KBA develops metal can printing system

KBA MetalPrint will be showing off a new printer, the CS MetalCan, at the MetPack show in Essen, Germany in May. The MetalCan is aimed at printing to drinks cans and will be marked under a Can Solutions label.

Operator side of the CS MetalCan with its 10 keyless inking units and automatic plate and blanket changers

According to KBA’s press release, the drinks can market is estimated to be around 320 billion units per year, using 2015 figures. Consumption per capita is said to be between 300 and 350 cans per year in developed markets like the US. Germany, by contrast, has a much smaller market because of legislation on these cans.

The press release goes on to suggest that decorating the cans is a bottleneck in integrated line production, due to long job changeover times interrupting production lines.

KBA MetalPrint has drawn on the expertise of another KBA division, Digital and Web solutions to improve the makeready times. The CS MetalCan uses an indirect letterset process with 10 keyless inking units that have been specially adapted to the demands and production conditions of beverage can decorating, with the press capable of producing 2500 cpm. KBA also suggests that this approach will lead to improved image quality with more colours in the one press and higher ink transfer stability over the production run.

There are automatic plate changers at each printing unit so that the plates can be changed parallel to each other in less than one minute. There are also automatic blanket changers for faster job changeovers, with the ability to change the 12 blankets on the central blanket wheel simultaneously.

It’s also said to be safer to use as automatic routines mean there’s less need for the operator to work inside the machine.

KBA already offers two drying solutions for the two-piece can sector – CS PinOven and CS BeltOven.

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