The flexible packaging printer remains dedicated to offset
No change to quick-change production at Wesselink
Quick changes are the core business of Wesselink Drukwerk, a high-quality packaging printer working in the food and non-food sectors. Despite specializing in flexible packaging, the company chose the offset route from the outset and still considers this as the key to its continued success: “Using offset enables us to make very swift job or version changes at low cost,” comments Ben Wesselink, owner of Wesselink Drukwerk.
Controling the cost of substrates
While remaining 100 percent dedicated to printing flexible substrates, including transparent material, paper laminates, plastic laminates and foils, Wesselink has progressively invested in new equipment and capabilities to keep expanding and upgrading its offering to clients. To complement production from a ten-color DG Vision press, this progression included investment in a five-color, Thallo 850 hybrid web offset press with UV curing and one flexo unit in 2016.
As Ben Wesselink explains, the rising costs of substrates was a prime motive for the investment. “Traditionally, changing runs and new job makeready is always when most waste occurs – and we specialize in very short runs, averaging in the region of 1500 – 1700 meters,” he comments. “In order to remain competitive and continue offering a compelling service for customers, we wanted the leanest solution possible. This was central to the decision to buy the Thallo press.”
One of the primary considerations in the original design of Thallo technology was how it could contribute to a lean production environment. As a consequence, every small detail of the system has been optimized for press up-time and minimizing waste. By using a second pass, some jobs Wesselink produces are printed seamlessly without a plate gap meaning that the greatest area of substrate is utilized.
Wesselink’s Thallo press has a maximum print width of 840 mm, just 10 mm less than the total machine width. For ultimate productivity, the company gangs jobs across the full web, ensuring the absolute minimum of substrate is left unused. The sleeves also allow easy and cost-effective printing of different repeat lengths because there’s no need to change the unit or ‘print cartridge’, so a new job can be started in just a few minutes. To add to the benefits, the latest generation sleeve design delivers improved repeatability and an even longer lifespan than the original, already-impressive figures, and at a more competitive price.
As well as the low-waste pedigree of the Thallo, its modular inline platform was also of high importance to Wesselink due to the flexibility it could provide for future production requirements. The configuration can be easily adapted to meet changes in market demands or to incorporate another process or ancillary: for example, an additional offset, flexo or rotogravure station, should the printer need to add a new special color or coating capability.
“We’re still very much a growing business so we need to make sure we remain versatile and responsive to the market,” comments Ben Wesselink, “Our signature is of course our offset quality – our clients appreciate the fine detail and subtle gradients we can achieve – but we don’t have a crystal ball. It’s important to stay alert, watch the trends and be in a position to anticipate change. The Thallo will be fundamental to our future.”
Thallo web offset systems are produced and distributed under a strategic partnership between Contiweb and DG press.