Altacel Flexible Packaging in Weesp fires up EVO XG from KBA-Flexotecnica
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Press release from the issuing company
CEO Alec Frijlink: “Our company is a racetrack”
Following an intensive selection process Dutch film printer Altacel Flexible Packaging in Weesp fired up a EVO XG flexo press from KBA-Flexotecnica a few weeks ago. Managing director Alec Frijlink: “We didn’t just pick any machine, we invested in the difference.” The press operator looks at his touchscreens while the clean grey pressroom floor reflects the futuristic machine. The gearless ten-colour EVO XG from KBA-Flexotecnica picks up speed following an automatic film roll change.
Altacel Flexible Packaging prints, laminates, cuts and produces pouches for the food industry. Demands in terms of food safety are high. “This is fantastic,” says managing director Alec Frijlink. “We stand out from the crowd with our knowledge. The Netherlands is one of the most expensive places in the world to have a production site. Nevertheless, we have to produce our products at market prices. This can only be done with a streamlined organisation. We rely on smart and qualified staff who get the most out of the machines, and we strive to have a state-of-the-art production fleet.”
Changing outdated practices
Together with his project manager Frans van Baren, Frijlink likes to look for technological limitations. “Some of our customers are still convinced that gravure is the only technology that can offer an optimum print quality. We wish to change this way of thinking and enjoy showing them the possibilities delivered by today’s flexo technology. However, the right machines are paramount in order to do this.”
In 2011 the management team put their plans for updating their press fleet on paper. Frijlink and Van Baren’s most important requirements for the new machine were production stability and short makeready times. Additionally, they definitely wanted a high level of automation and the machine to integrate seamlessly into the process flow.
“If you see a person carrying out the same task ten times a day then you could equally let a machine do the task.“ Ultimately, Altacel wanted a ten-colour press with carbon-driven and extremely robust bearings permitting the handling of the most challenging substrates in a high quality.”
Robust and intelligent design
In 2012 a team from Altacel visited the relevant European press manufacturers. Frans van Baren: “We wanted a flexo press that was tailored to our every need. An example, around the corner from us is QuadTech, a global player specialising in quality control with cameras. We wanted some of these in our machine and the engineers from KBA-Flexotecnica made it happen.”
Frijlink: “I want to see clear structures when I look at a press’ inking unit, an oasis of calm. Our EVO XG features pipeless technology which means that the unit no longer has any hanging inking pipes. This solution is extremely robust and makes cleaning the printing unit a lot easier.”
Van Baren: “Another example of the press’ robust design are the fully automatic bearings which open by themselves at the end of every job, allowing for the fast and safe removal and changing of sleeves and anilox rollers from the press with a plastic adapter. Another important detail: The ink must be allowed to dry in order to fulfil the demands of food packaging safety. A drum with a diameter measuring 2.40m (7.87ft) helps with this as there is more space between the individual inks. This is in addition to KBA-Flexotecnica’s highly efficient dryer.”
Frijlink: “Technology is important, but it’s not the whole picture. We do not just invest in a press, but also in its after-sales support. Our entire business model is geared around our work in two shifts. We could do without press downtimes. The German-Italian combination of KBA and Flexotecnica was another reason why we opted for the EVO XG. Italians are pro-active and rely on short paths. And we are in good hands with KBA in terms of after-sales service.”
Extensive renovating and relocating measures took place before the EVO XG arrived in eight trailers at the printing house in July this year. 7,000 of 8,350m² production space was reorganised. 44 stilts were driven into the ground and the roof of the hall for the EVO XG was raised by a few meters. A second press can be installed here if necessary. “We aim to produce as lean as possible and the new investment was a good occasion to set up the plant as a racing track. Our products have to be sent through the company in one go.”
Surrounded by film rolls from a young age
Altacel was founded as a commercial enterprise in 1959. The company, which in the meantime produced packaging itself, moved to Weesp, near Amsterdam, in 1969. The father of today’s managing director Alec Frijlink has worked at the company since 1978. His son Alec who crawled through the rolls of film as an infant joined Altacel in 1990 and became managing director in 2001. The company’s 43 employees produce products for national and international customers in the food industry. Industrial packaging is a second, solid pillar.
Sights set on challenging jobs
The new EVO XG will be predominantly used for challenging jobs. Short makeready times are more important when it comes to relatively small jobs than the press’ high print speed which can reach up to 600m per minute (1,968fpm). The press features pneumatic ejectors making it possible to change the anilox sleeves with the patented SSC – Safe Sleeve Change – system fast and safely during running production. The ‘Total Quality Management Approach’ from KBA Flexotecnica fits perfectly to Alec Frijlink’s own management philosophy. “Everything that leaves the company must be able to be processed by our customer’s machines without any problems. This only works with standardised processes and the constant search for improvements.”
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