Blending Rotogravure Worlds in Today’s World Uteco History in Rotogravure

Established in 1985, Uteco Converting Spa has become the largest Italian manufacturer and one of the most important suppliers of equipment in the field of flexible packaging worldwide.

Uteco manufactures yearly 60 converting lines, with a turnover exceeding 70 Million Euro. Approximately 65% goes for export, which spans the five continents, reaching around 2.500 installation.

Nevertheless Uteco core business is flexographic presses, since 1992 Uteco has manufactured a hundred of gravure presses, often with special configurations for top of the range applications:

  • flexible films for the packaging industry
  • aluminum for food packaging
  • wood grain applications for furniture and automotive
  • banknotes printing, holograms and security applications
  • tobacco wrapping boxes

Innovation has always been a key-point at Uteco. Innovation meaning not only leading-edge equipment, but also tailored machines answering the specific needs of converters in any corner of the world. The favor won by Uteco machines is in fact largely due to a very close cooperation with their end-users, starting from the project and design stage, more and more involving directly the major food and beverage companies.

Uteco range of rotogravure presses, all relying on the highly refined Uteco own Electrical Line Shaft software, includes:

  • Q-PRESS quick job change and high automation
  • M-PRESS high customization for special applications
  • H-PRESS high speed, high productivity
  • E-PRESS easy to use, high performance

EXPLORING THE WORLD
In an oversimplified view the world of flexible packaging is split in two halves: the Western countries where flexographic printing is king and the Eastern countries where gravure printing is queen.

More and more this separation is fading out because the world is changing quickly and, through globalization, needs and key business drivers are spread openly. The challenge is to be able to stay on the market and answer to customer needs with multiple options, flexibility and tailored products.


MIXING CULTURES

After having understood that mixing cultures and having home in more places in the world are enabling factors, a few years ago Uteco started to look about for an effective partner in order to exploit the Asian markets and set up a range of cost effective rotogravure presses, retaining the high level of technology peculiar to Uteco range of rotogravure presses.

At the same time the Indian company Kohli Industries was looking about for a partner with the know-how on Electrical Line Shaft and a worldwide commercial/service network.

Kohli is from 1972 a key player on the Asian market for the Mechanical Line Shaft rotogravure presses and converting machines, with good respect among his customers and with a modern and dynamic approach. Today Kohli is based in a new factory in Mumbai with capability for expansion of the plant and asset for a second one nearby.

Finally in early 2009 Uteco and Kohli agreed to set up their partnership with the goal to become the market leader in highly effective Electrical Line Shaft rotogravure presses, machines that could be of broad interest for the Eastern countries (already using in massive way the Mechanical Line Shaft rotogravure presses) and of increasing interest for the Western countries (looking more and more at reduced investment presses).

The partnership sets basis in a know-how transfer and technical/managing support from Uteco to Kohli, backed by a manufacturing outsource at Kohli facilities for a new range of rotogravure Electrical Line Shaft presses.


LOOKING AT A BRIGHT FUTURE

In order to take benefit of the full potentiality of Uteco-Kohli couple, the partnership agreement takes into account:

  • long lasting partnership
  • sharing of Uteco know-how
  • common products definition
  • commercial procedures
  • design, manufacturing, test cooperation
  • installation procedures
  • service procedures

A NEW RANGE OF PRODUCTS
The preliminary steps to set up a brand new range of Electrical Line Shaft rotogravure presses for reduced investment/high productivity queries were:

  • port the Uteco Electrical Line Shaft to Kohli rotogravure platform
  • introduce Kohli team to the established 350 mt/min E-PRESS Uteco range

The first step gave rise to the 250 mt/min V-PRESS range of Electrical Line Shaft rotogravure presses, both in shafted and shaftless version (V-PRESS/SH).

The second step was important for process improvement, to raise product quality, to climb further in the learning curve and to understand the boundaries of cost-performance tradeoff at the sight of finalizing the proper range of presses for the nowadays needs.

At last a number of V-PRESS, V-PRESS/SH, E-PRESS and E-PRESS/SH presses are in production and were the input for the following V-PRESS-300 and V-PRESS-300/SH, the 300 mt/min press on which the more effective solutions were selected for having a good quality and high productivity rotogravure press yet retaining a very achievable investment level, even in an economic conjunction that makes life difficult for printing companies that need to buy additional machines or change to more modern ones.

Figure 1: E-PRESS/SH

Figure 2: V-PRESS-300

Figure 2: V-PRESS-300

FEATURES OF THE NEW V-PRESS-300
Some of the main features of the brand new V-PRESS-300 rotogravure press manufactured in India by Kohli under technical collaboration with Uteco are:

  • Drive: Uteco Electrical Line Shaft (ELS)
  • Web width: 650 to 1350 mm
  • Printing repeat: 400 to 900 mm
  • Printing speed: 300 mt/min
  • Materials: plastic film, paper, laminates for flexible packaging (aluminum foil on request)
  • New design for easy and safe operation/maintenance, yet granting fast changeover with minimal operator effort
  • Shaftless system by means of pneumatic clamp or clean mechanical coupling for fast and effortless print cylinder changeover
  • Sleeve type impression rollers for quick change of sleeves on the machine without web removal or release of tension
  • Light weight interchangeable trolleys for inking system, with ink tray designed to work with small quantities of ink and special ink flow to improve fresh ink incoming around the cylinder
  • Four motion doctor blades capable of multi position, accuracy of ink doctoring and sturdiness of structure
  • Pre-register control for minimum material waste during start-up of a new printing job
  • High drying performance with reduced consumption and low solvent residual on the printed material
  • urret unwind and rewind units with auto splicing at maximum production speeds for non-stop production

Figure 3: V-PRESS-300/SH and Q-PRESS at Converdrome

Figure 3: V-PRESS-300/SH and Q-PRESS at Converdrome


ROTOGRAVURE AT CONVERDROME
In Uteco Converdrome (the showroom in Italy – Colognola ai Colli) two rotogravure printing units are visible: the top range Q-PRESS and the entry level V-PRESS-300. These printing units are fully equipped and functional in many features in order visitors to understand and appreciate their peculiarities.

In Kohli factory (in India – Mumbai) Uteco and Kohli jointly arranged successful Open Houses in the occasion of E-PRESS, V-PRESS and V-PRESS-300 print trials, as well as more Open Houses will take place in the near future with the V-PRESS-300.

In the meantime research work is in progress on many fields like quick pre-register (soon available as standard), drive, transmission, cylinder locking, innovative drying system, innovative automatic washing, trolley automatic change, inking system automatic change and others.

Recent Posts
Archives