Koenig and Bauer enjoys metal success

Koenig and Bauer’s MetalPrint division has announced new installations of its conventional metal printing lines in Canada and Italy. 

The MetalStar 3 installed at a Massilly plant.

Last month, Koenig and Bauer announced that Massilly North America Inc had ordered its first new Koenig & Bauer MetalStar 3 metal decorating press which will be delivered this spring. The MetalStar 3 has been designed for printing to three-piece metal cans, and is able to print up to 9000 sheets per hour. It can be configured with up to eight colours though this particular version is a four-colour press with stream feeder and motor driven roller conveyor. 

Massilly was founded in 1911 in Massilly, France, initially recovering tin from tinplate waste. Today the company specialises in food packaging, aerosol cans, industrial packaging and producing decorated and customised tins. Massilly Holdings is headquartered in France and the company also has plants in 15 countries including several in Europe as well as India, Peru, Morocco, the Philippines, South Africa and Russia.

The new press will be installed at the company’s base in Brantford, Ontario in Canada and will be used for the Canadian and US food and beverage markets for closures, food cans, and decorative tins. Garnet Lasby, president of Massilly North America, explains: “We service a wide range of customers in Canada, the US, and Central/South America from small local gourmet jam and sauce producers, to national co-packers of products like pasta sauces, salsas and pickles, all the way to major multinational distributors and brands.”

He adds: “To support our recent and future growth we required additional capacity and turned to the MetalStar 3. We have other Koenig & Bauer equipment in the facility already, which is running quite well. Last year the Massilly Group installed a multicolour MetalStar 3 in a facility in Western Europe. It is very similar to the one we are installing so we are familiar with the high performance of the line.”

Massilly attributes this growth to customers moving away from plastic single use packaging into metal and glass for environmental reasons. Metal can be completely recycled infinitely. Massilly’s metal caps, for example, are recycled to make new metal caps with no degradation to the steel. This move into metal closures also allows for multicolour decoration, unlike on plastic closures, allowing brands to differentiate on the shelf. Glass jars with highly decorated closures are still seen as a premium package, and with the environmental benefits Massilly expects to see more demand for metal printing.

The UV LED plus inline coater MetalCoat 480 installed at Gruppo Fanti in Bologna, Italy.

Last year Gruppo Fanti, headquartered in Bologna, Italy, commissioned a state-of-the-art six-color MetalStar 3 with trailing inline MetalCoat 480 Anilox coater for over varnishing. The company also opted for complete UV-LED curing systems for both the printing and the overvarnishing process supplied by the Italian vendor PrintabLED. In addition, the company set up a separate coating line with a MetalCoat 483 and an LTG thermal curing oven with fully integrated EcoTNV air purification system for low gas consumption and CO2 emissions, also from Koenig and Bauer Metalprint.

Gruppo Fanti specialises in metal packaging as well as some plastic packaging. The company has five plants in Italy as well as operations in Germany, Monaco, Romania, Russia and Morocco. It was set up by Giorgio Fanti in 1945, initially for recycling empty tuna cans discarded by American GIs after the liberation of Bologna. Since then the company has grown through investments in new equipment as well as acquisitions.

Gruppo Fanti has opted for a six-color MetalStar 3 with a number of automation features for short change over and set-up processes to cope with the increasing demand for lower print volumes per design. For Gruppo Fanti, these options include DriveTronic SIS sidelay-free infeed for accurate and automated sheet positioning, DriveTronic SRW and CleanTronic Synchro for parallel washing of rollers, blankets and impression cylinders as well as FAPC fully automatic plate change. It also has DecoStar inline camera inspection and DensiTronic Professional colour and density control. In addition, LogoTronic Professional, for job data management and integration of the printing press into the central MIS, is supplied as standard with the MetalStar 3.

Luca Fanti, technical manager at Gruppo Fanti, says that the company has long been a customer of Koenig and Bauer Metalprint so the MetalStar 3 printing press and a MetalCoat 480 inline coater was an obvious choice for the new production lines in Bologna. He added: “For the six-colour metal decoration line we were in parallel looking for a modern, energy efficient and green production process. The UV-LED curing system attracted our attention due to their economic and ecological benefits. Beside a drastically reduced demand of electric power – 90% less in comparison to the classic UV mercury system on our older MetalStar 2 line – and that there was no need for a high voltage installation, we became convinced by the avoidance of any expensive heat and ozone extraction from the printing press and the elimination of mercury UV-lamps which are a hazard to our environment.”

The six colour MetalStar 3 installed at Gruppo Fanti in Bologna, Italy

Koenig and Bauer MetalPrint also runs an annual award – High Performance Metal Decorator of the Year – for its customers. Last year, this award went to Mexican packaging company Envases Mexico, which installed the first six-colour Mailänder 280 UV printing and coating line. This is the the longest Mailänder 280 line built to date and incorporates UV drying systems, a MetalCoat 480 inline coating machine and the latest sheet handling equipment. As such it allows three production steps to be rolled into one. Envases Mexico uses it primarily for the decoration of metal sheets up to a thickness of 0.455 mm for industrial packaging.

The Envases Group has 72 production facilities on four continents. It encompasses three packaging divisions: food and industrial packaging, aluminium beverage packaging and PET packaging. The group also includes the former Danish company Glud & Marstrand, which itself won the award in 2017, and the German Huber Group, which Envases acquired earlier this year. 

In addition to the conventional equipment, Koenig and Bauer has also developed an inkjet metal printer, the MetalDecoJet, which I’ll cover in a later post.

You can further details on Massilly here, Grupp Fanti here, and on Envases here. You can find information on the presses and associated production lines from koenig-bauer.com.

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