Our first stop was at grafiKontrol. Area mgr. Paulo Bellocchio gave an overview of the all-“Made-in-Italy” supplier of inspection, registration and color-control systems for gravure, offset and flexographic printing on a broad range of packaging-material substrates. Established in 1969, grafiKontrol now has six international sites – the US, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, India and South Africa. New technology is key for the 100-employee company with 14% working in R&D and another 26% performing testing and customer service. Digital-print control is next on grafiKontrol’s product agenda.
TQC (total quality control) 360° is the supplier’s modular product platform for web-viewing, 100% inspection, color measurement and registration control for printing presses, slitter/rewinders, extrusion coaters and metallizers. grafiKontrol currently has an 80% share of the global gravure-inspection market, and it’s working on Industry 4.0, a method of defect detection on slitters that fits all substrates, printing processes, colors and laminations.
Bellocchio highlighted the ProCheck waste-management system that allows real-time defect tracking throughout the entire process from printing to slitting. It uses information gathered during print inspection (roll maps) and transfers it to the next converting process (slitting or doctoring) where waste is removed.
The ProCheck-mark (a special Hitachi-based, high-speed inkjet printer generates a variable “synch-code” on the edge of the web every “N” impressions during the printing process. Each defect detected by the 100% inspection is then synchronized to the closes synch-code. When the roll is moved to the slitter, a dedicated ProCheck reader reads the code during unwinding along with data from the roll map. Software stops the slitter so the defect can be removed. Linear synch-codes measure as small as 53 mm x 2.5 mm and are printed at up to 450 mpm; Dot synch-codes are 8 x 11 mm in size and are turned out at 500 mpm.
Future developments with ProCheck include being able to communicate data to product packaging lines for splices and other production hassles so that an item is not packaged at the splice; and the potential to readjust color back to the press after inspection.