Contact Originators continues to invest in leading technology at its new Manchester site, with the installation of XSYS ThermoFlexX Catena flexographic plate washing and drying/light finishing technology.
Now located at a 32,500 ft2 super site in Dukinfield, Contact Originators Group CEO Steve Mulcahy said he believes the company’s new facility is now the best equipped in Europe for streamlined flexographic prepress and plate processing.
“We have a well-established relationship with XSYS, and following our experience with their ThermoFlexX Catena DL (Dryer/Light Finisher), we had no reservations in making a long-term commitment to using the technology to optimise our plate production at the new site,” said Steve. “The Catena equipment is a perfect fit for our state-of-the-art facility, enabling semi-automated plate washing, drying/light finishing, maximising throughput, minimising errors and ensuring the highest quality plates.”
Paul Campbell, XSYS Sales Director for Northern Europe & EMEA, explained that Contact Originators had first trialled the equipment following a well-documented fire at their Bredbury site in 2020. “Within days of the fire we had set up a plate wash-out processor and a Catena DL from our test centre in Stuttgart. The equipment was installed, operators trained and were up and running within days,” he said. “When the pandemic hit, Steve was already well into planning the move to the new facility, so by the end of the year we had shaken hands on the deal to supply two new Catena W-80 washers and two Catena DL Dryer/Light Finishers.”
The Catena W-80 is designed for maximum productivity, with a shorter plate sequence, automated plate alignment control and automatic pin-bar transportation. “The Catena W-80 also has a plate output trolley,” added Paul. “This allows for safer and easier plate handling from washer to dryer/light finisher. The fully enclosed solvent and brush sections eliminates solvent contact with any engineered parts, improving safety, equipment operation and reliability and makes for a better working environment for operators”.
The Catena DL has six dryer sections, with individually controlled temperature and ventilation. “The carrier tray supports the plates and ensures no contact with solvent wet plates, the carrier lift positions the tray and plate in front of the available dryer slot,” said Paul. “UVA and UVC lamps are monitored and controlled to deliver precision light finishing and ensure ultimate consistency from plate to plate, and sensors test the tube integrity between each plate and informs the operator on replacements when necessary.
“With remote access, if there’s ever an issue then there’s no need for time-consuming or expensive delays – our engineers can dial in, run diagnostics and take a good look at it in real time, then find and fix any issues,” said Paul. “Obviously that’s a benefit that has come into its own throughout the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic.”
Steve Mulcahy agrees. “The remote access is key,” he said. “With such innovative semi-automation, we can pass on the benefits of improved productivity, consistency and quality to our customers, with the knowledge that engineer assistance – should it be required – is just a few clicks away.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to extend our long-standing relationship with Paul and the team at XSYS and look forward to demonstrating how this has strengthened our quality and service even further.”
Paul Campbell added that he too was delighted with the deal. “We’ve worked with Steve and the team for many years now, and our supplying Contact at the new super site offers real potential for collective growth,” he said. “There’s capacity for significant volume of material there, they really have the facility to grow, and if they’re successful, then we are too.”