Chester Medical Solutions has continued a rolling investment programme with installation of a Komori GL629, the first of the GL series B2 presses in the UK to be configured for carton printing.
And it was these features that convinced managing director David Patterson to choose the Japanese press over German rivals. The machine is currently in place alongside a Lithrone 28 and Heidelberg Speedmaster CD102 at the factory in Deeside.
The company moved to this 6000m2 site in 2013, doubling the floor space it had available. It has since installed a Bobst Expertfold A110 folder-gluer, custom built inkjet press for printing braille directly to carton, a Bobst Novacut 106 die cutter and now the press in the last couple of years.
The six-colour Komori is equipped with both end of press and inter deck UV lamps, a dedicated coater and the ability to run the final print unit as a coater, inline colour and density controls, automatic registration control and Komori’s PQA-S V5 camera checking system. This is designed to check each sheet and spot flaws in printing or material so that absolute fidelity to the PDF artwork is maintained.
Patterson says that he looked carefully at other options including Heidelberg’s B2 Anicolor which is used by other pharmaceutical packaging printers. “It did not have the range of UV inks that we wanted at the time,” he says.
“The quality improvements will help us get more jobs out of the press on a given shift,” says Patterson. “We are moving towards shorter runs and quality is predominant.”
The company has also invested in digital printing, a Xeikon to print point of sale and some information leaflets, the inkjet braille machine and a cutsheet digital press for short run cartons. This suits the formats and Just in Time runs that pharma work is moving towards and meets the requirements of the PS9000 standard.
Patterson explains: “We are seeing a greater acceptance of digital printing for pharmaceutical work, it’s a really important area for us as run lengths are coming down. There are no longer any colour issues with digital. Where once it could only achieve 70% of all colours with CMYK, now it’s possible to reach 95% including greens and oranges with the consistency needed.
“Litho will always have its place and the new Lithrone will change the cross over point between the technologies and by having both we are able to focus on shorter run lengths.”
The ability to lay down two varnishes on the litho press will also be important as the company will be able to produce different hard to replicate varnish effects that can used as a visual anti counterfeiting measure.
Ronnie Delamar, operations manager of the site, says: “Customers are looking for novel and more cost-effective ways to meet the ever-increasing demands of the Falsified Medicines Directive. Our new Komori GL29 gives us the ability to include technologies such as intricate dual varnishes and opaque white in a single pass.”
Chester Medical has also moved to a new plant in Bromborough for its contract filling and warehousing operations where it runs 13 production suites able to produce blister packs, fill pots, bottles and sachets and add inkjet serialisation coding.
Chester Medical Solutions has become the first UK company to install the Komori G29 for carton printing, as the company increases capacity following investment in a folder-gluer and platen.
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