Sakurai showed off the LQM 105 embosser at its open house in London last week, offering further embellishment options to users of its rotary screen presses.
The unit is the company’s answer to the growth of interest in foiling and uses foil on over a screen applied varnish. This means that foil can be applied anywhere to a B1 sheet of any paper type and with detail impossible to achieve through other methods.
It is not a variable data process, like say Scodix, MGI or Duplo, but is more economic on longer runs. Nor does it rely on dies using instead a standard screen imaged through a 2400dpi Rip.
The system operating in the company’s European showroom near Heathrow was a late prototype ahead of a full commercial launch at the end of this month. “It’s a simple way for a user of our screen printing machines to offer enhanced embellishment,” says general manager Claudio Moffa. “A customer that is today offering just standard flood or spot varnish or an offset printer wanting to produce everything in-house, can add this kind of embellishment.”
The showroom also acts an a training unit for the Sakurai screen press portfolio and a tech centre to put new ideas through their paces. Moffa has installed a direct to screen system to show how clean and simple it is to turn digital artwork into the intricate foil images. “It’s screen making without the smell that people associate with this process,” he adds. “And all the details from the screen are printed with a UV varnish and covered by the foil.”
The sheet to be enhanced has the UV varnish applied and is the passed through two rollers, the top one with the foil, and material job pressed into position to give a hot foil finish. It is possible to adjust the height go the varnish to achieve embossed effects as well as the foil finish.
As well as an opportunity for trade finishers, Sakurai points to opportunities for greetings cards, book covers, business cards, folders and packaging.
Customers for this or other technology from the Japanese manufacturer will come in for training and acceptance trials before the press is shipped. After a further week on the job training, the customer is earning money from the investment.
Around half those at the event last week were from a traditional graphic arts background, the remainder from an industrial print background, demonstrating the way that screen printing has become vital for auto manufacturers, printed electronics, membrane switches and more.
As well as standard screen machines, the liquid embellishment and a textile press there was a first UK appearance of an inspection unit that uses 3D cameras to check the integrity of a printed sheet. While the applications in some of the industrial applications are clear, the Maestro 102 NS will check a printed sheet for defects like colour shift, scratching or missing elements. Any that fall short of top quality are rejected while a report is produced to show that blanks for cosmetic cartons for example, are perfect.
The inspection system is built around the sheet handling of a rotary screen press. The sheet is advanced into the grippers where it stops in precise position for examination at high quality. In this form, the unit will assess 4,000 B1 sheets an hour.
The inspection cameras can also be mounted above a conveyor, but there will be a loss of accuracy from measuring a moving sheet.
The unit was introduced a year ago with Sakurai shipping ten or so to date, the majority in quality fastidious Japan. “It is expensive, but not compared to the cost of having a customer reject a job,” says a spokesman from Japan.
Sakurai showed off screen printing technology to an audience from all over Europe last week. The business is growing in particular as demand from industrial users increases. However, the company introduced technology for embellishment of printed sheets.