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Technology Focus

New Innovations Take Center Stage at FSEA Conference

by Staff

February-March, 2001
The recent Foil Stamping & Embossing Association conference that took place in Las Vegas this past January (2001) included a special program for introducing new technology to the industry. Several suppliers took advantage of this opportunity to explain in detail their products or services. The presentations represented many of the newer innovations now available in the marketplace. Here is a synopsis of the new technologies introduced at the conference.

Engraving/Die Technology

There is little argument that the most dramatic technology changes in the graphic finishing industry in the last few years has developed in the engraving manufacturing arena. This was evident at the FSEA Conference with four out of seven presentations focused on hot stamping and steel-rule die innovations.

Datron Dynamics, Inc. introduced the company's new CNC machining centers for manufacturing foil stamping and embossing dies. The new innovative and compact CNC machine allows graphic finishers to receive customer artwork in the morning and have a finished die by lunchtime. The Datron Dynamics M4 and M8 CNC systems allow users to excel at the high-speed production of embossing and foil stamping dies, steel and brass stamps, roll dies, molds and more. Utilizing a 60,000 RPM high frequency spindle and operating at feed rates up to 235" per minute, the M4 and M8 systems virtually fly through die materials. Both systems create clean, high-quality parts with superb surface finishes in brass, copper, magnesium, aluminum, steel, graphite and other non-ferrous materials.

The compact M4 system is small enough to fit into the average copy room, yet offers the accuracy to produce hot stamping dies that surpass the standards of traditional production methods. The M8 offers similar features with the advantage of a larger 40" x 27" machining area. Both systems are easily programmed with Type3 software from Vision Numeric, allowing operators to scan artwork or import files to create a model die in just minutes.

Indianapolis Electrotype, a long-time supplier of duplicate engravings to the industry, has developed a new system to manufacture solid brass duplicate dies from the original. The new innovation that has been in R&D for the past seven years can take an original sculptured brass engraving and create up to 25 exact 1/4" brass duplicates with a four day turnaround. The new system can eliminate the use of fiberglass or bakelite duplicates and create strong, lasting brass dies that can last thousands if not millions of impressions. Currently the maximum die size is 8" x 8", although a larger system is being constructed for creating dies as large as 12" x 12" with manufacturing 50 to 60 duplicates in a four day period.

Universal Engraving, Inc.'s new UniMagnetic™ System is the latest in hot stamping and embossing engraving lock-up technology designed for fast positioning, easy changeover, reduced makeready, and reduced set up time. The new system incorporates copper and brass engraved dies, as well as specially developed magnetic bases that can easily mount to any type of chase. The base has a strong magnetic surface with the magnetic flux projected towards the top of the base. Both UniMagnetic™ Copper and Brass engravings are manufactured from the same proven, high-quality materials as traditional Universal Engraving dies. The difference is a unique, molecularly bonded steel backing that allows the engravings to have a secure magnetic bond to the magnetic base.

The UniMagnetic™ engravings can easily be adjusted in seconds with positioning and removal tools, eliminating the use of toggles or screws. Both UniMagnetic™ Copper and Brass engravings heat up to running temperature in seconds and recuperate heat rapidly, which is especially important on high-speed foil stamping presses.

Gerber Innovations also introduced new die technology with the Gerber Profile™ Die Tool Production System. The new system has die tools for creating embossing and foil stamping dies, flat steel rule dieboards, counter plates (phenolic to stainless steel,) strippers and blankers - and also provides sample making capabilities. Plus, it effectively supports male/female interlocking components. The system features a revolutionary rotary precision machining process, called Gerber RPM™, that builds on the characteristic precision and reliability of traditional rotary machining. Patented carbide cutting bits rotating at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm accurately remove a variety of substrate materials such as plywood, brass, plastic (including bakelite,) aluminum and bronze.

Advanced kerf technology and a two-layer board strategy differentiate Profile-generated steel rule dieboards from those produced by conventional means. Gerber's unique kerf geometry provides increased contact between the board and steel rule, compared to typical laser-burned boards. This reduces verticality error and provides unequaled holding of steel rules, while dramatically increasing the tool's re-ruling capability. The new Gerber Profile is easily maintained, and because it relies on the mechanics of rotary machining, it requires no expensive filtering or gas venting equipment.

Machinery Technology

Bobst Group presented information on its unique foil feeding module for its Autoplaten SP 102 and SP 126 BMAs. The module includes three (or six on option) independently programmable advance shafts. The foil tension is ensured by another shaft, whose speed is electronically controlled as a function of the foil advance. In addition, new BMAs are available with a unique lock-up system to position dies accurately and with less changeover time. The storage and re-use of the dies with this system becomes efficient and economical as well. Lastly, Bobst has devloped an electronic hologram register system that ensures precise positioning of holograms or preprinted images for bank notes and packaging applications. The unit can foil stamp and register up to six webs of holographic foil.

Matik North America's new Prospekt folder/gluer has been developed to automatically fold and glue capacity or "box type" pocket folders. The Prospekt, manufactured by Inramik, SA - the manufacture of Vesta folding/gluing machinery, has the ability to glue box pockets on one or both sides of a pocket folder, different size boxes on each side of the folder, or one box pocket on one side and one normal pocket on the other. In fact, the Prospekt can be utilized to run normal pocket folders on one or both sides as well.

The new Prospekt will run capacity folders at speeds reaching 3,000 units per hour and normal folders at speeds up to 7,000 units per hour. As the blank travels through the folder/gluer, easily interchangeable mandrels form the box on both sides, making each box perfectly consistent through the run. Standard equipment includes side register section for accurate blank squaring and a Nordson hotmelt glue system with two glue nozzles and pneumatic delivery stacker. The Prospekt also includes a friction feeder with seven adjustable, un-timed bottom feed belts and features two upper and lower carriers on folding and delivery sections.


In addition to new equipment technology, Dienamic MIS Software Inc. demonstrated advantages that the Internet can bring to the graphic finishing marketplace. Dienamic has integrated its estimating and MIS software solutions with the Internet to allow graphic finishers to work directly with their best customers on-line. Graphic finishers can work with customers and provide access to calculate certain estimates (common jobs,) check open orders and job status, receive instant invoices, and check shipping status. The system will allow customers quicker service at their convenience, reduce administrative costs, and tighten bonds between the finisher and the valued customer.

Dienamic is also offering web page design for the graphic finishing industry as well as working on a graphic finishing marketplace with up-to-date industry news, virtual store fronts for vendors, RFPs for large jobs, and much more.