Kirk Group automates flexo plate production with Catena+

A ThermoFlexX imager combined with a full Catena+ platemaking line has improved overall equipment efficiency for the Australian prepress company.

Over the five decades since its inception in 1972 when Graeme Kirk first set up his business to produce gravure cylinders, Kirk Group has grown to become a significant player in the packaging industry. The company is one of the largest suppliers of artwork services and image carrier solutions across Australia and New Zealand, counting global brands and major printing companies as its customers.

Headquartered in Minto, in Sydney, Kirk Group has manufacturing sites in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland, with a total of 120 staff, along with sales offices in Christchurch, and more recently in Mumbai, India. As managing director, Graeme Kirk’s contribution to the industry was acknowledged in 2018, when he was inducted into the hall of fame by the Flexible Packaging and Label Manufacturers Association (FPLMA).

General manager John Kapiniaris joined in 2015, bringing with him a strong background in flexible packaging and an entrepreneurial drive to innovate.

Kapiniaris said: “We work with leading brands and printers across ANZ and into Asia, offering a proven systematic approach to print management. We launched the Flite On-demand e-commerce platform to automate daily tasks, boost productivity and help our customers win the race to shelf.”

To support such innovations, Kirk Group decided to implement a fully automatic platemaking line from XSYS, consisting of a ThermoFlexX imager combined with a Catena-E LED exposure unit, a Catena-WDLS washer, dryer and light-finisher and a Catena-R for rotating the plates between the exposure and wash-out units. This modular system, known as Catena+, is an end-to-end automated solution that removes operator intervention and greatly reduces waste. It became commercially available in October 2020 and Kirk Group is among the first companies to leverage the benefits.

The full article is available in the latest edition of Food & Beverage Asia August/September 2022 issue. To continue reading, click here.