BELGIUM • Both companies are bringing together their combined expertise in production processes of anilox roll manufacturing and accurate anilox measurement systems. The recent Labelexpo Europe 2017 event served as the stage to show the kick-start to this collaboration.
The following interview with Phil Hall, managing director of Troika Systems and Toon van Steensel, plant manager of Apex Europe outlines the path that led to the partnership and what the future holds.
What led to the decision for Apex and Troika to partner?
Phil & Toon: Over the past decade, a close relationship between the companies has developed which has resulted in reputable products like Apex GTT anilox and Troika AniCAM/Anilox QC. The reliability and consistency of measurements from the Troika system is most important for Apex to produce consistent engraving quality.
What strengths does Apex bring to the flexible packaging industry?
Phil: Apex has certainly assisted all three prime sectors of the industry (label, wide web and corrugated) by developing anilox technology from the original hexagonal cell structures to engraving structures which meets the current industry needs.
What advantages does Troika offer?
Toon: Troika offers reliable measurement devices which are extremely important for companies that want to implement standardization and improve the control of their print process with respect to anilox and ink transfer. Especially in the case of fixed colour palette printing (4c or 7c), this is of the utmost importance.
Does Apex currently use Troika measurement tools for the anilox rolls they manufacture?
Toon: Of course! We evaluate all measuring devices on a regular basis that are available in the industry. It does remain an issue, though, to show that Apex and Troika will always measure 100% an equal volume. Therefore, printers need gauge equipment in the form of a gauge anilox roll. On this banded roll, the measuring device will be adjusted and this process will stay necessary for Apex to ensure that all rolls coming from each Apex production facility have the exact same volumes.
What is your impression of Apex anilox engravings when it comes to consistency?
Phil: In late 2015, I visited a label printer to check the consistency of the 48 GTT anilox rolls they had purchased from Apex approximately six months earlier. The anilox rolls were in constant use and deep cleaned on a regular basis. The rolls were measured for differences in volume both laterally and for differences between the individual aniloxes. The maximum variation both laterally and between all the anilox rolls was a remarkable 0.1 cm3/m2, which is the tolerance of the AniCAM with Anilox QC application. This is an indication of the consistency of quality Apex can achieve in production.
How will the partnership be promoted in the future?
Phil: Many print groups are looking to standardize their production between plants. Apex has evolved the GTT to a point where it is used by many print groups, with a significant number now using the Troika AniCAM with Anilox QC and the Anilox Management System (AMS) for their inventory management. Using the same measurement systems will ensure compatibility and enhance confidence in what the printers measure and what Apex states is the volume engraved.
Toon: I could not have said it better.