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New Bobst M5 + AMS for Narrow Web Flexo LED UV Pioneer

ACM, the award-winning narrow web flexo specialist based near Milan, Italy, has commissioned a new 9-colour 670mm Bobst M5 press with the same LED UV curing system which Air Motion Systems retro-fitted to its Omet VaryFlex F1 530mm press at the end of 2014. The success of that installation is a world-first in this sector it helped win important new business and contributed to a 35% increase in turnover. Thus prompting the decision for the new Bobst M5, which is entirely additional capacity. As part of the agreement ACM has commissioned AMS to triple down with LED UV by replacing the conventional UV system on its 8-unit Omet Varyflex V2 press installed just over a year ago. In 2017, this third install will make ACM the sectors first all-LED UV printing operation.

In its short history, the flexible packaging print specialist has established itself as a frontrunner in a sector that has always been highly competitive and sensitive to change. Having been founded by Massimo Raffaele in 2005, ACM has received Labelexpo quality and excellence awards for three consecutive years, with a turnover of almost €15 million and contracts with many of Italy’s leading food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics manufacturers.

That rapid rise has been driven by a business ethos that relies on the most efficient working practices and latest technologies to deliver smaller quantities in shorter lead times at competitive prices, with particular emphasis on high quality thresholds and low environmental impact. For Massimo Raffaele the AMS LED UV system is a key component of that business model:

“LED UV streamlines our entire operation. The control software developed by AMS specifically for the flexo process, means we can fine-tune the intensity of the lamps on each unit according to the ink coverage, substrate characteristics. and press speed. With those ratios being maintained throughout the production run. We have no need to apply a primer and we have perfect substrate stability at our top speeds – even on the thinner, more fragile stocks such as 12 micron PET film. The working environment is also much better because there is no ozone, no unpleasant odours and no noisy extraction system.
The biggest benefit is the absence of heat from the rolls which enables us to become a unique ‘Just-In-Time’ partner supplier to our valued customers, freeing them to concentrate on what they do best instead of worrying about warehousing, stock rotation, and loss through wastage.”

The Bobst M5’s Digital Automation™ concept transforms flexo printing and die-cutting into a "digital" process. A "digital work flow" with integrated printing and converting technologies allows for 10 metres of waste and 1 minute for each job change, the highest quality consistency, and the lowest operating costs. Mr Raffaele had initially expected to install the new Bobst with conventional systems before later calling in AMS to fit the LED UV, but was surprised to find that the two manufacturers were ahead of him:

“When we visited the factory in Florence to sign off the press we found that AMS and Bobst were already working together on a press like ours in the USA with LED UV,” says Massimo Raffaele. “So much has changed in the last year – now LED UV is recognised as an established technology. In this case it made perfect sense for AMS to fit our system from new.”

ACM has recently developed a strategic partnership with nearby La Gerunda Merletti S.R.L., a specialist in larger format web flexographic printing which is to commission the world’s largest ever flexo LED UV curing system in late Summer this year. The press is specified with eight 1.2 metre wide printing stations, each with an AMS XP9 SeriesTM LED UV CI XP Series curing lamp.

For Air Motion Systems, European Sales Executive Paolo Nascimbeni says:

“It is clear that LED UV offers important benefits to the flexible packaging printing sector and the AMS solution, with our special software, has unique advantages. Our cassette-based slide-in, slide-out lamps are mercury-free, switch on and off instantly (10 milliseconds), and feature low energy, ozone-free operation. The chip diodes have a working life of up to 30,000 hours and do not emit heat into the substrate or fumes to the atmosphere. Operationally, financially and environmentally AMS is the right choice.”