‘We acquired the press in July and it was running by September – on time and to budget,’ declares Gerald Chotu, operations and technical director. ‘It’s refreshing to have the advanced technology and the capacity to remain globally competitive,’ he continues. ‘Designed specifically for high-speed, quick-drying, intense colour printing, the Heliostar is certain to deliver huge benefits to Nampak Flexible and to the packaging industry in general.’
Featuring special slide-in carts that carry all inking components, the press has a print repeat range between 450mm and 950mm and delivers a maximum printing speed of 400m/min.
Colour intensity is maintained during printing with electrostatic print assist and automatic viscosity control, while its special ‘three o’clock’ ink roller positioning allows for smooth ink flow and release from the gravure cells. The machine is also equipped with a moveable turner bar, for inline reverse-side printing across the full web width, and a BST camera system that allows for print quality monitoring at any speed.
Exceptional design and performance
A first-class drying system is especially crucial when high production speeds with maximum ink coverage are demanded, and the Heliostar SL 10 features custom-designed drying hoods and air heating systems. Frequency converters control the drying air velocity and adjust to even the most sensitive substrates, eliminating streaking and minimising solvent retention in the printed material. W&H has also developed a fully-integrated solvent level control that meets the highest global standards.
A central, patented Pro Control panel regulates speed, web tensions, drying air temperatures, impression roller and doctor blade settings. These parameters are easily entered and stored in the job management system and are readily available for repeat orders. Pro Control incorporates specific Heliocontrol functions for the register controller, print assist, corona treater and viscosity controller.
State-of-the-art AC drives ensure maximum register accuracy during production and idling, and W&H Easy Sync delivers fast and simple pre-register and re-register settings, minimising waste and set-up time. To achieve accurate registration, Easy Sync uses laser scanning on the print cylinder for pre-positioning and the scanners at each print deck automatically track and check the print positioning through the Heliocontrol system. An automatic turret unwind and rewind station controls splicing at maximum running speeds.
‘Our strategy is always to “think customer” and a number of blue-chip brand owners are expressing a preference for gravure printing,’ remarks Clinton Farndell, MD, Nampak Flexible. ‘When considering a press to meet this trend, we were impressed by the Heliostar’s versatility and efficiency. Having partnered with W&H in the past, we were confident that area sales manager, Simon Pollock, and the Germany-based team would deliver a world-class system and the necessary operator training to allow us to produce premium-quality graphics with the utmost speed and efficiency,’ he adds. ‘Running perfectly since day one, the Heliostar is already at capacity with orders from leading consumer goods manufacturers who have been bowled over by its performance. We’re also realising some exciting fresh business opportunities and it won’t be too long before we require a second machine on our floor!’