Tempo installs exposure technology by XSYS

Canadian flexible packaging manufacturer Tempo has improved the quality of its flexo printing and overall productivity by installing the ThermoFlexX Catena-E 48. The company the UV LED exposure unit from XSYS for its advanced automation, reduced energy consumption, and higher operational speed.

XSYS’s ThermoFlexX has significantly improved operations for the Canada-based flexible packaging manufacturer

First established in 1970 as a poly bag manufacturer, Tempo Flexible Packaging has spent the past two years implementing a large-scale investment plan. Over 10,000 square feet have been added to the sizeable facility in Innisfil, north of Toronto, Ontario, along with the installation of new equipment, including a new CI flexo press from Germany. The project also involved upgrading the plate room, which already contained a ThermoFlexX 48 imager and Xpress Thermal processor, before the new Catena-E 48 exposure unit from XSYS was introduced late last summer.

The family-run company supplies a wide variety of flexible pouches, as well as roll stock and bags, to the food, pet food, and lawn and garden industries across North America. As a vertically integrated manufacturing facility, Tempo is certified to FSSC 22000 v 5.1 standards, with all processes contained within the business, from extrusion, coating, printing, laminating and slitting to final bag- and pouch-making.

Sustainability is the core focus for Tempo, and it is reflected in its drive for product innovation and commitment to environmentally-friendly production methods.

“Our company vision is to be the preferred partner of sustainable and socially responsible flexible packaging solutions in North America,” states Lee-Anne Giglio, COO of Tempo. “And we always choose our partners, technologies and equipment with that vision in mind.”

The winning contender

To meet the demand of every client, Tempo Flexible Packaging has continued to improve every aspect of its flexo printing operation. When it comes to choosing new equipment, the evaluation process is rigorous as technology from different manufacturers is subjected to close scrutiny before the final purchasing decision is made.

Craig Labossier, print technical services manager at Tempo, explained: “We had a pre-existing relationship with XSYS since we purchased the ThermoFlexX imager and Xpress processor in 2020, but we still did due diligence to ensure we got the best machine. Ultimately, we were down to two contenders, and it quickly became clear that the Catena-E technology had a strong advantage.”

The Catena-E 48 thermal system can image plates in sizes up to 900x1200mm (35 x 48”), enabling precise image reproduction and fine relief elements at faster speeds, making it suitable for the type of flexible packaging applications in which Tempo specialises. Furthermore, in terms of sustainability, the LEDs use less energy than conventional lamps, and more savings are accrued when exposing smaller plates as only the LEDs directly below the plate are active.

Swift improvement in quality

The Catena-E 48 LED exposure unit replaced an older conventional bank exposure unit that was causing quality issues for Tempo.

“Even though we are already an award winning printer, we were never really that satisfied with the old unit and had been aiming towards switching to LED exposure for a while, knowing that it would give us the quality push we needed,” said Labossier.

Set up to work seamlessly with the ThermoFlexX 48 imager and Xpress processor, the Catena did not disappoint and immediately made its presence known.

“Right away, the new unit solved our problems, and there was a dramatic improvement in the print quality,” Labossier said. “With the Catena-E 48, we can hold much smaller minimum dots, and they stay clean throughout the print run, so we can print for longer, which improves productivity and reduces waste. Our customers are also noticing the much cleaner print they’re getting.”

Further improving the results and the sustainability, Tempo is applying ThermoFlexX Woodpecker Sharp surface screening to their plates, which controls the ink flow to deliver a smoother laydown, with less ink used and faster press speeds enabled. The pattern is not embedded in the job files, but applied directly during imaging, making the workflow less complex.

Smooth transition to LED

After witnessing a significant difference in the productivity of the plate room, as well as the final print results, the team at Tempo was convinced that the Catena-E 48 from XSYS was the right choice. In addition, the ease of use and high level of automation provided by the unit made the transition process to the new LED technology quick and straightforward.

“The installation of the Catena-E 48 was very smooth; it simply slotted into the existing setup with the imager and thermal processor. It took less than a day to get the machine up and running, including the print trials on the press,” commented Labossier. “We now have the best possible workflow in our plate room and can run our presses faster for longer. With higher productivity, better quality and increased sustainability, we have truly taken our flexo production to the next level.”