In today's packaging printing house, controlling ink through the workflow is vital for ensuring an efficient, quality-assured operation.
GSE Dispensing, based in Brummen, The Netherlands, provides label and packaging converters with complete ink management solutions that achieve exact colour 'on-demand,' reduced waste and waiting time, along with added-value capabilities such as batch traceability. Its technologies include modular dispensing systems, table-top off-line proofers, integrated ink management software.
GSE's Colorsat dispensing systems dose the exact ink quality and volume, by automatically calculating and mixing the recipe from barrels of base components, within only a few minutes. Dispensing only what is needed and avoiding the need to prepare excess amounts and capable of effortlessly calculating return-inks into new recipes, the dispenser can reduce ink usage by up to 30%. Additional benefits resulting from automated dispensing include reduced stock management costs, as well as lower ink prices because it is only necessary to purchase base components instead of ready-mixed inks.
The company provides tailored systems for virtually all flexo, gravure and screen packaging printing situations, including narrow-web, flexible packaging, paper and board, with solutions for spot and process colours, and all ink sets.
For high-volume ink needs, the GSE Colorsat Compact dispenser features up to 34 components, modified on request for solvent inks, water-based inks or both. Batch dispensing limits can be 25kg (55 lb), or 600kg (1300 lb). There are two label printing dispensers, handling spot colours in 1kg - 10kg volumes, with up to 20 base components: the Colorsat Switch, for aqueous, UV and solvent inks supplied by exchangeable buckets; and the Colorsat Match, with for aqueous and UV-inks with fixed, refillable internal storage tanks.
For safe handling of solvent inks, GSE provides earthing ('grounding') components with IECEx explosion-proof certification, conducting static electricity from containers and base inks of the dispensing unit.
GSE's tabletop wet-proofing systems speed up the colour correction stage, measuring a flexo ink's colour at the same dot gain as it will experience on the press. Using the same plate, tape materials and miniature anilox rolls, the proofer provides a miniature simulation of the eventual printing conditions. This gives precise colour predictability, without fingerprinting, and without the need for colour adjustments during job changes at the target press. By simplifying perhaps the most time-consuming element of the makeready stage, an ink proofing system may add thousands of euros of extra press time to an average flexo plant.
Software systems have become integral to optimising process efficiency, thanks to their capability for complex calculations and connectivity.
GSE's ink management software solutions are the third element for optimizing performance, not just in the ink kitchen, but of the business as a whole. Central to this offering is GSE Ink manager. Integrating seamlessly with other software packages, it provide the basis for greater waste elimination, simplification of processes, faster response times and business planning.
The software maximises the reuse of inks returned from the press in more complex ways, by allowing them to be "clustered" together into one component, which is connected to the dispenser and processed automatically. Also, buckets with return inks may be reserved or prepared for specific, scheduled jobs. New colours created with colour formulation software can be stored, and existing colours can be adjusted and recalled easily. These can be dispensed in micro-volumes for table-top proofing.
GSE Ink manager also boasts extensive reporting capabilities. It provides real-time stock level and consumption information, calculating total volumes of all base colours connected to the dispenser along with the warehouse contents, and making adjustments with every dispensing cycle. Purchase advice for base colours is generated automatically when stocks fall below specified volumes. Regular stock management and per-job ink cost reports can be generated to help improve processes and forecasting. The software also tracks ingredients through the supply chain by storing ink batch data about every job, including reused return inks.
Other benefits include extensive search functionalities, a job list separating work preparation and ink production, integration with ink formulation and management information software, Wi-Fi connection to the dispenser for remote data entry, and cloud connectivity.
At GSE, we believe that an integrated ink logistics programme, comprising ink dispensing, colour management, proofing and integrated software, enables the package printer to reap the greatest performance benefits. Not only are costs of materials, downtime, labour and stockholding drastically reduced, but the printer is better placed to meet brand owners' expectations in terms of colour consistency, flexibility and traceability.