17 September 2019
Leonhard Kurz will be presenting a hybrid machine for hot stamping decoration and digital printing from Kurz subsidiary Baier at this year's plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf. The machine was developed to efficiently implement designs and labels for different model series, small runs, and individualised products.
Economic customisation of mass-produced products
Whether it be a washing machine, car or cell phone, consumers nowadays expect to have a variety of models to choose from and be able to individually select the options. Manufacturers are faced with the challenge of producing these tailored products as cost-effectively as possible. The hybrid machine enables numerous variants of a mass-produced standard product to be implemented economically. The scope of variation extends from different product lines right through to customised surface designs.
Many variants with zero setup times
The hybrid machine comes with two decoration stations that can be used in any order: a hot stamping unit, and a module for digital four-colour printing.
The hot stamping unit is equipped with a stamping drum to which four hot stamping dies can be attached. This allows four different stamping designs to be arbitrarily employed. With the new quick-change system, design changeovers can be performed without tools. All configured designs can be selected via the controller and tried-and-tested process parameters stored for reuse. The hot stamping station is also equipped with two foil feed units that enable different hot stamping designs to be processed concurrently. This further-developed feed system saves considerable time when changing the foil rolls, which can be prepared completely outside the machine. The four stamping dies and designs can be arbitrarily assigned to each of the two foil tracks.
An especially wide variety of designs can be generated using hot stamping technology. These include metallisation with a perfect chrome or steel look, holographic designs, or surfaces with a strikingly realistic wood, carbon, marble or opal appearance. The process is ideally suited for implementing the latest designs for household appliances, automobiles, consumer electronics or cosmetics.
High-resolution variable colour printing
The second decoration or labelling station of the hybrid machine is a CMYK digital printing unit. An additional print head for the colour white can be integrated if there is a need to increase the contrast between the print colour and the substrate. The digital printing unit prints crystal clear images on plastic substrates at a resolution of 600 dots per inch. An identical component can be mass produced for different product variants and then be given a model-specific design by digital printing.
The unique combination of hot stamping and digital printing allows for an endless array of design possibilities and enables product variants to be produced efficiently. Both decoration processes can be performed in a single work operation. The component to be decorated is only placed in the part fixture once. The fixture is positioned on a sliding table that transports the component from one station to the next, where it is positioned extremely precisely to ensure a high registration accuracy between the first and second design.