A first for this labelling blog, a review and pictures of a new press! Yesterday I was invited to Edale Ltd, one of the few UK press manufacturers left to see the new Edale Alpha Multi, an 8 colour flexo press with a very small footprint. At Mercian Labels we run a new standard 4 colour Edale Alpha we bought in 2008, but the additional 4 print stations in this configuration is a new concept that has not been seen before, and showcases the engineering ingenuity that Edale has developed a reputation for.
So this is the new press – a very different concept for meet a particular market – those label printers needing a high end specification press with the smallest footprint possible at a good value price thats much less than a comparable modular press. Here you have an 8 colour press with a length of 4.5m, compared to a normal modular press with 8 colours thats about 8-9m long – a big space saving. The amount of ‘metal’ is also significantly reduced, thus reducing the price. Its an easy retrofit onto any existing Alpha press, or obviously you can buy a compete stack as it is.
The version I saw was the very first unit, that had literally just come off the production line some days ago and was only powered up last week, so had a few minor modifications to be addressed, as is common with all development projects, but there were minor and trivial to fix. I also pointed out a couple of possible modifications to consider to improve the design, and as always they were very receptive to ideas.
You can continue to use 1 stack of 4 colours and bypass the other using a clever splicing system to easily change back and forth. The print runs the left ‘multi’ stack first, then the main stack, then lamination and converting as appropriate. It would seem sensible to set up the left ‘multi’ stack with CMYK UV permanently, and add water based spot colours on the main unit as needed, maybe with a UV varnish. 9 colours is the maximum I believe.
The registration wasnt bad either, quoted at +/- 0.15mm at 60m/min although due to the minor modification needed I couldnt see this in action at the time, but the registration at slower speed (40m/min) was good.
This was the shot I took at the end of the demo of a the printed web – its not bad at all, but Edale assured me that it will be crack on perfect after the final press modifications are made, and from previous experience of dealing with them, I believe that to be likely.
Overall, this is a great piece of design, and should be an easy upgrade for those like us at Mercian with an existing 4/5 colour alpha. In fact, its so innovative that it should really be nominated for an award somewhere, showing what the best of British engineering talent can design.
Yes you can buy cheaper 8 colour presses from developing countries, but as always you do get what you pay for, and this configuration is much,much cheaper than a new 8 colour modular press.
This one is destined for Kingfisher Labels as reported in the trade press and I’m sure they will be pleased with their purchase.
Disclosure:- my company is a previous (satisfied) client of Edale Ltd, but we have no current involvement with them and I was not influenced or rewarded in any way (apart from some butties and a packet of crisps) for this piece.
Copyright: – these pictures and text are copyright of Mercian Labels – please feel free to link to this piece but please dont copy and use it without our permission