Autobond is claiming one of the most important recent breakthroughs in finishing technology. In addition to its unique ability to be used for single/double sided laminating or encapsulation, the new machine offers a range of optional features that enable it to be used in the production of floor graphics, pressure sensitive adhesive and fridge magnet lamination.

“The Mini 76 TPE-H can be built to suit customers’ specification,” says managing director John Gilmore. “For example, if there is a need to handle stock down to A5 (8 1/2˝ x 5 1/2˝), we can fit a Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 feed head. However, if A4 (8 1/2˝ x 11˝) is the minimum sheet, we would fit a Speedmaster 74 feed head.”

7859_hr.gifThe machine’s angled feed table has micro-adjustable side lays to ensure accurate side positioning of the sheets - essential during encapsulation. New electronic front lays operate as a servo-driven sheet correctional device. When laminating thin film, the grip edge of the sheet is under-lapped and the ultrasonic detector is used, which ensures an accurately controlled under-lap of sheets.

When the machine is being used for encapsulation, the operator can set the gap between the sheets at a precise distance, and this will remain completely accurate throughout the run, because any sheets that are fed out of synch are advanced or retarded to give an exact gap. The advantage of this is that only one cut is required to separate work, which is estimated will save around 10 per cent on film compared to cutters requiring a double cut.

To handle heavy gauge plastic film, the Mini 76 TPE-H can have a servo driven cross cutter (CC 76) added, or the customer’s existing cutter can be used, if suitable. The CC 76, however, is fitted with a separate servo-driven in-feed that pulls the web in at extremely high speeds. The web stops exactly at the centre of the gap, where the servo-driven flying knife cuts the sheet. The CC 76 can also be programmed to make a double cut for flush cut or tab work, and is fitted with a pro-active web guidance system that provides pinpoint accuracy for the servo driven flying knife. Separated sheets are then delivered on to a speed adjustable shingle table or into the vibrating jogger. The cutter can be sold as a stand-alone unit to be used with other makes of laminator or encapsulator.

The encapsulation cutting blade (a circular disc) can be changed within two minutes to an arrowhead type (lamination) cutting blade, which can be used to cross cut single-sided nylon and polyester, where the sheets have been under-lapped. Changing over from lamination to encapsulation takes about three minutes and involves a few commands on the touch control screen and changing the film web path from the hard rubber/chrome laminating rollers to the two soft rubber encapsulation rollers.

The Mini 76 TPE-H can encapsulate with 42 micron (1.3 mil), 75 micron (3 mil), 125 micron (5 mil) or 250 micron (10 mil) PET polyester. In laminating mode it can apply 25 micron matt or gloss OPP, one or two sides in one pass. The maximum running speed is 60 metres per minute (200 feet per minute) when laminating or encapsulating. The stock weights that can be handled during either process are between 60 gsm (40 lb) – 650 gsm (24 pt).

“The Mini 76 TPE-H can encapsulate 9,000 A4 (8 1/2˝ x 11˝) sph, which is a phenomenal output, while the same machine will laminate both sides of a B1 (40˝ x 30˝) sheet at 3,600 sph or 7,200 sph of B2 (28˝ x 20˝),” says John Gilmore. “We’ve incorporated side slitters with an edge waste rewind system that automatically rewinds edge trim on to a 75 mm (3˝) cardboard core on a quick make-ready airshaft. This ensures there is no untidy waste film around the working area of the machine.”

The feeder’s mill skid plate allows a full pallet of print to be loaded directly from the press, while customers have the option to have a stacker or jogger at the delivery end. The stacker has identical mill skid plate facilities to the feeder. To handle the type of plastic that would be used for creating floor graphics and to apply magnetic material, the Mini 76 TPE-H can be equipped with additional driven rewind and unwind rollers, which can easily be brought into use when required.

Features include air coolers and water chilled rollers to maintain constant temperatures, PLC and inverter drives, a digital sheet counter, adjustable anti-curl bar, pneumatically adjustable in-feed nip rollers and a pneumatic air clutch to provide a constant tension between the laminator and the sheeter. The Siemens Sinamics and Simotion electronics enable another world first - with Autobond’s recent addition to all its laminators of a wireless webcam and cordless Skype phone, which can be used for highly sophisticated remote diagnostics.

“The level of automation makes the machine so straightforward to operate that we would expect to be able to train someone within a couple of days, while the new remote diagnostics facilities means that anyone with a problem has virtually instant access to one of our engineers,” says John Gilmore. “With the wireless webcam and Skype phone, an engineer can instruct an operator running a difficult job to move the camera around the machine, and even remove covers so that he can see inside. The webcam’s built-in microphone enables the engineer to listen, as well as to see, the different parts of the machine in operation.

“Make-ready on the Mini 76 TPE-H is so quick that it can be carried out using only two or three sheets, so wastage is incredibly low. The machine is highly cost effective for short and long runs and the significant pressure and temperature in the nip rollers that can be generated means that it can be used successfully with stock printed on digital presses. Our laminators are fully operational within a few days after delivery to a customer’s premises.

“We see a huge potential for the new Mini 76 TPE-H from companies that have a steady need for laminating, but a level of demand for encapsulation that does not warrant the purchase of a dedicated encapsulator. With the Mini 76 TPE-H, printers can offer both processes to their customers.”




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