Soma – Optima2 with new technology demonstrated at drupa
GERMANY • Soma Engineering launched a wide web version of its Optima short run CI flexographic printing press at drupa. The company debuted its Optima2 wider web version (1050 mm/41”, and 1270 mm/50”) featuring five solutions for flexography including its Advanced Bounce Control technology. During the demonstration, the press printed a challenging job for flexo printers, a design with a horizontal bar across it, a bounce-generating gap. It was demonstrated at 400 m/min (1312 fpm), but can print up to 500 m/min (1640 fpm), according to the company. The company uses a single block printing unit frame as this provides rigidity and damping capabilities. All of the frames used for the Optima2 are solid and on average 130 mm (5.1”) thick, in some areas of the frame up to 200 mm (7.9”). This system has been inspired by the high precision demands from CNC machinery. Soma worked to increase machine position accuracy and stability; the bounce reduction capabilities of carbon fibre are well known, and they find an application in the new press.
Soma worked with the German manufacturer Allstein on this technology to integrate the Arun plate mounting system that mounts the next job and also calculates the registration and impression setting offline on the plate mounter while the press is printing another job.
This “zero-meter, set-up waste system”, as the company calls it, requires a slightly modified sleeve that is supplied by several sleeve manufacturers including Polywest, Flint Rotec and/or Rossini. The data for register and impression setting are stored in chips in the sleeve and doesn’t take longer than two or three minutes. This was also demonstrated at drupa.
Tests showed that 1% highlight dots remain unharmed by the topography scan of the combined sleeve tape and plate combination and the total waste for impression and register setting was reduced to five metres (16.4 feet) or less. The system is available for sleeves up to 1650 mm (65”) wide and with 1400 mm (55.1”) repeat length.
The company has developed and patented an ink cartridge system that offers a way to reduce ink costs on jobs where expensive inks for spot colours, special effects or a metallic look are required. By using the system, only a minimum of 1 litre (maximum up to 3 litres) will be in the system, as opposed to five to seven. Therefore the losses are much lower. Field tests show that on average almost 18% of the ink can be saved this way, according to the company. It works with solvent- and water-based inks, as well as UV inks. The Cartridge can be toollessly fitted to the doctor blade chamber. Features include automatic viscosity control, wash-up, touch screen control and tool free maintenance. Another feature is its Ink Fix is a spot colour matching solution that the company said reduces waste and increases the efficiency of on-press colour correction.
The company offers a broad range of downstream technology options including flying splicing, single shaftless winders, cantilevered winders, special winders for paper board, additional printing units and reverse printing units with turnbars, overprinting, gravure printing units for cold sealing, lacquering and coating units, inline slitting. There is currently a development project for adding inline lamination to the options.