Latest BOBST Developments in Gravure Technology for Coating Applications Presented during Symposium and Open House in Italy

A latest generation aluminium coating line at Bobst Italia's production plant in San Giorgio Monferrato, ready to be delivered to its new owner in Europe, provided the perfect opportunity for BOBST to hold a major two-day event that would gather in Italy local and international players from the converting industry.

The symposium sessions were held in the morning at a conference venue in the hills of Monferrato close to Bobst Italia's facility. BOBST specialists and guest speakers from Taghleef Industries and Actega Rhenania addressed the technical advances and opportunities that the latest coating and drying technologies, substrates and coating formulations offer to meet the challenges faced by today's converting industry.

Detlef Merklinger, Head of Product Line Coating for BOBST, welcomed the guests, together with Michele Vitiello, Managing Director of Bobst Italia. He then introduced BOBST Business Unit Web-fed and the organization and activities of the Coating Product Line he has been managing within the Business Unit since his appointment in June 2014. BOBST's core competences in coating are found at Bobst Italia, which is also the Group's center of excellence for gravure printing, laminating and extrusion coating technologies. The current BOBST range of coating machines reflects the over 50 years of know-how and experience that the company boasts in coating applications and the numerous installations that have been put into operation worldwide since 1960. Detlef Merklinger also introduced the competences of BOBST in terms of technologies that are most relevant for coating lines: winding, coating, drying, laminating, web handling and automation.

These main competences were subsequently looked into in more detail in the presentations that followed.

Gianni Zanatta, Product Manager, Product Line Coating, Bobst Italia, presented BOBST's range of gravure coating systems, from the traditional open doctor blade system to the state-of-the-art pressurized enclosed chamber doctor blade system.  The detailed presentation went through the pros and cons of each system depending on the application. Based upon the analysis and comparison of the performance of numerous parameters, including speed, changeover time and cost, the advantages of the pressurized enclosed doctor chamber system were demonstrated.

Mirko Rinco, RD Manager, Coating Product Line, Bobst Italia, spoke about the BOBST development of a floatation and a roller type, dryer for temperatures over 300°C. This innovative dryer for high temperatures was also showcased on the ROTOCOAT aluminium lacquering machine shown during the open house in the afternoon. This presentation looked in depth into the pros and cons of conventional drying systems and described the BOBST proprietary drying technology, which combines both impingement and floatation nozzles. The design criteria, working principle, technical data and advantages in terms of accessibility and maintenance were all presented and analyzed in order to demonstrate how BOBST dryers provide the perfect combination of drying efficiency and web stability.

Alexandre David, Sales Manager, Coating Product Line, Bobst Italia, concluded BOBST's presentations by introducing the aluminium lacquering machine shown at the Open House. This ROTOCOAT machine was developed to handle a number of different applications which include: wet lamination for the production of cigarette inner liners; 2-stage lacquering for products like foils for chocolate; and 3-stage lacquering for products like foil for cheese. The line has also been pre-prepared to include dry lamination in the future, in order to expand the range of applications that can be run on the machine.

BOBST's presentations were complemented by insightful presentation speeches given by representatives of Taghleef Industries and Actega Rhenania.

Emanuela Bardi, Junior Product Manager at Taghleef Industries, looked in depth into bi-oriented polypropylene films. After explaining their production methods and component properties, she went on to illustrate the importance of film coatings, as well as their different types, ranging from sealability and machinability coatings, through to barrier, conversion, functional, enhancing and tactile coatings. The advantages of these coatings were presented, including not only the additional barrier, or enhanced mechanical, properties of the substrates, but also their impact in relation to further processing of the film, such as better printability and higher machine speed.

For Actega Rhenania, a company of the Altana Group, Michael Lucas, Head of RD, and Stefan Brandhoff, Technical Area Sales Manager took the floor to present the company's coating formulations for substrates in the packaging and printing market, and applications for flexible packaging for products like consumer goods, pet food and pharma, as well as rigid solutions such as bottle caps and can ends. The first part of the presentation dealt with the different types of coating profiles, whilst the second focused on very useful and practical information about good housekeeping from pre-press to on-press and post-press which enable best performance of the coating formulation and application process. Examples of troubleshooting were also given.

After lunch, the event moved to BOBST's production plant to see the ROTOCOAT aluminium lacquering machine, an impressive double-deck, 45 m long, 8 m high production line. The machine features three coating stations for direct gravure coating with closed chamber doctor blade and semiflexo coating, along with three dryers which can reach up to 350°C air temperature depending on the application requirements, over a total dryer length of 45 m.

The demonstration on the ROTOCOAT was a dry run to exhibit the line's web handling capabilities in processing a sensitive 20 micron, 1020 mm wide aluminium foil reel at 400 m/min with perfect, defect-free, rewinding.  The performance of BOBST gravure coating technology was then shown during a wet run on the CL 850D coating and laminating line in Bobst Italia's Competence Center.

This successful two-day event was the latest occasion for BOBST to show the scope of its commitment to the development of state-of-the-art solutions for the coating industry.

Bobst Italia SpA, S. Giorgio Monferrato, Italy

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