Quality finish for in-line laminating

A leading supplier of in-line laminators is meeting customer demand for higher print quality, lighter packaging and faster time to market with the help of Sappi Fine Paper

Asitrade, a leading supplier of equipment for litho-laminators and creative microflute solutions, is meeting growing customer demand for higher print quality, lighter packaging and faster time to market with the help of Sappi Fusion. Both Asitrade and Sappi have developed innovative solutions that enable the use of lightweight substrates.

“In the packaging, POS and POP market there’s growing demand for high quality print in offset,” explains. Ad Jongmans, sales and marketing director, Asitrade. “At the same time, everyone wants lightweight materials so they can reduce costs. This is a very difficult combination for printers and converters, especially when delivery times are getting ever shorter.”

In response to these trends, Asitrade has launched the Masterflute in-line laminating line that handles a range of linerpaper from 400gsm down to 120gsm. It laminates printed sheets on a single-face corrugated board in an efficient, highly automated process at a maximum line speed of over 10.500 sheets per hour.

“There are challenges when handling lightweight paper at high speed,” continues Jongmans. “Transporting and positioning these sheets accurately can be difficult because of static electricity or wrinkling. Using too much glue on lightweight liners can cause a washboarding effect, with lines spoiling the printed image.”

Sappi approached Asitrade to test its Fusion paper on the Masterflute – a versatile high quality top liner for lamination onto corrugated board production in the packaging and converting industry.

“Fusion offers very high brightness and whiteness,” comments Kerstin Dietze, Sappi’s marketing manager new business speciality papers. “By coating and calendering the paper, the Fusion surface has a special quality and gloss that other top liners cannot match. It’s also very strong which prevents tearing at the edges or cracking at the creases, making it ideal for all kinds of finishing techniques.”

Asitrade tested three varieties of Fusion: 180gsm, 130gsm and 90gsm.

“We were sceptical at first but Fusion really exceeded all expectations, says Jongmans. “Even the very lightweight 90 gsm paper performed very well after some adjustments to the equipment.”

Although the tests at Asitrade’s premises in Grenchen, Switzerland were limited to laminating, Jongmans believes the results are very promising.

“Paper handling on the Masterflute during these tests was excellent and because of the backside barrier coating on Fusion we needed much less adhesive during laminating,” Jongmans explains.

“Less glue not only lowers costs but also minimises the washboarding effect and curing time.”

Asitrade has sold several MasterFlute laminating lines and Jongmans is eager to see how Fusion will live up to its promises in everyday practice.

Reduced glue consumption

“For the reduced glue consumption we have seen examples of 10-30% savings depending on the gluing system and the raw materials,” observes Dietze. “The end product – corrugated board sheet – is very dry already directly after the lamination process. This allows immediate further conversion such as die cutting after lamination instead of having to wait one or two days for the sheets to dry.”

Dietze is convinced Fusion will make a big difference to the industry as recent print runs on Bobst Masterflex printing machines (Flexo postprint) demonstrate how Fusion also boosts quality impression for reel-toreel lamination processes:

“Printers can offer better colour quality and help customers take advantage of new packaging possibilities. Fusion is also helping printers and converters to operate more efficiently and prevent waste.”

Sappi Fine Paper Europe

T: +49 518 177 266