Cold Foiling Dresses Up Print

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New technologies are automating the process for enriching the sheet.

By Bill Esler — Graphic Arts Online, February 1, 2009

Cold foiling is golden. Printers are quickly adopting offerings that allow sheetfed offset presses to cold foil inline at near press speeds. UK-based Scienta, for example, markets the Foilflow lithographic cold-foil system, distributed in the U.S. by American International Machinery. Sales manager Kevin Koplin says his firm has installed foilers on offset presses from Komori, Mitsubishi and KBA—at Bellak Color, Miami; Spectrum Litho, Fremont, CA; and MPS, Indianapolis.

Sheetfed foiling systems also are offered by press manufacturers manroland (Prindor) and Heidelberg (FoilStar) as well as KBA (shown). With Foilflow, Prindor and Foilstar, the foiling process takes over two units—typically the first two. One prints an adhesive pattern with the desired foil design, followed by the foiler device itself, which presses the foil against the sticky glue. Subsequent units can print ink on top of the foil, creating a wide range of metallized effects. Ryobi also has shown its foiling system integrated to a UV curing unit situated at the last unit before delivery.

American Spirit Graphics’ Carlson Print Group, Minneapolis, installed a manroland 700 sheetfed with Prindor inline foiler in November. “Our clients are always looking for ways to stand out in the crowd, but cost is also a determining factor,” says Lauren Drevlow, executive VP at American Spirit. “Integrated into the printing process it also allows us to offer creative ink-on-foil applications that were not previously economically available.”

Scienta production notes list foils from Kurz, API, Univacco and Nakai, and adhesives from Radium Bronze, Zeller+Gmelin and Tayo inks. Day’s 8212/4 cast finish blanket is recommended. The aluminium portion of the foil adheres to the adhesive in the printed pattern and is transferred to the substrate by the printing pressure between the cylinders. The polyester carrier portion is rewound in the system.

Litho cold foil application has been around since the early 1990s but has developed as a commercial application only in the last few years. The first generation of machines, which are still produced today, were capable of applying foil at speeds of up to 12,000 sheets per hour without the ability to minimize foil usage for a specific job. The new generation allows for multiple foil rolls to be run across the sheet and applied only to the areas being processed at speeds of up to 16,000 sph.

Inks and adhesives for UV

Kurz and Zeller+Gmelin demonstrated adhesive and foils optimized for UV-ink applications on a 6-unit manroland with a specially developed printing blanket. Polymerization curing of the glue was effected by a UV lamp after the second unit. A UV-end drier took over the UV-curing of the printing inks.

Conventional sheetfed foiling also is gaining in popularity, with devices from Gietz, Bobst, Diversified Graphic Machinery and Brantdjen & Kluge among the offering. Consolidated Graphics’ PBM Graphics recently installed an 8,000-sph Gietz 1060 FSA Foil Commander at its Durham, NC plant. Direct Technologies, Suwanee, GA, installed a Kluge EHE press last fall for foil stamping, embossing and diecutting. And Burton Packaging, Flushing, NY, has a DGM Saroglia 740 FX for foiling and embossing.

Foiling Is Environmentally Sustainable, see Pira Study at

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