Carminati&Guizzardi differentiated itself on the market not only for flexo plates production for corrugated cardboard printing, but also and especially for the development of imaging technologies able to get different thickness levels, so to guarantee correct printing pressures on solids and line art, without operator intervention
The flat-top dot plate represents one of the hottest topics, if not the main topic of flexo printing. Technical reunions, associative meetings, insights are always the occasion to present an update about state-of-the-art of flat-top dot. The solutions present on the market certainly aren’t missing and new technologies and products are developed, able to exalt flat top dots functionalities and performances, with big multinationals committed in Research & Development.
So it’s curious, that in front of a wide and varied technology offer, a cliché manufacturers has decided, on the contrary, to dedicate economic resources and competences to study an own flat-top dot solution to propose on the market. We’re speaking of Carminati&Guizzardi’s company, present on market since 1960 and today one of the most known realities on Italian market regarding the supply of printing plates for corrugated cardboard, which represents 80% of corporate core business, with the remaining 20% destined to flexible packaging sector.
5000 m/q of plant in Antegnate (Bg) with a complete workflow, managed under “Lean Production” philosophy, from graphic to engraving lines for flexographic photoploymers and a department dedicated to R&D with an engineer in constant contact with other partners in the sector, with analysis laboratories and Universities and from which in 2009 originated the flat-top dot by Carminati & Guizzardi, called OL
Face to face with Carlo Carminati, owner of Carminati & Guizzardi
Mr. Carminati, where does arise the need to engage personally to bring your flat-top dot to the market?
“We started making the first plates with the flat-top dot in 2008 and after a couple of years of studies and tests, in 2010 we obtained an European “Patent Pending” patent thanks to a particularly inclined dot that eliminates almost completely the annoying wash-boarding effect, which highlights, after the printing phase, the waves of corrugated cardboard, disturbing the uniformity and the good quality of the printed image.
Since there were no proposals on the market at that time, only in the USA a service like us produced it, we wanted to provide our customers with a high-performance solution that would respond to their high quality requirements and we wanted to do it as the first ones, so that we could be recognized as a company able to propose innovations.
We think that the fact of being a small company has been one of the advantages that led us to reach the final goal, because even if multinationals have the economic strength to develop any kind of solution, they prefer to concentrate on large-scale solutions.
We were the first in Italy to introduce this solution, which we called OL, with the subsequent versions OL2 and OL3, developed over the years, on which we managed to improve the performance of ink transfer on solids from the plate to the substrate and to reduce the size of smaller points (1-2%)”.
Can you explain us better your solution?
“We have developed in-house the imaging technology that we use to create our special flat-top dot which has a more open contact angle, with a plate that is therefore more hydrophilic than traditional digital ones. We collaborated with the Engineering Faculty of Milan Polytechnic, which measured the contact angles on traditional plates and on all the possible settings with OL2. At the beginning of 2018 we presented two new products, the OL3 and the OLC.The first, in addition to maintaining all the features of the previous model, ensures the printing of smaller dots, so as to improve the visual effect in highlights and shades.
But we know that the true news is represented by OLC. What is it?
“OLC represents the real news and from what we know until now is a unique system in the world, thanks to which it is possible to obtain a plate with different thicknesses, to guarantee the perfect and contemporary printability of solids and screens in the same area of work. In solids we can increase the thickness of the plate from 1.25 up to 2.50 tenths of millimeter and gradually go down in the highlights until reaching the nominal thickness of the plate. The first evidence of this solution is the ease of printing solids and line art at the same time, without having to manually act on the plate thickness in order to guarantee more or less pressure depending on the graphism to be printed and consequently the machine start-ups are considerably simplified. Very often to ensure a greater ink transfer for minimal graphism, the operator is forced to increase the printing pressure, which however will affect the entire surface of the plate with the result of having more pressure on the whole printed sheet and not only where it is really necessary.Moreover, with a greater pressure on the whole plate, the lengthenings of the same also change, forcing the operator to make corrections to find the right set-up. Another advantage that has highlighted our new technology is the elimination of the solid-screen double plate, since they can be printed perfectly on the same polymer without any problem, and lower management costs both for the handling and storage of the plates”.
Can OLC work with plates of any producers?
“Absolutely yes. Our system is deliberately open, able to expose any type of plates. We do not want to compete with any of the big multinational operators on the market, and in fact we think we have studied and developed a unique and innovative solution.
We have customers who have already tested the plates produced with our OLC and I must also say with great satisfaction, because, considering about thirty production jobs already performed, we did not have to do any plates again”.
If any multinational would come to you?
“We are open to any kind of dialogue. We know that there is a lot of curiosity and interest in our solutions and even if our goal is not to sell the technology, we do not preclude any kind of speech and evaluate any proposal.
However, I underline that our goal is to differentiate ourselves on the market with new solutions and products that allow our customers to obtain advantages in their job and to have a positive and recognized image on the market as a company capable of proposing innovation”.
I guess that the new digital printing machine must be seen exactly in this context?
“We have entered digital printing to open up a market in the gadgets and promotional items sector, but since the technology we have bought is extremely flexible, and by means of a calibration device, we have managed to transfer the curves of our customers’ flexo machines on our digital solution so as to be able to produce samples printed and die-cut with plotter, on the substrate that will then be used for production, replacing the now old cromalin. So the customers, receiving a physical sample, with colours faithful to the work that will be printed, can also evaluate their box in its three-dimensionality, also evaluating the mechanical properties.
Our digital machine is equipped with 7 colours and we can therefore cover a wide tonal range, offering our sales force an extra weapon in the sales strategy. It’s a small detail, if we want, but the customers have really appreciated it and we are satisfied”.