Benson Group, one of the UK's leading privately owned printed folding carton manufacturers, has announced details regarding the installation of coating plate production equipment from Dantex at its Benson Gateshead food-packaging factory.
The Team Valley site had previously used a mix of its own hand-prepared cut-out blankets and plates provided by an external supplier. The new Aquaflex 900F plate processor utilises an environmentally friendly washing process to provide the greenest solution to coating plate creation currently available. Plates are originated by producing a negative image on a standard Epson inkjet device, which is driven by specialist RIP software. The negative is exposed onto the Flexo NVO 114 water-wash coating plate, Aquaflex Varnica, via a regular exposure frame before being processed through the Aquaflex 900F unit. A dry, ready to run plate can be created in approximately 40 minutes using this state-of-the-art system. Older solvent-based plate production systems could take over two hours in the drying process alone for one plate.
Commenting on the new installation, Lee Appleby, Operations Manager for the North East, said: "This system gives us a tremendous advantage in terms of the time it takes to create a plate for the coating unit. Using an outside supplier it would not be uncommon to have a 24-hour turnaround - that's not too bad if you have sufficient advance warning of the need to create a new plate, but that is often not the case. With our customers having ever more demanding delivery schedules it is a significant benefit to have control over the production of this part of the process. The plates produced are also highly durable - we have already had one plate running in excess of 1 million impressions - and produce excellent, consistent quality on the run.
"The installation will allow us to cater for the more exacting coating demands from customers and our own Benson Group design department. The UK's major supermarkets are seeking ever more attractive and striking pack designs to tempt their customers to pick goods from the shelf. Coatings are playing an important role in that process, with a variety of textures being asked for."
The new plate production system offers a range of environmentally friendly features. "Whilst the water-based plate processing takes the headlines, the significantly shorter drying time is also a major plus in environmental terms, with far less power being consumed. On-site production also reduces the amount of "driving miles" associated with each individual plate," added Lee Appleby.
Plates are used on the dedicated coating units of the Gateshead plant's four Komori B1-format litho presses, which include the UK's first Lithrone SX40 press.
Equipment installed by Dantex at Benson Gateshead comprises a 900F Inline Flexo Plate processor, A1 Plus Exposure Unit, Bag and Ceramic Filtration Systems and a Dry Film System - comprising an Epson 9890 Large Format Inkjet Printer and specialist Software RIP.
About Benson Group
Benson Group is one of the UK's leading privately owned printed folding carton suppliers, producing packaging product for both the food retail and healthcare industries for a wide range of UK and European customers.
The business manufactures packaging product at four production sites covering in excess of 400,000 sq ft. Benson Group continues to grow and expects to achieve annual sales for the current financial year in excess of £120 million. Food product manufacturers are the main customers at Bardon and for the company's two North East facilities in Newcastle and Gateshead. The fourth site in Crewe serves healthcare and consumer care markets. In recent years, investment in new plant and equipment across the four sites totals in excess of £22 million. The group employs in excess of 900 personnel across all four production sites.
Benson Group creates packaging for many well-known companies, brands and retailers. Key account clients across the Group include Two Sisters Food Group, Reckitt Benkiser, Greencore, and Samworth Brothers. The company is an approved supplier for all of the UK's leading retail chains. Food and healthcare packaging is exported to customers in countries throughout Europe.