But first, in case all these names beginning with Roto are confusing, let’s provide some context!
The story starts in 2009 when Antron Hendricks of Cape Town-based TEC (The Engraving Company) joined forces with Michael Aengenvoort. The resultant joint venture, called Rototec, continued TEC’s traditional business of producing solid rotary cutting dies, as well as under-licence production of Apple Die’s magnetic flexible dies. At the same time, Rototec took on the South African agency for RotoControl, a German company headed by Michael’s elder son Marco.
From then on, sales of RotoControl’s high-speed inspection, cutting and rewinding finishing machines grew by leaps and bounds; and this journal has featured numerous articles chronicling ever-burgeoning sales of RotoControl units to South Africa’s label printers. At the last count, the number of RotoControl installations was 28.
In view of this firm foundation in the narrow-web sector, it wasn’t surprising to learn that RotoCon sought to round out its portfolio by adding local representation for one of the world’s best-known press manufacturers.
As Pascal and Patrick Aengenvoort confirm, there are already 11 MPS presses installed in label printing plants around South Africa – for instance at Roll On Labels, GM Graphix, Spear System, Paarl Labels, Universal Labels & Packaging, Labelpak and Flexoprocess.
‘We’re confident of adding considerably to that number in the coming months,’ says an upbeat Patrick, going on to reveal that JMB Labels in Johannesburg has recently signed an order for an MPS press plus a RotoControl unit (watch for more about that story in a coming issue of PPM).
Flexible and productive label presses
At last year’s Labelexpo Europe, MPS showed three presses – the EC for labels and film; the EF multi-substrate press; and the latest EXL, available in either sleeve offset or wide-web flexo versions.
All of these presses will now be sold by RotoCon in South Africa.
Built in three different web widths, the cost-effective EC features chill drum technology, short web, crisp dot and converting rail system. All print settings are controlled using MPS’s servo positioning technology (called APC, or Automated Print Control). Print settings as well as other press settings (such as UV, corona and web tension) can be loaded into job memory for repeat jobs.
The star of the MPS flexo press family, the EF is a multi-substrate press in which material compensation is controlled by servo positioning technology (extended APC). Print settings are completely automated and can be stored in job memory, allowing both initial and repeat jobs to be easily uploaded. This flexible and productive label and converting press is built in various web widths including 20 inches. Multiple converting modules are available, as well as different inking systems.
The EXL is an automated offset combination press using sleeves for the plate and blanket carrier. Newly-designed offset print pressure settings and controls have allowed MPS engineers to make use of ‘normal’ sleeve technology without the use of special support rings or other mechanical compensation, allowing for varied repeats.
MPS claims to have found novel ways to control and automate this offset technology resulting in extremely short set-up times and low set-up waste. Thanks to MPS’s APC technology, including job memory, even inexperienced operators quickly achieve good results with this new EXL machine.
Another variant is the EXL-packaging, a wide-web flexo version offering speeds of 300m/min. The EXL-packaging variant comes with APC as standard together with iControl and job memory. In addition, high-speed hot-air driers for both solvent-based inks and water-based inks are available. A dedicated inking system has been developed with an ink-chill option.
Vision control, foil savings – get it all from RotoCon
Two more critical agencies that complete RotoCon’s line-up of products for the labelling and narrow-web sector are AVT and Pantec GS Systems.
Explains Pascal, ‘Almost all RotoControl units sold in South Africa are equipped with AVT vision systems; and Pantec’s in-line foil embossing units offer great foil-saving advantages.’
In fact, Swiss company, Pantec GS Systems, promoted its products at Label Summit Africa in Cape Town in March. According to Peter Frei, Pantec’s CEO, the exercise proved that local label printers are ready for efficient, high-quality finishing. He was extremely satisfied with response to his company’s in-line foiling and foil-saving systems.
‘The wine label market in South Africa is seeing increasing demand for quality finishes, which means growing use of in-line flat-bed finishing systems. But cost reductions are important for all labels, not just wine labels, and printers see opportunities with rotary foil-saving systems to reduce foil costs,’ Peter comments.
At last year’s Labelexpo Europe, Pantec Rhino stamping system achieved outstanding results on open structured paper at 120m/min with perfect register and micro-embossing structures. Demonstrations of this flat-bed technology proved that in-line hot foiling increases efficiency, saves costs, improves press performance and reduces lead times.
‘Flat bed hot foiling allows use of cheaper foils and tool costs are a fraction compared to rotary,’ explains Peter. ‘Many printers focusing on premium labels with a high percentage of foiling are now putting Pantec’s Rhino system at the top of their investment lists,’ he adds.
Service and spares back-up
Importantly, RotoCon is also ensuring ongoing service and spare parts for all RotoControl, Rotoflex, MPS and AVT installations in South Africa.
‘We have two technicians on our staff, and they’re soon to be trained at MPS headquarters in Holland,’ explains Patrick Aengenvoort.
Yet another arrow in the quiver is RotoCon’s offer of refurbished equipment. ‘Through our partners in Europe, we can offer extremely high-quality presses,’ Pascal explains. ‘In fact, in the last three years, we’ve sold several used presses, completely refurbished to “as-new” quality.’