How to optimise flexo production with rotec® upgrades for sleeves and adapters

There are many elements influencing a good outcome in flexo printing. To keep unwanted downtime to a minimum as job run lengths continue to decrease, converters must seek out suppliers that offer solutions that eradicate the weak links in the process chain. Sleeves and adapters may not be the stars of the show, but they play an essential role in making the flexo printing process smooth, profitable and sustainable.

From its market-leading position, XSYS is helping converters achieve higher press productivity and improved health & safety for the operators. Specifically with the extensive upgrade program for rotec® sleeves and adapters, upgrading will allow printers to achieve better efficiencies and extend the longevity of the sleeves and adapters thereby bringing better sustainability, lower waste and improved ROI.

‘rotec® has been in the sleeve and adapter segment for more than 30 years, which means we can offer decades of experience and innovation to our customers to help them meet current market challenges,’ said Uwe Müller, Head of R&D. ‘We know that converters each have their own way of working in the pressroom, which is why we offer a wide range of high-quality upgrade options to customise their rotec® sleeves and adapters so they better fit each individual printing press, the working environment and the job specifications.’

Flexible solutions and customisation

The innovative rotec® upgrade range has evolved to cover every aspect of the process and includes a wide number of solutions, from notches, rings and end plates to conductivity, registration and mounting tools, to labelling systems. For those converters needing more than the standard rotec® products and upgrades, XSYS also offers customised solutions built by a team of experts, which collaborate with the customer on each individual project and any specialty requirements.

Market feedback is the basis for this continued innovation from XSYS. ‘Listening to customers in order to learn exactly what they need helps us to develop new products and extras, so we can better support their goals, both in terms of productivity and sustainability,’ said Silvia Cristina Kabus, Sales Director Sleeves. ‘By leveraging the vast experience of the rotec® sales, technical service and production teams, we can find all sizes of flexible solutions outside the standard box of thinking, which will make a huge difference to each customer.’

She added, ‘It may seem quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things but changing something small – using replaceable notches or reinforced register pins for example – will contribute to the sustainability of the process by prolonging the lifespan of the sleeve or adapter, and in the long run also of the press.’

Making easy work of complicated processes

When it comes to operating flexo presses, efficiency is the name of the game. Shorter runs and an increased number of job changes per shift make downtime an even more important factor in productivity. Any tools to make these processes easier has a significant impact on the bottom line.

The rotec® Eco technology option, which uses a patented air distribution system for significantly easier sleeve mounting, is unique in the market. A cost-efficient method that can have a significant impact on the efficiency of the operation, it requires up to 90% less compressed air, which is especially helpful for customers with inconsistent or over-burdened compressed air systems.

The recently introduced Eco Xtra Ring adds extra protection by shielding the end of the adapter from wear, eliminating the risk of air leaking and creating issues with mounting. The first customer to implement the Eco Xtra Ring, which makes the adapter more robust and durable thereby increasing the ROI and, again, sustainability, is Emsur in Spain. The company tested the innovation at its Saymopack plant, in Valencia and reported great results.

‘During rough production processes, our adapters were becoming damaged very fast, so we needed to reinforce the operator side. The new ring protects the adapter from wear and improves the mounting characteristics quite significantly, as well as the overall lifetime,’ said Marcos Gaspar Calatayud, process improvement at Emsur Saymopack.

Taking a holistic view

Another unique innovation that prolongs the lifetime of the products and offers better protection for operators is rotec® W Technology for conductivity. As one of the safest products on the market, it is differentiated from competitive solutions because the sleeves and adapters are made fully conductive from the base through to the surface without the use of any mechanical parts or weak points in the construction. The result is a longer product lifetime that allows XSYS to offer a 10-year warranty for conductivity.

Meanwhile, non-metal upgrades are important for those customers who want to avoid metal in the press or prefer alternative materials. rotec® options include a composite notch, a PVC ring, and compressible end plates.

A holistic view of the overall operation can provide many more benefits from the rotec® range. For example, rotec® offers several solutions to optimise adapter use. Specialty pins and air channel systems allow multiple sleeve lengths to be mounted onto the same adapter – saving cost and increasing efficiency with a simpler set-up. In more extreme cases, it is also possible to run the press with multiple sleeves on one adapter. As customers expand their portfolio and requirements, flexible rotec® solutions allow everyone to achieve their goals more easily.

‘As a technical solutions provider, XSYS is number one or two in all the markets we serve, not least due to the expertise and experience our teams bring to every facet of the flexographic process. The ever-expanding rotec® offering of sleeves and adapters is always at the forefront of the market with innovative solutions for converters that enable them to stay flexible and produce brilliant results,’ concluded Patrick Lüdecke, General Manager, Sleeves.