Star product: Baldwin ProTech Flexo cleaning & drying system

Jenny Roper
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This system reduces cleaning times and boosts eco-friendliness, says Baldwin

What does it do?

The Baldwin ProTech Flexo cleaning and drying system automates cleaning of the stereo of 1.6m to 3m wide flexo presses, removing the need for operators to open up units to clean them by hand and boosting a press’ eco performance. This significantly cuts cleaning time from around 10-15 minutes to 3.5 minutes per clean, says Baldwin, while reducing the chance of accidents when cleaning and dispensing with cleaning consumables, such as rags and cleaning cloths.

The product can be installed on a range of presses, including Bobst, Cuir, Emba, Langston, Martin, SHS, Texo, Goepfert, Marquip Ward United and Celmacch machines.

When was it launched and who is it aimed at?
The system was officially launched at this year’s Drupa, having been tested and subsequently purchased by two beta sites over the past year. The product has been initially developed for the corrugated board printing market, as this is where the manufacturer saw the most pressing need for a more thorough cleaning system. "In the corrugated board industry, there’s a lot of dust and particles around, which cause small marks on the stereo and dimishes print quality," explains Jens Gottschalk, flexo sales manager at Baldwin.

In the future, the system will perhaps be developed for other sectors as well, he says: "The other markets – where you print on film, for instance – use 1-1.3m presses, so we would need to come up with a version that fitted these. It is a matter of capacity at the moment. We decided first to move into corrugated board, but of course we are looking to see if there are other sectors that could be targeted."

How does it work?
The system uses a rotating and oscillating brush roller to clean stereos and an integrated air knife to dry the plate. The rotating brush is designed to clean the stereo with a gentle action so that the stereo isn’t scratched or damaged. All functions – including spraying of the pre-set amount of detergent and water onto the brush, as well as cleaning the brush rollers themselves prior to the next cleaning cycle – are programmed to work automatically and with the print units closed.

What is its USP?
Gottschalk says that, while there are other flexo cleaning systems available on the market, none offer as deep a clean as the ProTech system. "Some other systems just work on taking off hickeys from the surface of the stereo, whereas we go much deeper into the stereo," he says.

The biggest driver, though, is the environmental performance. The company claims it reduces start-up waste by up to 50% when compared with hand cleaning, and that the effectiveness of the system’s rotating and oscillating brush roller means less solvent can be used. It also requires
less water.

How easy is it to use and what training and service is provided?
The system is very easy to use and maintain, says Gottschalk, so the service intervention required from Baldwin should be minimal. "We come onsite a couple of times and train people while we are doing the installation," says Gottschalk. "The system is easy for people to maintain by themselves because there aren’t any electrical parts; it’s just a brush system and stainless steel parts.

"We have service divisions in the UK, US and Japan and we will have more engineers trained on this globally, depending upon where the next ones are sold. However, our focus is on training people in order to maintain the system themselves so downtimes are kept to a minimum."

What are its sales targets?
"So far, we have equipped two presses – with seven printing units – and one-four colour press, so that’s 18 wash bars we’ve equipped with the system in total," says Gottschalk. No user was willing to give comment just yet, however.

"I think there will be a bit of a domino effect where more and more printers look at each other and realise another printer is doing better quality printing with this system, so they will want to install it as well," he adds.


SPECIFICATIONS

Cleaning time
90-150 seconds all plates
Drying time 30-60 seconds all plates
Total cleaning and drying time
2-3.5 minutes
Water consumption
0.5-1.5 litres
Detergent consumption
0-0.075 litres
Price
On request
Contact
Baldwin www.baldwintech.com +49 1733 930166


ALTERNATIVE

JB Machinery KleenPlate
JB Machinery’s KleenPlate system works by continuously traversing the printing plate, removing a very fine ink film, directly after the sheet has been printed and before the anilox roller has delivered a fresh charge of ink. This, says the manufacturer, removes hickeys and debris from the entire image area, significantly improving image quality and maximising productivity when compared with more manual processes.

Wipes per pass 1-4
Plate image areas cleaned on the same cylinder
Up to four
Price
On request
Contact
JB Machinery www.jbmachinery.com 001 203-544-0101

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