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Michael Wilks of Bunting Magnetic talks finishing and digital printing

Published on September 4, 2012

Michael Wilks, Product Manager of Bunting Magnetic Company talks to Cary Sherburne about his company and the increasing partnering they are doing with digital press manufacturers

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink, and I’m here today with Michael Wilks from Bunting Magnetic Company. Welcome.

Mike Wilks: Yeah. Thank you.

Cary Sherburne: In Kansas.

Mike Wilks: In Kansas, yes.

Cary Sherburne: So tell us a little bit about Bunting to start with.

Mike Wilks: Bunting Magnetics is a 50-year-old company. It’s located in Kansas. It actually started in Chicago. Been in the printing industry for about 30 years, manufacturing magnetic cylinders. And four years ago we began manufacturing flexible dies and we’ve grown that business and we’re hoping to continue to grow it. It’s been quite interesting to see the growth of the printing industry in short run applications, which is really what flexible dies are designed to do.

Cary Sherburne: So in terms of the magnetic cylinders, those would go on like a folding carton machine and someone else makes the dies?

Mike Wilks: It actually -- when we first started off with magnetic cylinders we did put them mostly on folding carton machines. And they are used to -- as a male/female application where you actually use two dies so you can cut and score both the top and bottom side of the carton simultaneously. They are also become very, very popular with the label industry and you can use them as a single die on a magnetic cylinder cutting against an anvil. In the past few years they’ve really, really taken off for several reasons; one, the live of the dies has increased substantially in the past few years, and the accuracy of the cylinders has actually increased dramatically in the past four to five years. We introduced what we call -- it’s a very, very tight tolernce cylinder called The Extreme and it has a -- what we call a one micron TIR, total run out, and the accuracy comes in to play because if you’re -- in the U.S. anyway, if you’re cutting extremely thin material, thin liners, then you need a very, very tight tolerance cylinder and a tight tolerance die. That’s really grown in that industry.

Cary Sherburne: So in terms of the flexible dies, obviously and this is an example of the flexible die, which makes big noise. And obviously they’re being used with flexographic printing, but how does digital printing play in to it now?

Mike Wilks: Digital printing is -- it’s a natural fit for digital printing. With digital printing, all your digital presses are all what we call engines, digital engines. They have no die cutting, they have no converting whatsoever built in to them. So all of that is done in an offline converting unit and by offline converting unit you’ve got to have the capability to do hot foil stamping, embossing, and die cutting. Die cutting because you’re dealing with short runs it’s important to have a semi rotary die cutter and a magnetic cylinder or a flexible die to go in it.

Cary Sherburne: So you’re finding that the digital press manufacturers are partnering with you guys to provide that capability in the backend and the presses?

Mike Wilks: More and more and more. I think you’re going to see more and more partnerships in the digital side with offline and even online converting at some point, using mag cylinders and flexible dies.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. Well thank you.

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