Decorating, Printing & Finishing at NPE 2003
NPE will amply reflect the wide variety of plastics decorating and finishing options, with exhibits of pad, screen, ink-jet, dry-offset, flexo, and gravure printing technologies, as well as hot stamping/heat-transfer decorating, laser marking, and spray painting. In-mold decorating with preformed inserts of painted or printed films will appear in several booths. Lots of new equipment for surface treatment and static elimination will also be on hand.
In-mold is in style
Ever more popular in-mold decorating (IMD) technology will be highlighted by at least four decorating companies (and several more injection molding equipment OEMs). For instance, Romo, Inc., is introducing Rezimark dry erase films and custom graphics. Used as IMD inserts, they create a surface on an injection molded part that will allow for dry-erase marking for applications such as containers and desk tops. Serigraph is making its debut as a one-stop source for IMD services from engineering through injection molding. Proell, Inc. will demonstrate new screen-printing inks for creating IMD graphics on acrylic and PET films.
Print it every which way
Here is a brief summary of the wealth of printing technology available at the show:
- Pad printing: Among 18 exhibitors, new products will be featured by Kase Equipment and Pad Print Machinery. Kase’s new nine-color cup printer prints 650 cups/min and has CNC control for saving set-ups. Pad Print is showcasing a new five-color, programmable model with automatic pad cleaning and hot-air drying between colors.
- Dry offset: You’ll find a dozen exhibitors. Apex has a new plastic cork printer and Van Dam is showing a new eight-color lid printer for up to 600/min.
- Screen printing: There are 11 exhibits. Kammann will unveil new screen-making technology that eliminates the film step.
- Flexo and rotogravure: For web printers there are seven flexographic exhibitors and three in rotogravure.
- Laser marking: Among four exhibitors of this up-and-coming technique, both Baublys and Markem will show new systems.
- Ink jet: There are four exhibitors, two of them—Markem and Printsafe—with new systems.
There is also a hard-to-classify digital printing technique from Impress Systems. It prints on cylindrical and flat objects using a heat-transfer foil with an on-demand, dot-matrix-type thermal head and Windows-based print software.
News in hot stamping
At least 24 companies are exhibiting heat-transfer equipment, tooling, and materials. The news here includes Apex Machine’s rotary system that pretreats, hot stamps in two colors, clear coats, and uv dries closures at 80 to 100 parts/min. Kensol-Franklin will roll out a larger (20-ton) hot-stamp press that self-compensates for variations in product thickness.
Surface treating & coating
At least 14 exhibitors will highlight surface treatments for decorating, coating, and bonding. One emphasis is better treating of 3D shapes. 3DT LLC is showing its new BottleDyne corona systems that can treat containers at line speeds of up to 7000 parts/hr. Linden Creek Management is featuring the Cirqual burner, which creates a “3D” flame said to be more effective in treating complex part shapes.
Lectro Engineering Co. is introducing the LT Cold Flame, said to be the first cost-effective replacement for flame treaters. This indirect-electrode technology is said to cut costs relative to flame, corona, and plasma treating.
And for film, Future Design will show off new one- and two-side corona treaters from Martignoni in Italy.
For new coating technology, take a look at the Weko non-contact rotor spray-coating system from Switzerland. It’s on view at the Kinetic Enterprises booth.
And if you’re interested in robotic painting, Fanuc Robotics has a small, speedy new unit on view.
Understand and address the likely origins of welding problems to keep production on track.
The most important factor in troubleshooting problems in ultrasonic welding is understanding the fundamentals of the process.
Dye sublimation, a dye-transfer process that got its start in the 1960s for use in textiles, has advanced in recent years to provide wear-resistant, full-color surface decoration of flat objects like mouse pads and tiles.