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Gallus presents new machine platform for the growing label-printing market

Seven years after the market launch of the Gallus ECS 340, currently the best-selling and thus most successful conventional label printing system in its class, Gallus is set to write another chapter in its success story. In a world première, Gallus is showcasing a pre-series model of its latest generation of machines at the Gallus Innovation Days, which are taking place from 20 to 22 September at the company headquarters in St.Gallen, Switzerland.

The Gallus Labelmaster is a label printing press platform designed for the label and packaging market. It features a special platform design and can be configured by customers to meet their own specific requirements. With its open interfaces and Heidelberg platform development know-how for offset presses of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), this machine series represents a highly secure investment and enables users to respond flexibly to future changes in the market. The new Gallus Labelmaster for label printing thus builds on the successful, tried-and-tested design principle of Speedmaster offset printing presses from Heidelberg. “Gallus and Heidelberg have harnessed a great many synergies in developing the new platform technology for the label market. A modular design and a reduction in complexity benefit both sets of customers, sheetfed and label market, and make them more competitive,” says Stephan Plenz, Member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for Equipment. The Gallus Labelmaster augments the existing digital label printing portfolio – also developed in collaboration with Heidelberg and based on the Gallus Labelfire 340 – with a solution for high-quality packaging and label applications. Gallus is set to launch the first series machines with a web width of 440 mm. Other, wider web widths will follow as development of the machine system continues. A Gallus customer is currently putting the first machine through its paces in an intensive field test programme and the first series deliveries are scheduled for the second quarter of next year.

In the new platform system, the Gallus Labelmaster is made up of modules that each comprise two printing units. These modules are available in three different variants – The basic version already covers all the required standards of the label printing. The “Plus” version allows greater flexibility and the “Advanced” version leaves almost nothing to be desired and is configurable for all needs in the level of automation. By opting for a modular system, Gallus is ensuring that label printers can satisfy prevailing market requirements and stay fit for the future at all times. And this for investment sums that were not previously possible for premium products.

This modularity is made possible by, among other things, a new locking system that makes it easy to change printing units accurately. The system positions the printing units on the base unit with absolute precision and locks them in place, thus ensuring 100 percent register accuracy from the moment the press is started up, regardless of what substrate is chosen. What’s more, the machine system supports a wide range of substrates, from paper and PE to PP and foil.

The developers at Gallus have also introduced a very special feature to make the Gallus Labelmaster exceptionally user friendly. Summarised under the term “best-spot interaction”, the Gallus engineers have ensured that the press is simple and above all fast to operate across all sectors. The press can be controlled centrally via an HMI touch panel, although manual intervention is also supported, with operators able to make changes with ease and, more importantly, very quickly, thereby achieving extremely short setup times. The lightweight aluminium printing cylinders that have been specially developed for this machine type can be changed in just a few quick steps, thus ensuring that job changes can be completed with unparalleled speed.

However, it is not just setup processes that have been speeded up – the high printing speeds of up to 200 m/min on the press ensure outstanding operational cost-efficiency with absolute register accuracy. A short web path of just 1.1 m from printing unit to printing unit significantly reduces waste and an optimised ink duct for the chambered doctor blade needs just 250 g of ink and therefore keeps the associated costs low, in addition, the ink duct has been improved in ink spitting and foaming. The newly designed flexographic printing unit - developed with the experience from the structural principles of the Heidelberg sheetfed offset printing - is driven directly by two servomotors and delivers premium Gallus quality from the start. Besides being fitted out with flexographic printing units, the press can also be equipped with a newly developed screen printing unit that enables users to make the most of high-end finishing options.

The register accuracy of the Gallus Labelmaster is particularly striking – whether the press is running at a low setup speed or being accelerated to a high maximum speed, the printed image is always in register, without the slightest correction necessary. This performance highlights the precision of the Gallus Labelmaster.

By developing this machine platform for label printing, Gallus has succeeded in giving the market a press for conventional label and package printing that offers virtually unrivalled flexibility. Thanks to the three module variants, this platform can be used to configure the right press for any business model – and all for an outstanding price-performance ratio coupled with the famous Gallus quality. Put simply, it is Gallus-like.