The Responsive Flexible Packaging Converter

Flexographic and Rotogravure Printing of Thick Thermoformable Films

Precision Thick Film Printing and Rotogravure
Precision Thick Film Printing and Rotogravure

In 2009, Eastern Web Handling Inc. expanded its already formidable converting capabilities to accommodate the growing needs of the Humus industry. The printing of thick formable films, which are widely used by thermoformers, was not being properly addressed by the converting industry. The effort progressively refined itself over the next two years to include significant printing press modifications that would allow the printing to be precisely located on APET and PP films. Despite the best efforts of the extrusion industry, thick formable films do not track well on printing presses. This lack of precision was generating significant scrap and waste on conventional presses, as well with the thermoforming process. After making modifications to their presses which included the addition of electronics, the scrap issue was rectified and added a level of precision not available previously. Today Eastern Web Handling can hold a print tolerance of a few thousands to the edge of the roll. This capability is a necessary component that ensures proper print placement for the thermoformers forming and die cutting head.

Since the earliest days of surface printing for the Humus industry, Eastern Web has expanded their offerings. They can now provide up to 10 color reverse printing of a thin formable APET or PP which will be laminated after printing to a thick APET or PP formable film. The net effect is graphics that can compete with In-mold labels, with less upfront costs and lower per item costs. In addition it also allows for high output capacity of the thermoforming industry as compared to the In-Mold injection molding process.

Eastern Web Handling can also offer up to 10 color surface printed Rotogravure, which is another precision printing process that was developed many years ago in Europe. Now, for the first time, Rotogravure surface printing of PP and APET for thermoforming application is being offered in the U.S. through a joint relationship with a European printer. Negotiations are also underway to place a European rotogravure press in the U.S. as part of a joint effort between the U.S. and European converters to locally handle international business in their respective continents.

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