Bell-Mark Launches Flexo, Ink-Jet Systems
At EastPack, Bell-Mark Corp. (Pine Brook, NJ) showcased its first continuous ink-jet (CIJ) printing system, and unveiled an all-servo-driven printer in its FlexPrint line.
The InteliJet ci CIJ programmable printer features a self-sealing nozzle that prevents drying of the print head when the unit shuts down. The hydraulic and electronic systems are separate, for keeping the electronics dry and making maintenance easier.
“The larger multinational medical device companies are gearing up for variable bar coding [in preparation for] UDI requirements,” said Tom Pugh, vice president of sales.
“[CIJ] is a technology we did not have. While our thermal transfer printing solutions are geared more for flexible packaging materials, ink jet will be more suitable for vials, bottles, and high-speed label applications [in the medical device space],” Pugh added.
Customers are evaluating variable coding systems for unique package identification, and the potential for printing the entire package with a programmable system, he said.
“Companies with traditional platen printing systems have two choices. Either add on the programmable option, or replace the entire printer with a programmable solution. If you are packaging millions of [the same product], flexo printing with an added programmable device will be more practical, because digital technology doesn’t lend itself to a good cost-per-package print. For short production run environments, full digital will be more beneficial,” Pugh said.
Bell-Mark’s PLC-controlled FlexPrint R unit stores print plate registration settings for touch-screen recall. Downtime is minimized as operators need only change printing plates and replace ink as needed.
The unit monitors the number of print cycles per plate, and features self-diagnostics, including plate wear indicators.
Analox and impression rolls and plate cylinders are servo-controlled, with a stepper-motor-controlled print registration roll. The analox roller can be moved to the operator’s side of the machine for easier cleaning access.