are the products that can be seen on the market today: You Nijia's Mummy Baby, P & G's Pampers, Hushu Bao et al. Used flexo printing. Because the entire flexo printing process is much more complicated than gravure printing, it is difficult to achieve good flexo printing results without long-term technical accumulation. At this time, the role of experienced flexographic technicians in the printing house is more important.

B. Large fixed investment. The current supply of flexographic equipment (high-end satellite flexographic printing machines), plates, double-sided tape, sleeves, and inks in China mainly depends on imports, and the use cost is high.

Wang Chengyou, Deputy General Manager of Huizhou Shunfeng Printing Material Technology Co., Ltd .:

Flexographic printing is relatively mature in ink, machinery, plate-making process, plate material and printing technology, and it can be widely used in flexible packaging fields such as cigarette wrap aluminum foil, PE film, OPP film. The advantage of flexo is that the materials used are environmentally friendly, such as ink, which can meet the environmental protection requirements of export packaging, and improve the safe production of the workshop environment (especially fire safety) and the inhalation of harmful gases by personnel. The substrate and different printing patterns effectively select the anilox roller, which increases the adjustability of printing, and can appropriately adjust the drying performance of ink and water according to the drying conditions of the equipment and the setting of the printing machine speed. The disadvantage of flexographic printing is that it requires higher corona treatment of the film, and there are differences in the performance of films with small surface tension such as PVC in water resistance, alcohol resistance, scratch resistance, and adhesion.

Gravure water-based printing has good performance in printing effect, durability, and drying speed, but the performance in terms of scratch resistance, adhesion, and water resistance needs to be improved.

Second, the current status of flexographic printing technology used by Chinese flexible packaging companies

Xue Zhicheng, Chief Engineer of Shaanxi Beiren Printing Machinery Co., Ltd .:

At present, as far as I know, flexible packaging companies such as Shanghai Ziquan, Kunshan St. Jones, and You Nijia have successfully used flexographic printing films, which are mainly used in flexible packaging and sanitary materials and labels. Paper is mainly preprinted in cartons, aseptic bags, film products, and the substrates are mainly PE, LDPE, cast PE, non-woven fabric (non-wet urine) and so on. At present, there are more flexible films and larger quantities of breathable films for meat packaging in foreign countries. Shanghai Xiyueer has made such products. OPP, PET and other conventional materials flexo printing is also no problem.

Zhang Xingbin, General Manager of Songde Flexo Printing Division:

Flexo printing is not widely used in the domestic flexible packaging industry , so the relative supporting consumables are relatively expensive, and there are few professional talents. As far as I know, Beijing Lianbin, Huangshan Yongxin, Shanghai Ziquan, Shanghai Aid, Guangdong Xinlida, Guangdong Porter, etc. all use satellite flexo printing machines to print plastic films (PE, OPP, etc.), and A company from Gansu is called Rong's; there are countless carton pre-print manufacturers who use unit-type flexo presses (and some use satellites) to print beer boxes, fruit boxes, and vegetable boxes. In addition, there are two types of markets that need special mention: milk bags and labels. Of course, it is irrelevant to flexible packaging, but the proportion of flexo printing is large. The main printed film substrates include LDPE (breathable film), milky white film, etc., as well as BOPP labels (Shanghai Ziquan is used to print Coca-Cola bottle labels).

Tian Jun, General Manager of Xiangfeng Ocean Bank:

In terms of health bags, there are Shanghai Ziquan, Beijing Lianbin, and Huangshan Yongxin. The main substrate is PE. In addition, Ziquan also produces beverage packaging (PE shrink film, etc.). In addition, the flexo process is also used for breathable films and plastic bags. , Tetra Pill (beverage pack) and other products.

Yan Shunjia, Sales Manager of Shantou Ouge Machinery:

At present, there are still few manufacturers in China that use flexo printing technology on soft food packaging. Taking our Shantou Ouge factory for more than 50 satellite flexo printing machines as an example, there are only three domestic companies with a total of six machines printing. Food packaging mainly produces PE packaging film, ham sausage casing film, multilayer co-extrusion shrink film, etc., and all products are exported. Among them, Songde Zhang mentioned earlier, Porter, Guangdong, has used our three satellite-type flexo printing, printing PE, all products are exported to the United States.

And our company exported to Russia, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Ecuador, Thailand, Nigeria and other countries, almost all of them are printing soft food packaging without exception, so we can see that domestic flexo printing in this area weak.

Judging from the usage of our domestic users, the printing of baby diaper PE breathable bottom film has the fastest growth in this field. The company with the largest number of satellite flexographic printing machines in China, represented by Foshan Landi, is now using my Division 7 equipment, and the annual growth rate of 2 to 3 units. In this industry, more than 5 companies now use our satellite flexo presses.

In terms of products, our printers have applied products such as: pre-printed cartons, paper cups, paper bags, Tetra Pak, 30 ~ 50g hamburger packaging paper and table paper, etc .; hygienic packaging materials, breathable film, heat shrink Films, high-resistance diaphragms, ham sausage nylon filled bags and other film products.

Lu Zhijian, General Manager of Shanghai Fanhua Machinery:

For flexible packaging production, choosing satellite-type flexo printing is undoubtedly the best choice. Cangzhou Jinlong purchased the "Five" brand eight-color satellite flexo press 8 years ago, which is mainly used for printing of various plastic films from 15μm BOPP to 120μm PE. In addition, Qingdao Shuangtai's carton preprints and Shanghai Zixiang's breathable film printing also use satellite flexo printing.

Wang Chengyou, Deputy General Manager of Huizhou Shunfeng Printing Material Technology Co., Ltd .:

At present, as far as I know, Jinjia and Kecai are using flexographic printing for cigarette wrapping aluminum foil, Landi, Liansu Wanjia, Tenghua and other soft bag companies are printing with flexographic printing PE film breathable film, PE paper cups in the Far East Flexographic printing. At present, flexographic printing is mainly used in cigarette packs, paper cups, baby diapers, sanitary napkins, food packaging, etc.

Color printing, aluminum coating consultant (eighteen children):

China's flexographic printing technology is actually used very well on continuous bills, courier documents, and self-adhesive labels, and the products are also pretty beautiful.

Heike University-Teacher Wei:

In the export of health care products, the original gravure companies are already using flexo printing.

3. Reasons why it is difficult to popularize and apply flexo printing in China's flexible packaging field

Xue Zhicheng, Chief Engineer of Shaanxi Beiren Printing Machinery Co., Ltd .:

The difficulty of promotion is cost first, and talent and technology second. At present, domestic environmental protection calls are very high. Many customers are considering environmental protection factors when considering equipment upgrades, changes and supporting facilities. Now the gravure ink industry is also pushing, and many manufacturers have come to our company to verify it, but the current intact has not been verified. Many users of our company also have the initiative to install VOC in gravure. In addition, the anilox roller, plate sleeve, and tape are mainly expensive, which hinders the development and application of flexo printing to a certain extent. Then there are few flexo talents, and Shanghai Ziquan has made a lot of contributions in this regard.

Zhang Xingbin, General Manager of Songde Flexo Printing Division:

Everyone is familiar with gravure, and flexo printing products are not as good as gravure, and the market will feel that the quality of flexo is poor. Objectively speaking, since the development of foreign flexo printing is quite mature, so for the domestic market, there is no technical bottleneck in equipment or technology. I think it is more about the understanding and acceptance of flexo printing technology.

At present, flexo printing is concentrated on pre-printing of milk bags, labels, sanitary materials and cartons. The main reasons are: Someone initially led; flexographic printing is the best for substrates. I developed a missed inspection device this year, less than 200,000 yuan, but the use effect requires long-term verification. But the most fundamental solution lies in the arrangement of printing equipment and printing plates.

Tian Jun, General Manager of Xiangfeng Ocean Bank:

The main reasons for the slow promotion of flexo printing in the field of flexible packaging in China are: 1. Gravure printing is predominant; 2. Gravure printing plate fees are low; 3. One-sided pursuit of appearance quality by customers; 4. Quality and quality of domestic satellite flexo printing machines There is still a gap between Europe's leading brands; 5. The price of imported satellite flexo presses is not yet popular enough.

Satellite flexographic printing machines have been in China for 18 years. During this period, relatively large technological advances include: gearless transmission, sleeve technology, fine Cyrel, etc. The technologies recently introduced or about to be introduced are: flat top screen making technology , GTT anilox roller technology, 7 primary color technology and high-definition dot technology. With the popularization of these new technologies, it should be said that the technical bottleneck of flexo printing in China's flexible packaging field has been insignificant.

In terms of equipment guarantee, our Aisibo machine not only has high manufacturing accuracy, but also can be equipped with automatic overprint system, automatic printing pressure control system and detection system according to customer requirements, so as to ensure the quality of flexo at the source. , Eliminate the so-called "flexo missed inspection" and other quality problems.

At present, our company has formed a team of senior R & D engineers and technicians from the former Italian company Oven and other companies, which can provide a full set of world-leading equipment manufacturing technology, including medium and high speed wide gearless satellite flexo presses, medium speed wide Web shaftless unit type flexo printing machine. It is hoped that through the introduction of technology, the gap between China's satellite flexo printing machines and foreign first-line brands will be greatly reduced, so as to make our contribution to the popularity of flexo printing in China and environmental protection.

Yan Shunjia, Sales Manager of Shantou Ouge Machinery:

The main reason why flexo printing is difficult to promote in a large area in China is still people's ideas and consciousness. However, with the introduction of relevant national policies and the improvement of related technologies such as platemaking and ink, I believe this phenomenon will gradually change. It can be seen that more and more lightweight film products have directly selected flexo printing.

Lu Zhijian, General Manager of Shanghai Fanhua Machinery:

In addition to the difficulty of printing to compare with gravure and the high cost of comprehensive use, the lack of flexographic talents (design, craftsmanship, and management) is also an important reason. The biggest problem facing the flexo printing process is that the factory must have a skilled operator who is very proficient in the operation of the printer inside and out to ensure that high-quality products that meet the requirements are printed. According to statistics from industry insiders, there are currently more than 20 captains in China who are proficient in the use of various satellite flexo presses, and most of them are from Shanghai Ziquan.

From a technical point of view, flexo printing is a very mature process in Europe and the United States, without many bottlenecks. We just need to introduce, digest, and absorb.

To this end, we plan to cooperate with Brazil's FEVA company to set up a flexo technology center in Shanghai in November this year, mainly engaged in:

1. Improve the packaging design : Due to the high number of flexo printing screen lines, the printing plate is generally used at 120 ~ 133 lines / inch, which is difficult to achieve the gravure effect. We invite foreign flexo design experts to be consultants to help users change the packaging design according to the characteristics of flexo to achieve satisfactory results.

2. Talent training: the introduction of foreign textbooks and Pfeiffer presses, training operators for all-round customers.

3. Improving flexo production efficiency: Sleeve-type plate rollers, Infinity traceability system, side-by-side roll moving trolley, etc. are configured on the cost-effective gear-driven satellite flexo printing machine to simplify operation.

Wang Chengyou, Deputy General Manager of Huizhou Shunfeng Printing Material Technology Co., Ltd .:

At present, the main reason why it is difficult to promote the application of flexo printing in large areas is that the film substrates of different materials have completely different requirements for the adhesion of water and ink. The technical bottleneck is reflected in the adhesion performance of water-ink bonding materials that cannot cover all film substrates. Our company has a mature system in PE, OPP, and cigarette aluminum foil materials, and has been successfully applied in the field of flexible packaging.

Weinan Printing Machine Yang: To promote flexo printing, in addition to technical issues, supporting services must keep up, such as technical training for ink, plate making, and flexo printing.

4. The development trend of flexo in China's thin film flexible packaging market in the next 3 to 5 years

Xue Zhicheng, Chief Engineer of Shaanxi Beiren Printing Machinery Co., Ltd .:

In the future, to change the share of flexo printing, we must break the market's understanding of packaging. In fact, flexo printing is the same as gravure, which can meet the requirements of different packaging, but the domestic culture is different from other countries. Our company is now working with Flint Ink, Xinhua Plate Making, related anilox rollers and sleeve suppliers to develop suitable Domestic matching parts reduce the cost pressure of users. At the same time, technical training is held at industry users to strengthen technology promotion. I believe that flexo will get more use.

Zhang Xingbin, General Manager of Songde Flexo Printing Division:

The total market share and proportion, and everyone's acceptance of flexo printing will greatly increase. At least, food packaging and medical packaging should use more flexographic printing products. The most important solution: the state has imposed heavy taxes or penalties on VOCs, allowing the cost of environmental pollution to go up, and flexo printing will naturally receive more attention.

Tian Jun, General Manager of Xiangfeng Ocean Bank:

With the national consensus on the urgency of air governance, as the entire society pays more and more attention to environmental protection, and at the same time with the popularization of the new technologies mentioned above and the improvement of the quality of flexo printing equipment, the next 3 to 5 years, Flexo printing will have major breakthroughs in all areas of the Chinese film flexible packaging market: hygiene packaging, tissue paper, beverage packaging, and other film printing fields currently dominated by gravure.

Yan Shunjia, Sales Manager of Shantou Ouge Machinery:

In recent years, the number of flexographic printing machines in China has increased rapidly. As the price of satellite flexographic printing machines is higher than other models, currently there are two types of unit-type and stacked-type models in China. However, with the continuous improvement of industry requirements, satellite-type models will be a strong growth model in the future. In the European and American markets, satellite-type flexographic printing machines account for about 70% of the entire flexographic printing machine market, most of which are used in flexible packaging printing, Corrugated preprinted and label printed. By the end of 2014, we will have about 20 machines for diaper bottom film printing.

Lu Zhijian, General Manager of Shanghai Fanhua Machinery:

According to the experience of Europe and the United States, flexo has unique advantages in the fields of food, medicine and maternity and children's supplies. In the next 3 to 5 years, China's dairy, fresh meat, vegetables, fruit juice, beverages and condiment packaging will have great development. The environmental protection advantages of flexo printing will be fully exerted in the field of food packaging. There are health materials such as PE bottom film (breathable film, non-breathable film), middle waist stickers, etc., PE outer packaging (milky white film, transparent film), color film (PE outer packaging of PET bottles, cans, glass bottles) India is a development trend.

Wang Chengyou, Deputy General Manager of Huizhou Shunfeng Printing Material Technology Co., Ltd .:

Flexo printing and gravure printing will be a major breakthrough in flexible packaging such as beverage labels, plastic shopping bags, and battery labels. Our company is widely used in water-based gravure paper pre-printing such as beer boxes, beverage boxes and other food packaging.

V. Flexo related issues

1. A certain soft bag: We often have misprints when printing on flexographic printing. Sometimes they cannot be detected by the inspection machine. Although some can be detected, but if there are too many quality problems, they ca n’t be scrapped. Relying on people one by one. As an employee, we can complete a maximum of 4,800 bag inspections a day. Is there any way to solve this?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: What brand of machine does the other party use?

A soft bag: Kemeixi flexo printing machine.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: The quality of the machine is very important, and our customer Ziquan basically has no such problems.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Can use full-width online detection equipment; analyze the cause of missing print and overcome it. There are many reasons for missing prints, some of which are device independent.

Manager Ogeyan: equipped with online detection for image comparison. If necessary, stop the local erasing.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Consider various factors such as pressure and dust.

Manager Ogeyan: Compared with the unit type, the satellite type is very easy to solve in this regard. Many people in the unit type are not willing to stop midway.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Generally speaking, the defects of gravure are concentrated on the knife line, and the defects of flexo are concentrated on missing prints and ink bars.

Shanghai Fanhua: Our customers have also changed the pattern design to avoid it. The stability of the equipment is very important, there are many reasons for missing print, the gear factor is one aspect, and sometimes the personnel experience is also critical. This depends on the production conditions of the products produced at that time.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: The ink bars are mainly gear gaps.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Main reasons: 1. Layout design; 2. Ink cavity; 3. Insufficient rigidity of the positioning mechanism; 3. Ink fluidity and wettability.

Manager Ogeyan: That's not to say, not that gears will have ink sticks, which have something to do with your mounting, the beating of the machine, and the connection between the plate roller and the gear.

President Song De Zhang: I agree with what Manager Yan said, so to solve the problem, more information is needed.

Manager Ogeyan: Like the sheet-fed version, you need to paste it into waves to dissolve the power brought by one direction.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Kemeixi's ink fountain uses a magnetic squeegee. This design is a bit problematic. Sometimes the squeegee cannot catch the ink and it will fly ink. Is the missing print related to this?

Manager Ogeyan: There are many cases of missing prints, such as dirty plates, damaged plates, and erasure of dots. Mainly the level of personnel's operation process.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Yes, there will be missed marks and ink sticks when the pressure is not balanced.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: It is better to be gearless, and the time to change plates is short, 0.5 ~ 1h is enough, and gearless machines rarely have ink bars.

Yongxin Xiaozhou: There is also a problem with the plate roller, which is completely different from the gravure plate roller.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Yes.

Manager Ogeyan: According to the usage of our customers, the advantage of gearless is that there is no length limit, full version can be made without seams, and other problems can be solved.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Of course, it has something to do with the concentricity of the plate roller and how the plate is pasted.

2. Color printing, aluminum coating consultant (eighteen children): The biggest problem with flexo printing is to produce films and plates. Unlike gravure, you can only hand over the information to the electric carving factory. How long does it currently take for flexographic printing?

General Manager Songde Zhang: It is the same as platemaking, and it is sufficient to hand over the materials to the platemaking factory. Generally, the version can be delivered the next morning.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: One day.

Manager Ogeyan: Yingjie, Xinhua, Dongguan Yihua, including the new Kodak flat-top network, our customers generally use the plates of these platemaking factories.

Shanghai Fanhua: We can get the edition in 6 hours at the earliest. It can usually be completed in 24 hours.

DuPont Celli's 40-year innovation road: DuPont Celli's FAST plate-making equipment can generally complete platemaking in about 1h, excluding CDI imaging time.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Yihua Pingding network is very good, the outlets are not easy to deform, the number of printing resistance is large, and the printing plate will not drop. Several customers are using it and it is customer feedback.

3. Color printing, aluminum coating consultant (eighteen): Flexo printing and gravure printing have similar effects on paper, but the effect is much worse on plastic surfaces, especially the edges, commonly known as double eyelids, which cannot be solved. Does this still exist? Is there any improvement?

DuPont: The double eyelid phenomenon can be slowed down or even eliminated by screening in the field. If both the plate and the substrate are smooth surfaces, most of this phenomenon is inevitable, so by improving the roughness of the surface of the plate, it will greatly help. There are many ways to implement field screening technology, and there are related products in screening technology and plate technology. The actual use effect is also very good, interested friends can contact me.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Flat-top screen making will effectively reduce double eyelids.

4, Da packaging: Can flexographic printing be suitable for large-scale production? Compared with gravure printing, which is more cost-effective for large-scale production?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: With the increase of order volume, the advantages of high flexo printing efficiency, low energy consumption, and low ink solvent consumption become more and more obvious. When the order volume exceeds a certain value (500,000 prints), the flexo printing will be better than the concave The cost of printing is lower.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Generally speaking, flexographic printing can use 500,000 to 1 million prints, depending on the product requirements. Large-scale production of flexo printing will save some money.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: So flexo is more suitable for large-scale production.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Yes, it is mainly reflected in less ink consumption, lower drying costs and cheaper raw materials.

Xiang Xiang total: cost comparison of flexo and gravure:

This is due to the high efficiency of flexo printing (fast, generally twice as gravure), low energy consumption (about 40% of gravure), and low ink solvent consumption (the ink is half of the gravure, and the solvent is gravure Less than 30%), so flexo printing is more advantageous in terms of cost.

Then it is necessary to consider the matching parts of the flexo printing machine, such as 20 to 30 anilox rollers (70 to 400 l / cm); 40 to 50 sets of printing sleeves, 3 to 4 sets of intermediate sleeves, and a special plate mounting machine. Wait. These supporting equipment require an additional investment of 5 million to 6 million yuan.

5. A soft pack: How much difference is the depth between the gravure printing ink version and the solvent ink version of the screen? Is there a difference in the angle of the dots? (Printed solid)

Zhang Guoqiang: There is no difference in the depth of the flexographic printing plate between the ink version and the solvent ink version, but the solvent version will have a shorter life and the dot angle will not be different.

Manager Ogeyan: Now it ’s just a test to say that the carving is lighter, because the original gravure had a large amount of ink, and the ink was transferred to the past. It is now light, and one or two colors can be printed. .

Manager Shunfeng Wang: When printing paper, the four colors are completely fine, and can be driven to 130m / min (drying temperature about 115 ° C).

6. Guangxi Fengcai Printing Industry Sange: How much is a square centimeter of the sleeve and laser version of a wide satellite flexographic printing equipment?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: The laser version is about 0.2 yuan / cm2. Each printing sleeve is about 2,000 yuan.

Fanhua Shanghai: The printing plate price is also related to the printed pattern.

Weinan Printing Machine Yang: Is it difficult to make flexographic plates?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Not difficult. Flexo has entered China for 20 years.

President Songde Zhang: I personally think that the price of foreign satellite flexo presses is quite cheap (compared to the unit type or compared to the gravure press). The lowest 8-color machine in Italy has an ex-factory price of less than 800,000 Euros. Compared to the gravure printing machine.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Mr. Zhang is right. An Italian gravure press and satellite flexo press equipped with the same grade are more than twice the price of the latter.

Weinan Printing Machine Yang: The key is to reduce the cost.

7. Chongqing Flexible Packaging: Can I make bags directly after flexo printing?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: You can make bags directly. The bag making machine that we represent Italy Scayi Company uses is the direct printing of flexible bags.

8, Guangzhou Parker Liu Changwen: In European and American packaging, the pattern is composed of solid bottoms and large color blocks. Most people in China are transitioning with people or shallow networks. How to solve similar contradictions by flexo printing? How long is the life of the printing plate?

Fanhua Shanghai: In order to achieve the effect, we have professionals to help customers change the design according to the characteristics of flexo printing.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: In fact, there are also characters or shallow net transitions in European and American packaging. Good flexographic machines have no problem with this. Just ask Ziquan.

Continuation of the Three Armies: printing plate life of 500,000 impressions.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Some can reach 1 million impressions.

Fan Junhong, the frontier of packaging: Is there a practical case for 1 million impressions?

Hubei flexible packaging: seamless can be printed 700,000 times, generally about 500,000 times.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: There are 1 million times for printing beer boxes. At the same time, it depends on the number of screen lines.

9. A soft bag: who has the advantage over flexo printing capacity and gravure printing capacity?

Mr. Xiang Toyota: As far as film is concerned, the output of a satellite flexographic printing machine is 4-6 times that of a gravure printing machine, so the cost performance of a satellite flexographic printing machine is higher.

Mr. Xue from Beiren: The capacity problem that Xiangfeng's friend talked about is no problem now. The gravure of our company runs normally at 300m / min, and the daily production capacity is nearly 350,000 to 380,000 meters.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: But it's not good for LDPE?

Beiren Minister Xue: What you said is just one of many packaging materials. In the dazzling variety of packaging materials printing technology in China, it can be said that the current gravure is the most mature and the technical reserve is relatively complete. Quanzhou, Tetra Pak Kunshan, Tetra Pak Beijing and other factories, now it is more trouble to find a wide flexographic machine to start up.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Is it water-based ink? Solvent-based inks can. Water-based ink must not print at a speed of 300m / min.

Mr. Xiang Toyota: Solvent ink, I mean for gravure films, gravure sometimes has to lower the speed for registration, and sometimes it needs to reduce the door width. In this regard, flexo printing is dominant. For historical reasons, gravure is preconceived in China, which is a fact.

10. Frontier of packaging Fan Junhong: Is flexible packaging useful for flexo printing aluminum foil?

Manager Shunfeng Wang: Flexographic printing aluminum foil for cigarette pack printing, such as Kecai and Jinjia, are used.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Before the flexo printing aluminum foil, there was a wine label, and now there is a medicine packet (PTP) process.

Beiren Minister Xue: There are aluminum foils for unit type flexographic printing machines, because the oven is long and the product with high barrier is more suitable.

Xiao Chen: Many cigarette packs are now made on gravure, including aluminum foil. Cigarette packs are also divided into hard packs and soft packs. The inner layer also has aluminum foil paper.

Color printing, aluminum coating consultant (eighteen children): Some small pharmaceutical companies abroad imported Chinese light foil, and went back and printed the name on the aluminum foil with flexo printing.

11. Fan Junhong, the leading edge of packaging: Is the immature ink technology a bottleneck affecting the development of film flexo?

Mr. Xue from Beiren: Now Disheng ink has broken through the bottleneck of ink printing of thin films.

Manager Ogeyan: The current development trend of thin films is becoming more and more lightweight. If gravure ink is used one day, it will not be able to solve the problems of long distance between color groups, overprinting accuracy cannot be guaranteed, and waste products during the lifting process.

Anti-counterfeiting and special inks: The technical bottleneck of ink is from ink raw materials, especially resin or emulsion.

Manager Shunfeng Wang: It is necessary to consider the printing effect and adhesion, and each substrate is inconsistent.

Beiren Minister Xue: The application of ink on paper is very mature.

General Manager Songde Zhang: Water ink is printed on the film. The dispersibility and adhesion of the ink are only okay on PE. Others have gaps. Moreover, as far as I know, foreign satellite flexographic printing also mainly uses alcohol-soluble ink.

Anti-counterfeiting and special inks: Yes.

Li Gong: I think the bottleneck of ink and wash is resin binder.

Manager Ogeyan: If the corona of the film is good, it can still perform well. Coupled with the good corona on the satellite, in general there will still be a breakthrough.

6. Conclusion

Through in-depth and thorough analysis and explanation by six industry experts and active discussions of flexible packaging group friends, I believe that everyone has a good understanding of the materials, processes, domestic success stories, and bottlenecks of flexible printing on flexible packaging printing. And a basic understanding of future development trends.

With China's increasing emphasis on environmental protection and the continuous mature development of flexo technology, it is believed that the application of flexo in the field of flexible packaging will become more and more widespread.

"Packaging BBS" is a platform for everyone to exchange ideas and speak freely. Welcome everyone to come to this platform to participate in the discussion, express their opinions, and jointly promote the development of this industry in frank exchanges. Everyone is welcome to continue to speak freely on this topic in our "Packaging BBS". At the same time, you are welcome to provide hot topics.

Contact information:

Editor Fan Junhong: 020-85626447-608,

13609084976

Email: fanjunhong@126.com

Editor Shen Xiaoyun: 020-85626447-601

Email: ss8996@126.com

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