Polymount’s sustainable Twinlock Sleeves4 September 2017
Polymount’s Twinlock Sleeves supersede the use of conventional mounting tape on printing press. Packaging & Converting Intelligence talks to Carlos Saya, the firm’s marketing manager, about how the product can save flexo printers time, energy and money.
For most packaging manufacturers, mounting tape remains a grim necessity for mounting flexo printing plates. The tape is made from Polyethylene, which has a closed structure and, therefore, is only temporarily compressible. This means that during a long print job, air pockets in the mounting tape will collapse, which, in turn, will lead to inconsistent print results. When this happens – as it always does – the mounting tape has to be replaced, leading to cost and time overruns.
A wise alternative
There is, however, a cheaper, more reliable and consistent alternative to this onerous product. Polymount’s Twinlock is a sleeve with much greater absorption qualities than conventional mounting tape, which reduces the impact of bouncing in the press due to open cell PU foam. It is also much easier to mount, saving time and money for the flexo printers. Morevoer, print quality is inevitably much higher when using Twinlock Sleeves. Its impact on supply chains is already being felt across the world.
“One out of every five sleeves worldwide is a Twinlock Sleeve,” says Carlos Saya, Polymount’s marketing manager. Even so, the firm still sees room for improvement. “We want to grow our market share even further. We have a strong presence in Western Europe and Scandinavia, but we still have a lot of room to grow in the US and Latin America.”
Polymount was founded in 2002 by its current CEO, Jan Willem Boers. Within a couple of years, the company was opening sales offices in Central Europe, Scandinavia and the UK. “In 2009, we opened a sales office and production site in the US,” says Saya.
The success of the Twinlock Sleeves was a key factor in its early expansion. The product is comprised of a base sleeve, upon which is applied a layer of polyurethane foam. Polymount’s proprietary Twinlock coating is then laid on top of this. A polymer designed to retain consistent adhesive properties, this layer is only 0.5mm thick. When combined with the 1.5mm layer of polyurethane foam, the resulting Twinlock Sleeve has an open cell structure, which allows it to absorb the bouncing from the printing press in a much more efficient manner than conventional mounting tape.
The product’s impact on the efficiency of printing lines can be startling. Although the Twinlock costs twice as much as a conventional base sleeve, by being better able to absorb the bouncing of the printing press, manufacturers are able to scale up their production and thereby boost profit margins. The opportunity cost involved in occasionally having to replace old mounting tape is also wiped out, because as long as oxygen surrounds the sleeve, the polymer is unable to change its chemical structure. Printers will ultimately save money as they no longer have to purchase mounting tape, with ROI after just 25 uses of the sleeve.
It is this elimination of waste that Saya believes makes Polymount stand out as a paragon of sustainability in the packaging industry. “Sustainability always plays a big role in the development of our products,” affirms Saya. “We strive to make products that cut down the costs of the printers in a sustainable manner. Our Twinlock Sleeves are a great example of this. Our latest development, our new Film Cleaner, is also a great example of a new product that we have developed to allow our clients to transform start-up waste into reusable material.”
Customers are not restricted to one type of Twinlock, either. The product comes in four different varieties, with three levels of hardness: soft, medium and hard. In effect, no type of printing press is beyond the remit of Polymount’s Twinlock. The firm’s Twinlock technical support is always on standby to assist packaging manufacturers with the installation of the product, and to train staff in their use. All its waiting for is a call from a potential client, and a chance to boost production permanently.