As part of its ongoing mission to benchmark local products against international counterparts, in order to give corrugated and folding carton converters access to world-class tooling and dies, Laserpac has recently partnered with Cito, a German company with a solid reputation for the supply of die-cutting and creasing matrix consumables.
Laserpac’s move is in line with a growing international trend to provide certified ejection material for the manufacture of food packaging. ‘European legislators, for instance, are currently examining the possible release of contaminants during the use of plastics in the die-cutting process, as materials that haven’t been developed for this application are commonly used,’ explains Laserpac MD, Craig Beswick. ‘Because cutting dies come into contact with packaging during the die-cutting process, ejection materials could contaminate the pack, making it extremely difficult to obtain a safety declaration,’ he adds.
For this reason, and with optimised food safety and die-cutting performance top of mind, CITO continually develops special ejection materials for packaging production on cutting dies.
‘CITO’s engineering and R&D teams have taken the specific requirements of the packaging industry into account,’ Craig notes. ‘These include improved compressibility to reduce cutting pressure; making the cutting process safer and minimising production stoppages; minimising horizontal expansion to support holding points; and reducing weight to facilitate handling of cutting dies.’
The development process has also included analysis of millions of pieces of data gathered specifically from folding carton and corrugated board cutting processes, endurance tests on CITO’s simulation systems, high-speed video analysis of the cutting process, and practical tests on die-cutting machines.
The resulting CITOject F elastomer has a closed structure to avoid contamination during cutting with a water jet and conforms to the EU Directive (EC 1935/2004) for food contact materials. It’s used only with EasyFix adhesives, which have corresponding safety declarations from the ISEGA testing and certification institute.
CITO’s range of self-adhesive ejection materials and rubber profiles also includes CITO Master Rubber EasyFix, CITO Fast Rubber EasyFix, CITO D/5 EasyFix, CITO D/5 Top EasyFix, CITO C/3 EasyFix and CITO B/2 EasyFix. They can be attached easily and precisely, and removed without any residue or damage to the surface of the cutting die.
According to Craig, the difference in price of CITOject F ejection materials compared to conventional materials is marginal, but productivity is noticeably higher, and folding carton or corrugated board converters can rest assured that materials in their cutting dies aren’t contaminating food packaging.