nyloflex® Automated Plate Processor brings speed and ease of servicing
Founded in 1994 in Memphis, Tennessee (USA), the pre-media and media provider Cyber Graphics has the mission to serve the needs of customers worldwide with design creativity and skilful expertise. The target is to be on the leading edge of innovative thinking by continuously providing solutions that add value to the clients. From the very beginning, Cyber Graphics has been committed to providing their flexible packaging customers with products and services of the highest quality. Additionally, sustainability is a central question for the company and they see continuous improvement and quality as a fundamental requisite to act as responsible stewards of society and the environment.
Recently, times have not gotten any easier for flexo printers. While they are being required to hold finer and finer detail on photopolymer plates, customers for these plates are even more price sensitive, and the competition is becoming more globalised. Consumer product companies are requiring implementation of higher sustainability efforts in the supply chain, and they demand more vivid graphics, faster turn-around and lower cost. Faced with these challenges, Cyber Graphics, partnered with Flint Group Flexographic Products to explore the very best in plate making technology. The culmination of this project resulted in the installation of the nyloflex® Automated Plate Processor (APP) into Cyber Graphics’ Memphis facility.
“We’re always looking ahead to find the latest technical developments,” stated Rick Parker, Director of Operations and Technology at Cyber Graphics. “Our customers expect us to create value through innovation. That sometimes means finding a better workflow and also investing in new production infrastructure. If we were to start resting on our laurels, that would be the time we’d start falling behind.”
Echoing the need for innovation, Cyber Graphics’ Manufacturing Site Director, Edwin Woods, was part of a team that oversaw the optimisation of the company’s plate room: “For us, lean manufacturing means getting more from less,” explained Woods. We investigated and streamlined everything from the way raw plate material is brought into the room, how it gets Q.C.’d, and how we ship the finished plates to our customers. We’ve developed proprietary systems, including the automated cut-down and labelling of each plate, along with standard operating procedures and inspection systems to ensure we consistently produce the best quality plates possible. The nyloflex® APP System, as a new centrepiece, significantly reduces the handling of the plate and therefore improves standardisation and helps to avoid problems.”
But with automated plate making being nothing new, how can the nyloflex® APP system improve the process further? “Speed and ease of servicing,” reports Steve Dearing, Cyber Graphics Manufacturing Project Leader. “Simply put, the nyloflex® APP equipment can process a typical 1.7 mm (0.067”) plate in about 40% less time when compared to other systems. Being able to run 16 plates back-to-back without operator handling and getting finished plates out in record time makes the difference between a job that ships today and a job that sits until tomorrow.” Steve added, “Previous automated systems were a lot of work to keep running properly. The design of the nyloflex® APP equipment perfectly reflects our requirements for a system that is easier to operate and maintain.”
With the nyloflex® Automated Plate Processor (APP), Flint Group designed a fully automated processing line with premium equipment as well as outstanding productivity and consistency. The efficient automation and high level of standardisation leads to a considerably improved plate and printing quality. Waste and failure rates can be reduced to a minimum, resulting in significant cost savings. The high performance processing line has a capacity of up to 120 printing plates / 320 m² per day. Across all tested plates, those processed with the nyloflex® APP equipment show a significant reduction of the total processing time of more than 35%, compared to stand-alone devices.