Flexible packaging supplier ACW-Film GmbH & CO. KG (Rhede/Ems, Germany) is reducing material waste, attaining colour consistency and safely dispensing solvent flexo and gravure inks, after installing a Colorsat® Compact system from GSE Dispensing.
Part of the Melitta Group, the company supplies the confectionery, meat and sausage and detergent packaging markets. Until the Colorsat Compact’s installation, ACW Film’s prepress staff mixed the colours manually. Because almost every job needed special colours, mixing involved excessive material waste and makeready time, with inconsistent quality results.
Installed in October 2016, the Colorsat Compact ink dispenser serves ACW-Film’s three solvent ink presses – two common-impression flexo, one gravure – that convert films, top-films and bags. It has automated the mixing process and ensured accurate, repeatable colour, on-demand.
Dispensing to an accuracy of 1g per component, the Compact meets the most demanding colour targets; a 20kg recipe is typically dispensed within two-and-a-half minutes. The dispenser also enables easy reuse of inks returned from the press, better stock management and a cleaner ink kitchen, and also saves recipe details for fast recall of repeat jobs. Set-up times are reduced, ink yields are improved, and delays from inaccurate colour eliminated. The dispenser also simplifies logistics, reducing the number of ACW’s components from more than 50 to 34.
Markus Wielens, managing director of ACW-Film, comments: “While exact savings haven’t been finally calculated, due to the short period we’ve been using the Colorsat Compact, we are projecting a 50 percent reduction in ink waste. Moreover, we are also seeing a huge reduction in material waste, and we have gained valuable press time.”
The dispenser’s ink management software, developed by GSE, brings ACW additional benefits, besides precisely calculating each ink component’s weight: it also provides recipe data and ink costs per job, traces ingredients through the supply chain, and stores complete batch information for each job.
ACW-Film’s Colorsat Compact includes a unique, IECEx-certified explosion-proof safety feature. A grounding wire, clamped to the Compact’s ink barrels with the base components which are connected to the dispense head and fixed to the ground, conducts static electricity – thus preventing sparking that can lead to explosions. An alarm light alerts operators if the ground wire is not properly connected to the ink barrel.
“Working with solvents means you always have to be vigilant. The German government has strict rules which we follow, and we see GSE Dispensing’s solution not just as productive, but as a way of ensuring our employees’ utmost safety,” Mr Wielens concluded.