Uteco to launch Gaia press with Ebeam curing

Uteco will use Label Expo to formally launch its Gaia modular inkjet press, which it has developed together with INX and Ebeam Technologies. Its use of an Ebeam Compact 80/400 lamp gives it the potential to be one of the highlights of the show.

Uteco’s Gaia press will use Ebeam curing together with a four colour INX inkset and is aimed at flexible packaging for the food and pharmaceutical markets.

The inks have been specially developed by INX to work with Ebeam’s polymerisation process. The major advantage of this is that there’s no need for photo-initiators in the ink and so there are no migration issues meaning that the inks comply with food safety regulations. However, Uteco says that in the future customers will be free to use different brands of ink with it, including UV and UV LED inks.

The machine has been designed for printing on flexible substrates and is said to be suitable for both the food and pharmaceutical markets. Stefano Rogora, INX’s sales and marketing manager, says that there are a number of other benefits to the curing process: “Ebeam-cured inks have a higher gloss, higher shine finish that is more scratch resistant due to the molecular crosslinking the beaming creates. Ebeam is also ‘colour blind,’ so able to cure any colour, even metallics.”

This first press is said to be an entry level model. It’s a four-colour machine with a fairly compact size of 4.4 x 1.5 metres. It’s relatively slow at just 25mpm, which is half that of most of the inkjet presses. The resolution is also much lower at just 720 x 360 dpi. However, Uteco says that there is also a deluxe version planned that will offer resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi with speeds up to 100mpm which sounds like an altogether more interesting press. There will also be the option to add further processing units inline, presumably for features such as laminating and slitting.

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