By Cassandra Balentine
Folding and gluing are two relevant finishing tasks for a variety of applications. These devices handle traditional stocks, paper board, corrugated materials, and even plastics. Depending on a print provider or package converter’s specific needs, folder gluers are available in automatic and semi-automatic configurations.
Folders and gluers are commonly used for two different applications—direct mail and packaging. There are several considerations for each.
For direct mail, Chris Raney, president, Baumer hhs, suggests that coating/finishing of a sheet is critical. “Be aware that some finishes are very difficult due to oil resins on the ink. Testing is critical to find glue that will work as required.” He adds that cold glue is unlikely to be used for this application, and points out that the hot melt temperature should be below 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The challenge in gluing for direct mail applications is that the glue does not adhere well and causes the print to pull off. This is usually not acceptable to the final customer,” he shares.
For packaging, Raney suggests cold glue as the preferred method. It is important to ensure that no varnish or print is present on the glue flaps to enable good bonding. Cold glue is typically easier to apply and work with, and is less expensive. If hot glue is used, the same requirements of ensuring the glue flaps have no varnish or print will ensure good adhesion.
If glue flaps are not printed or varnished, there will likely be no issues using either hot or cold glue. However, if the glue flaps are varnished, then the cold glue is unlikely to work well since there will be slow absorption. “The biggest challenges are residual oil resins in the toner-based inks, this causes ink to come off the paper and therefore adhesion is poor,” offers Raney.
Andreas Käfferlein, director of sales, KAMA GmbH, says to maintain the strengths of digital printing—such as speed and efficiency with short runs—in further processing it is all about reduced makeready times and minimal waste.
Marcus Tralau, CEO, KAMA GmbH, says one of the challenges in the field of gluing is processing materials with a smooth surface such as UV-coated cardboard or metalized material. In packaging the use of UV-coating is increasing, especially for high-quality boxes and special editions of folding cartons. These short runs are more often digitally printed. KAMA solves the challenge with the use of an inline plasma treatment on the FF 52i folder gluer, which allows a durable glued seam without losing time. “There is more cost saving in it on a second glance, because the sheets can be flood coated, instead of leaving out the glue flaps from coating, avoiding extra costs for flexo plates and time-consuming setup. With some coating units it is not possible to use flexographic plates, meaning varnish will cover the whole image,” says Tralau.
On the Market
Here, we highlight several examples of folder gluer systems serving commercial print providers as well as packaging converters.
American International Machinery (AIM) offers a series of folder gluers ideal for packaging and converting. The Signature Compact family of folder gluers is designed to meet and exceed converting expectations, improve productivity, and lower costs. The Compact series is designed to run small lock bottom and straight line cartons. It requires minimum floor space and achieves run speeds of up to 425 meters per minute. Signature is engineered for easy setup, quick change over, and seamless operation.
B&R Moll offers the B&R Moll digi-mollPAK System, which is an inline folder/gluer. The company describes it as a versatile machine for digital and commercial printers designed to offer fast, flexible performance in a compact machine that delivers complex packaging jobs at an affordable price. The digi-mollPAK line is well suited for producing straight-line boxes, room key holders, table tents, sleeves, CD wallets, computer software cartons, and presentation folders. An optional kit for producing auto-lock bottom boxes is available. The friction feeder section offers continuous feed for regular and irregular shaped products.
Baumer hhs supplies a range of systems that apply either hot or cold glue onto a package. The company’s controller enables glue patterns to be pre-set and can be a combination of lines and dots, as required.
Among its range of offerings, Bobst provides the EXPERTFOLD 110. The versatile folder-gluer allows users to produce an impressive number of box styles in a range of materials at speeds of up to 450 meters per minute. Easy to operate, it delivers both striking productivity and boxes of unrivalled quality. EXPERTFOLD allows users to simultaneously carry out other inline processes, such as Braille embossing with ACCUBRAILLE GT and quality inspection with ACCUCHECK, making it ideally suited for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic markets.
Brandtjen & Kluge
Brandtjen & Kluge provides a series of folder/gluers. Among them is the latest solution, the Kluge OmniFold 3000 Automatic Folding and Gluing System, which is a fully modular converting system designed to fulfill today’s needs and grow with future demands of the commercial printer and packaging manufacturer. Built to maximize converting capabilities while minimizing set-up time, the OmniFold includes features that bring productivity and reliability to a new level of expectation. These advancements are met with the quality you expect from Brandtjen & Kluge. The company was recently acquired by Mark Andy.
CDR Graphics offers the Digi Folder, an entry-level machine that is able to process digitally printed converting jobs. After printing and die cutting, the Digi Folder can fold and glue folders, shipping envelopes and CD wallets. Double-sided adhesive tape is also applied to the shipping envelopes and advertising posters. The machine can be updated and connected to the METRO line of devices for more capabilities.
Chameleon’s MXX package can be custom tailored to the specific needs of each individual customer, allowing for the ability to create a variety of production solutions in one compact system. The base MXX System is made up of a single M3 module equipped with an upgraded controller, a top of the line three head glue system, a standard delivery, and a variety of top drives and other manipulation accessories. As are the majority of complete Chameleon systems, the MXX is available in three working widths—650mm, 800mm, and 920mm—and has a footprint of approximately six meters in length, including the delivery. This compact but effective system consists of a three-meter split bed and dual section bridge and beam assembly transport/manipulation/affixing unit, combined in a single frame with a top load continuous vacuum assisted feeder and a 2.5-meter long delivery.
Gluing Systems & Machinery
Gluing Systems & Machinery microgluer is a family of small format buckle plate folding and gluing machines, designed to simplify and streamline the folding and gluing operation for mailing applications. This product is available in formats starting from basic half and letter fold—with or without glue—to more complex mailers that include Z fold and micro perforation. The microgluer features dot, line, or stitch patterns, patented output speed compensation, shutter control output, product and batch counter, and production rate meter. The microgluer is simple and easy to use tabletop folder with an integrated glue system and can be configured for all small format, direct mail applications available today.
Habasit offers a comprehensive range of folder gluer belts made of different materials for various box folding applications. The belts provide excellent reversed bending properties, high abrasion resistance, outstanding dimensional stability, constant and safe grip, no marking of the transported goods, and precise folding.
Specific to packaging applications, the KAMA FF 52i folder gluer comes with a gluing disc unit and an exchangeable glue disc. Straight-line boxes are reliably glued with the basic machine equipment—cold glue. Automatic boxes—lock-bottom boxes—run efficiently with an additional gluing system with gluing nozzles. KAMA provides different levels of inspection up to 100 percent tracking and inspection for the fully automatic FF 52i. Regarding the gluing quality it starts with the inspection of the gluing line—including quantity of glue, length of gluing line—with the proven systems of Baumer hhs. Products with any deviations are detected and reliably ejected on the FF 52i.
The Lamina Folder Gluer is a compact and effective fully automatic folder gluer. The machine is equipped with a non-stop suction belt feeder and a variety of guides and belts to handle standard one-point glued boxes or three-point glued crash lock boxes. Fast set-up is easily achieved due to the compact construction and the machine is able to run even small quantities, maintaining a high quality. The machine is an ideal solution to go from manual to automatic gluing operations for a low investment.
The MBO Group’s Stamina Folding Carton Solutions produce blanks or completed cartons inline with any digital press or as a near-line solution. What makes the Stamina solution unique is its ability to match product inserts to the folding cartons, reducing the chances of job mix-ups occurring. This gives print providers the ability to produce folding cartons with inserts at the highest level of job integrity. Furthermore, the BSR 550 Servo rotary die cutting process allows products to be made without any holding points, or nicks. Nicks are required for flatbed die cutting to hold the product during transport, but they create flaws around the edges of the product and require subsequent production steps to remove the scrap and refine the edges. With the nickless product coming off the Stamina’s integrated rotary die cutting process, these additional steps are completely eliminated from production.
Multifeeder Technology manufactures high performance folder/gluer tipping systems. These systems use a friction feeder to feed products onto a vacuum conveyor at a set distance using AccuTipping software. Next, the system begins folding the fed product while a second tipping feeder running AccuTipping attaches another item to the first product with an adhesive. After receiving the tipped product the system finishes the original fold. Lastly, these systems typically utilize a reject-on-error system to verify that all products exiting the system are good. Multifeeder’s superior computer-controlled servo motor technology facilitates AccuTipping software, allowing placement of the products at high speeds with tight accuracy. A variety of shapes, thickness, materials, and sizes can be fed automatically. The company’s friction feeders mount and integrate easily on a Bobst or any other folder gluer.
PPCTS features the SMARTFOLD SERIES of folder gluers is specially designed and ruggedly built for the most demanding packaging companies, commercial printers, and trade finishers for short- to long-run lengths and covering a range of industries. It is easy to setup and operate, and comes with state-of-the art technology, features, and electronics. The standard version includes the accessories for straight line and crash lock bottom boxes and is flexible and easy to operate.
Several applications require both folding and gluing functions in the finishing step. Automated gluer and folders enable the seamless production of applications like presentation folders, envelopes, CD cases, and packaging.
Oct2018, DPS Magazine