US converter ePac invests in EB curing

The American converter ePac Flexible Packaging is to install an electron beam curing system at its facility in Madison, Wisconsin, USA later this year to work in conjunction with a B2 HP Indigo 20000, which prints to flexible films.

Grafisk Maskinfabrik has developed this EB30 complete with a ebeam curing unit.

The unit in question is a GM EB30 coating line, developed by Grafisk Maskinfabrik (GM), which is essentially a varnish and lamination station sandwiched between an unwinder and rewinder taking a 762mm web. GM has added an Ebeam Technologies curing system, in this case an Ebeam Core 100/760. This configuration will be used to overprint varnish (OPV) to printed materials from the Indigo 20000.

It’s worth pointing out that the Ebeam Core 100/760 is a plug and cure solution that has been designed for exactly this application – OPV to Indigo 20000 prints – and also works with equipment from other suppliers such as Karleville and Edale. This approach eliminates the need for lamination, which takes time to dry, instead giving instantaneous curing and greatly improving overall production times.

The ebeam curing produces high-gloss, matte and soft-touch finishes that are scratch, tear, puncture and fade resistant and should lead to more durable packaging and labelling. It also offers better heat resistance to reduce damage during heat-sealing or when adding zippers.

The GM EB30 has been designed so that it can be used as a standalone varnishing unit complete with winders but obviously makes more sense with the inline Ebeam unit. It’s controlled via a touchscreen and runs at 182mpm. It can handle substrates from 40 to 250 microns, including polymeric film, paper and metallic foil. This will be the first such installation in the US, and I believe the first worldwide.

This investment should help ePac expand into new markets such as indirect food contact packaging as the ebeam process does away with the need for photo-initiators, which often fall foul of food safety regulations.

Jack Knott, CEO, ePac Flexible Packaging. “ePac is built on the premise that emerging innovative technologies, when properly deployed, will cause disruption within the flexible packaging market. We were the first flexible packaging business in North America to rely exclusively on the latest wide-web digital printing technology from HP – the Indigo 20000. We’re excited by the possibilities offered by Ebeam Technologies, and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership over the coming years.”

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