Colorsat Slim ink dispenser celebrates 20-year anniversary!

Colorsat Slim ink dispenser celebrates 20-year anniversary!

The story of a trailblazer that brought repeatable colour quality to medium-sized package converters – and heralded a new modular, adaptable design in ink dispensing.

This month, we celebrate 20 years of the Colorsat Slim – the dispenser that made repeatable colour quality and process efficiency accessible to medium-sized paperboard and flexible packaging printers. Launched at drupa 2004, the dispenser has been a trailblazer, providing a fast return on investment with its easy assembly and economical design features.

Back in the early 2000s, flexo quality was improving, thanks to advances in plate and imaging. But for flexo printers to compete with offset, waste reduction was crucial – especially during the makeready stage, because print runs were getting shorter.

Launch of the Colorsat Slim ink dispenser at drupa 2004

Colour on-demand: the key to waste reduction

With colour matching perhaps the most complex stage in makeready, converters realised ink was a good place to start when looking for cost reductions – and that drove interest in dispensers.

Maarten Hummelen, GSE’s marketing director explains: “Ink dispensing – preparing colours on-demand, accurately, in exact quantities for the job – offered the potential for both cost savings and improvements in production time. So naturally, we received more enquiries from packaging printers seeking internal efficiencies. But for converting facilities consuming less than 100 tonnes of ink a year, the existing dispensers were too large and expensive.

Extendible, scalable dispensing for changing needs

“This led us to develop a new type of dispenser, easily assembled by the customer, with economical, modular components. The Colorsat Slim arrived, to great fanfare – its simpler design meant a lower investment and thus a faster payback. And with the Slim helping reduce ink consumption by as much as 30 per cent, customers were soon noticing its beneficial impact on the bottom line.”

With its modular build, the Colorsat Slim represented a new generation of design that was extendible and scalable – you can exchange parts, or add more base inks easily, for example. Today, this flexibility has become standard on GSE dispensing systems – and an important asset in an age when ink handling needs are more prone to change.

To date, there are hundreds of Slim dispensers installed worldwide – with many still delivering value after 20 years’ operation. Later this year, we’ll catch up with the first customer (who’s still using the machine daily!) – and one of the most recent customers – about their experiences. Stay tuned!