Nägele Digital Repro GmbH of Kempten, in the far south of Germany at the gateway to the Alps, has been a FLEXCEL NX Technology user since 2010. The prepress and platemaking service provider produces plates for highly demanding flexo packaging printers on two FLEXCEL NX Wide 4260 Systems, and further expanded its platemaking capacity with a FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution investment last year to help them keep up with demand – not only from printers but lately from other prepress providers too.
By expanding the portfolio with the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution, Nägele gained a solvent-free, VOC-free processing alternative that produces press ready plates in less than an hour. This allows its customers to enjoy all the efficiency, productivity and quality benefits of FLEXCEL NX Plate technology, but the company now has a water-based processing option to offer them too. And, since the technology is based on the same infrastructure as the FLEXCEL NX System, it was a simple FLEXCEL NX Ultra Processor installation.
Adoption of FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates gains momentum
Managing Director Michael Nägele says the market has welcomed the addition of FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates: “We actively promote it and are making good progress: our customers love the plates for all the production benefits it offers, and we’re on track to reach our target volume for FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plate sales.” FLEXCEL NX Technology accounts for around 90% of all photopolymer plates produced by Nägele today and the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution already accounts for almost 50% of that total as they supply to 30 printers utilizing it for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical packaging.
According to Nägele, it was the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution’s solvent-free processing technology that particularly convinced many customers to test – and adopt – the product. “It supports their efforts to demonstrate more sustainable packaging production to their own customers. While the press efficiency and stability, ink savings and reduced downtime benefits offered by all FLEXCEL NX Plates help them do that, the additional solvent-free, VOC-free benefit of FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates is one they don’t ignore.”
“Several of our customers insist on FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates because they wanted to eliminate the smell of solvent,” adds Nägele. “The plates’ handling and mounting properties, as well as its flexibility, make FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates very popular with printers producing on presses with smaller cylinders. Many of our FLEXCEL NX Ultra users have also commented on the long intervals between the need for plate cleaning that they enjoy on press.”
For Michael Nägele, one of the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution’s key advantages is the time of less than an hour to deliver the first press-ready plate: “That helps us enormously, for instance, if a plate is damaged and the printer is desperate for a replacement. Provided we receive the order for the remake by 2pm, the new plate gets sent out the same day and is at the customer’s doorstep by 8am the next morning.”
He adds that “the packaging printers we supply are unanimous in praising the excellent ink transfer achieved by FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates.” As with all FLEXCEL NX Plates, the combination of flat top dot- and advanced plate surface patterning technology lies behind this. Nägele also considers FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates to be perfect for ECG (Extended Color Gamut) printing, thanks to the dimensional and registration accuracy it delivers, and puts this down to the fact that the plates are not heated during the finishing process.
A stable future
So what are Nägele Digital Repro’s plans for the next few years? “We want to grow our business at a moderate pace without actually getting bigger as a company right now. The idea is that the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution will play a fundamental role here,” replies Nägele. “As with the rest of the industry globally, we will make price adjustments as needed to alleviate the rapid increase in procurement and energy costs.”
Reliable partner for packaging printers and other packaging prepress providers
Nägele Digital Repro GmbH was founded back in 1975 by Manfred Nägele, who still owns the company today, with day-to-day management now in the hands of his children, Michael and Claudia Nägele. The family-run company employs 15 specialists. Its customers hail from all over Germany as well as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Poland. Apart from the production of photopolymer flexo plates and data preparation for digital packaging printing, Nägele’s service portfolio also includes elastomer platemaking using direct laser engraving, which accounts for around 30% of the company’s total turnover.