- Produce low migration compliant applications digitally with 1200 dpi print resolution
- SHELLING AG invests in second Gallus Labelfire
New Gallus Labelfire with low migration equipment at SCHELLING AG: Tobias Grolimund (left) and Marcel Häsler (right) from Birkhäuser+GBC AG draw a positive conclusion after the successfully passed field test of the digital press
St. Gallen / Reinach, Switzerland – Field test successfully passed: this is reported by Birkhäuser + GBC AG, a subsidiary of SCHELLING AG, only a short time after the Gallus Labelfire was installed with low migration equipment. In the Reinach plant near Basel, the company has been able to print a variety of labels and flexible packaging in accordance with low migration requirements since July 2020. The native print resolution of 1200 dpi and the flexibility of the hybrid label printing press are outstanding. It is already the second Gallus Labelfire for Birkhäuser.
Marcel Häsler, COO at Birkhäuser, is impressed: «The new Gallus Labelfire 340 with low migration equipment is the perfect machine for us. This digital printing press is the ideal addition not only to the flexo printing presses in this segment but also to our first Labelfire. Now we can offer the whole range of applications for the food sector, which meet all relevant low migration requirements – from flexible packaging and labels, paper bags and folding cartons to self-adhesive labels with cold foil finishing or lacquer effects.»
Decision for UV inkjet
The second hybrid press from Gallus is an important addition to the machinery in the area of labels and flexible packaging. The heart of the Gallus Labelfire is the Digital Print Unit (DPU) with seven colors. Before and after the inkjet printing unit, flexo printing units provide more flexibility and cost efficiency in label and packaging printing. This is achieved through the implementation of inline production. For example, cost-effective varnish application, high-quality cold foil embossing or customer-specific printing of spot colors or white can be integrated.
The subsidiary of SCHELLING AG once again underlines its technological leadership with the Gallus Labelfire installed in July 2020. With a successful field test, this press is the second of its kind in the subsidiary in Reinach, Switzerland. Four years ago, Birkhäuser was one of the first printers on the market to invest in a Gallus Labelfire 340 . Quite a few improvements have been made since then, not only in terms of low migration compatibility, but also in terms of speed, “white line compensation” and Prinect workflow integration.
Low-Migration compatibility, reproducibility and short runs
Decisive for choosing the second Gallus Labelfire were several reasons. Due to the short set-up times, the machine system offers a high flexibility. As a result, short runs, i.e. jobs with short run lengths, are part of the daily business, because of the high cost-efficiency. Tobias Grolimund, Head of Production, confirms: “The set-up times for a digital printing press are very short compared to conventional printing processes such as offset or flexo.”
According to SCHELLING AG, different aspects are influencing the choice of how a print job is done. Speaking about the Gallus Labelfire the break-even point between flexo and digital, according to Tobias Grolimund, is around 3000 to 4000 running meters per print job. With longer runs, flexographic printing scores with a higher printing speed, but a print job of 20`000 running meters with changing subjects might be produced much more cost-efficiently and quickly on the Labelfire.
The high print quality was a further reason for the investment: due to the inkjet printing unit with seven colors and 1200 dpi resolution, up to 96% of the Pantone Plus color space is covered. Due to the high reproducibility, even complex print jobs can be fully reproduced with the Gallus Labelfire within a short time – at the push of a button.
Another influencing factor for SCHELLING AG in investing in the low-migration edition of the Gallus Labelfire was the positive experience with the first Labelfire: "The system is just great and runs extremely stable," explains Marcel Häsler. "It is still the only digital printing press that can reproduce 1-point fonts, thus, is able to print such small font sizes." According to SCHELLING AG, fonts in this size are common standard requirements for pharmaceutical customers and are needed e.g. for product traceability. Häsler sums up: «I don't know any other machine that is able to do this. This is beyond comparison!»
Process security and stability
Tobias Grolimund, who has significantly pushed forward digital label printing at Birkhäuser, says: «The Labelfire is a reliable and stable machine. This differentiates this digital press from conventional printing machines.»
In advance Birkhäuser's printing experts had reviewed different systems. A toner-based printing process has certain advantages regarding the low-migration ink system, but UV inkjet convinces with its speed and print quality. Tobias Grolimund is impressed: «With the integration of the Labelfire with low migration equipment we have a great extension to the first digital printing press. Also the great ink adhesion was a pleasant surprise. The drying and anchoring of the ink with UV inkjet is very good, even with uncoated paper.»
Good ink adhesion without primer
The Gallus Labelfire includes a pinning after each print head row. This first drying step ensures that the inks do not run into each other, the foundation for very small fonts or fine lines. The Digital Print Unit (DPU) is followed by UV boosters from GEW to produce applications with low migration compliance even at high speeds. Migration tests were done on the Gallus Labelfire at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen in Wiesloch, Germany. The low migration compliance was confirmed by the Swiss laboratory service provider SQTS (Swiss Quality Testing Services).
The fact that no pre-priming is necessary as well as the procedure for substrate qualification are further advantages for Birkhäuser. The colors do not have to be calibrated every week as with other digital printing machines. Replacing a printhead e.g. may require a new qualification. The qualification serves as the basis for the high level of reproducibility, as Tobias Grolimund confirms: "Once qualified, the Labelfire constantly offers reliable reproducibility!"
Marcel Häsler draws a positive conclusion: "The Labelfire Plus - as we call it internally - gives us the necessary flexibility for our customers and once again confirms our goal of technological leadership. For us, the customers are decisive, not the machine technology. With the Gallus Labelfire, we can offer our food customers low-migration-compliant and permanently reproducible applications with excellent print quality and very small font sizes as well as short order sizes.” This is also confirmed by Tobias Grolimund: "We can now cover more applications and therefore more customer jobs, so I expect that the machine`s full capacity will soon be reached."
The SCHELLING AG is a Swiss family-owned company and owns six subsidiaries and offices in Switzerland and Germany. As a comprehensive provider of high-quality packaging, displays made from corrugated cardboard and solid board as well as print products, package leaflets and labels, Schelling AG provides everything under one roof - the one-stop shop for printing solutions and packaging. Based in Reinach Birkhäuser+GBC AG is a fully owned subsidiary and produces, with about 235 employees, especially for the pharma and food segments.