Inauguration of Panther Print With cutting-edge technology into the future of pre-print

With the building of the new Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik (2004) corrugated-board plant and Panther Display (2008), as well as the latest investment in Panther Print, the family-managed group of companies has created a powerful packaging-industry trio at its Wustermark location. The core feature of the new company is what is currently a unique flexo-preprint press which can be run with eight colours plus varnish in a working width of up to 2.80 m and at a speed of up to 600 m/min.

The group has not only consistently invested in the further development of production but also implemented pioneering trends at a speed which does justice to its name. The concepts of flexibility and fast reaction to changes in the market are firmly anchored in the corporate philosophy of the Panther Group, with investment policy guided by early identification of the way forward: that also applies to the building of the latest Panther Print plant around a printing press with revolutionary performance and characterised by exceptional speed. The press was manufactured by the German company Fischer & Krecke from the Bobst Group.

The CI (Central Impression) press with fully automatic set-up system, roller change and an automatic impression-setting system is supplemented by a series of peripheral installations: A new device for the efficient and fast mounting of printing plates is of paramount importance and was also supplied by Fischer & Krecke; plate sizes of up to 2,800 mm in width and 2,060 mm in length can be accommodated. A fully automatic system with 61 compartment shelves to accommodate 15,000 m² of printing-plate material is also installed. Compartment shelves can be filled or printing plates stored or removed within only 30 seconds. The system at Panther Print also includes a high-performance re-winder which carries out edge and middle cutting.

The new plant has been manned since March 2011 by a Panther staff of 19. As Panther Print pioneers, so to speak, they are preparing the way for scheduled 3-shift operations to start soon with a work force of 33 plus 4 trainees.

The decision to build the new plant was preceded by an exact analysis of future market demands and client requirements. In the process, two trends in particular were taken into consideration: the significance of packaging, sales-promotion materials and displays as increasingly important tools for successful marketing and the rising demand for high-quality and multi-colour printed products. At the same time, the colour element is only one of many and is supplemented by performance-enhancing coatings and varnishes which lend completely new attributes to packaging and displays.

The 8-colours-plus-varnish press works with water-based flexo-printing inks that are free of mineral oils. The press standard is 60 l/cm screen printing, with which the very highest demands on printing quality are met. Those demands have in recent years increased enormously, in particular from the retail trade, and the new flexographic printing press now enables Panther Print to provide the crucial security of meeting those demands across the whole Panther Group.

In order to fully exploit the full performance capabilities of the world's most modern flexo preprint press, Panther has in conjunction with various partners created the prerequisites in the pre-press phase for efficient operation of the new system.

Perfect visual presentation plus additional technical benefits
The printing press can produce not only perfect, register-true printed images on end products such as packaging or displays but also add other properties: coatings in the form of varnishes with a wide variety of mechanical, visual or other properties can be applied in a single pass. Although such a process was basically previously possibly in preprint processes, the new working width and printing speed of the new press open up completely new dimensions in terms of implementing client requirements: the proverbial speed of the panther will in future be emulated by the new technology.

Whether high gloss or protective varnish, grease- or water-resistant coatings or anti-slip varnishes, the water-based systems meet all specific client requirements and market demands.