Rheonics’ InkSight wins FTA Technical Innovation Award

Rheonics is delighted to announce that Rheonics InkSight, a breakthrough multi-station ink viscosity control system to boost flexo print quality with automation and digitalisation, has won the 2021 FTA Technical Innovation Award.

For more than two decades, FTA has recognised and celebrated disruptive, ground breaking and innovative technologies impacting the package printing and the incredible achievements made by individuals and companies, large and small, which have contributed to the growth of the industry.

“The technologies created by the recipients of this year’s Technical Innovation Award are proof that the flexographic printing process will never stop evolving,” said FTA director of education Joe Tuccitto.

Despite the highly-sophisticated quality control and automation systems available on the current generation of printing machines, one of the most crucial variables in the printing process – ink viscosity – is still frequently measured with inexact and cumbersome methods, such as efflux cups and falling ball viscometers. Continuous viscosity control with such methods is extremely inefficient and unproductive. Many common viscosity measuring devices do not provide fine enough viscosity control and require high maintenance and frequent calibration. One of the most important determinants of high-quality printing is staying in complete control of the ink viscosity.

Viscosity is a very important parameter in the final quality of the printed matter. It requires close attention, given: If the viscosity is not correct, the flow behaviour and ink layer thickness will vary, leading to deterioration of print quality. Poorly adjusted ink viscosity may cause excessive ink consumption and unnecessarily high costs. Optimising ink viscosity is time-consuming, even for experienced press operators. Viscosity automation and predictive tracking control results in waste reduction and efficiency improvements.

RPS InkSight is a highly accurate multi-station ink viscosity control system. It consists of three subsystems, a viscosity sensor, a predictive tracking controller, and a powerful, intuitive graphical interface. It delivers colour excellence through tight viscosity control. Rheonics RPS InkSight Predictive Tracking Controller and SRV viscometers enable tight viscosity control throughout the print job, due to the system’s ability to autonomously maintain viscosity within extremely narrow limits. Printers can achieve unmatched colour accuracy and quality with the RPS InkSight system and ColorLock software –which is designed in collaboration with printers, for printers. Prior to the founding of Rheonics, the core group has been active in sensor research and design at ETH Zurich since the early 1980’s. Since a group of scientists and engineers at the ETH in Zurich developed their first viscosity sensor more than 35 years ago, members of that group have been perfecting the technology while constantly working with new applications.

“We knew that viscosity measurement and control was useful, even necessary in many manufacturing applications. How we entered the printing field is, beyond the technical aspects, a story of growing into our identity as a provider of solutions, as well as a supplier of reliable, accurate sensors,” said Rheonics chief technical officer Dr Joe Goodbread.

Dr Goodbread added: “InkSight fundamentally changes the nature of the flexo printing process, from initial job setup all the way to jobs that, once delivered, secure a clear path to repeat business. But on a deeper level, we see that Rheonics InkSight is producing a change in the very culture of the flexo industry by adding job-length consistency, accuracy and efficiency to an already highly sophisticated and powerful printing press.”

Rheonics global marketing manager Manpreet Dash believes RPS InkSight can revolutionise flexo printing industry’s future: “RPS InkSight automatic ink viscosity control system delivers on each of the key requirements of the constantly growing flexo printing market, where new automation and hybrid press lines are giving flexographers possibility to explore higher value, print applications. The InkSight can revolutionise the flexo printing industry’s future by delivering higher print quality with all ink types, more short-run jobs and profitability, enabling digitalisation and operators’ safety within press and by making operations environmentally sustainable.”