• Plastic Containers

    Decoration systems for plastic containers in (almost) all shapes and sizes – flexible and innovative.

  • Plastic Containers

    Decoration systems for plastic containers in (almost) all shapes and sizes – flexible and innovative.

Download polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016

23.08.2016 - Please download our polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016 in English and German. //polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016, english//polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016, german

Please download our polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016 in English and German.

//polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016, english
//polytopics CUPS 04 / 2016, german

“Celebration of Colors 2015” at //polytype … a complete success.

01.11.2015 - For nearly a week from September 22-25, 2015, our customers and prospects active in the segments plastic cups, plastic tubes as well as aluminum tubes and cans took the opportunity to find out about the latest decoration technologies from //polytype.

The //polytype products found a great deal of interest: nearly 200 visitors made it to Fribourg, Switzerland where the latest technological advances were presented first-hand.


The focus during the Open-house event was clearly on digital advances in the decoration of round packages. In other words, both //polytype and mall//herlan offer digital solutions for the decoration of round packages, not only for plastic cups and tubes but now also for aluminum tubes and cans. 


A definite crowd-puller during the individual presentations was DigiRound, which can operate at a production speed up to 200 cups a minute. It prints with the four basic colors plus white, so that transparent and also products with a dark background can be printed. Furthermore, the printed image width goes up to 140 mm, which sets new standards in the digital decoration of plastic cups. 


For tube or can applications, the RDA 24 Hybrid convinced the visitors with its two decoration processes ink-jet and offset, offering the possibility to use either process alone or both combined. This decoration approach has proved very popular with manufacturers of aluminum cans, plastic tubes and sleeves, as combining the two printing processes opens the way to all conceivable possibilities for decorating a product quickly, efficiently and with the highest possible printing quality. Further, what makes this hybrid solution so compelling for customers is that the use of offset technology means they get an immediate return on their investment. 


Along with these highlights, other machines utilizing a wide variety of decoration methods were also on display. In cup decoration, the new Polyflex printing process was explained and demonstrated. The entire range of well proven //polytype offset printing machines for cups and lids was shown.


In a world premiere, //polytype unveiled the new RSP80 screen-printing machine for the decoration of tubes and sleeves. It is the ideal entry-level flat-screen solution for the decoration of tubes, as it prints up to seven colors and offers a fantastic value for the money. 


Visitors looking at the Linearis had an chance to admire the complete range of decoration in one pass,with metallic effects for tubes, i.e. 361° hot-stamping over the entire length of the tubes, overprinted with flexo, screen-printing and a relief effect followed by over varnishing. Running at a production speed unmatched in the extruded tube industry, it showed its capabilities to take-on and beat labels, laminate or IML applications.


A big contribution to the overall success of the event was the active participation of renowned partners and suppliers, allowing visitors to discuss not just our novelties but also the important consumables side of the decorating business. These companies were:

  • //polytype OMV
  • mall//herlan
  • //polytype Mechatronica
  • Peyer
  • Schekolin
  • Uviterno
  • Lüscher
  • Ruco
  • Zeller+Gmelin
  • Gallus
  • DeCoSystem
  • Mühlbauer/Tema

The participation of these companies definitely made the event even more interesting.


In closing, we have just one thing left to say: “The 2015 Open-Days were a complete success!”


This article as pdf document in English.

Dieser Artikel als pdf-Dokument in Deutsch. 

Digital drucken auf Kunststoffbechern und Alugebinden

13.10.2015 - Der Digitaldruck hält verstärkt Einzug bei Kunststoff- und Aluminiumgebinden. Zu den Vorreitern dieser Entwicklung gehört Wifag-Polytype in Freiburg. An einem Open House am 22. und 23. September zeigten die Division Plastic Container und die Gruppenfirma Mall + Herlan ihre Einwicklungen in diesem Bereich.

Die Technologiegruppe Polytype-Wifag Holding AG setzt verstärkt und erfolgreich auf Innovationen. Das gilt insbesondere für ihre Division Plastic Container, die Maschinen zur Herstellung und Bedruckung von Kunststoffgebinden und -tuben produziert. Vor fünf Jahren lag der Umsatz der Division mit neuen Produkten noch unter einem Prozent, im vergangenen Jahr bereits bei 49 Prozent. So soll es weitergehen, verdeutlichte Alain Berset, CEO der Division, bei der Begrüssung am Open House in Freiburg. Die Division produzierte ursprünglich Druckmaschinen für Tuben und Becher aus Kunststoff.

Mit der Übernahme der italienischen OMV im Sommer 2013 sind Extrusion- und Tiefziehmaschinen zur Produktion von Kunststoffverpackungen dazugekommen. Die Division Plastic Container ist damit zum Komplettanbieter geworden und will diese Kompetenz in Zukunft noch ausbauen, sagt Berset. Das Hauptthema am Open House waren jedoch Neuheiten für den Verpackungsdruck. Hier zeigte die Firma mit der Digitaldruckmaschine Digiround eine neue Lösung für das Bedrucken konischer Becher.

Die in Freiburg gezeigte Maschine war die zweite, die erste steht bei einem Anwender in der Praxiserprobung. Die Druckmaschine verfügt über fünf Inkjet-Druckwerke für Weiss und die CMYK-Farben. Hersteller der Druckköpfe ist die Firma Konica Minolta. Die Farben werden mit UV-Licht getrocknet. Die Leistung liegt je nach Bildlänge bei maximal 250 Bechern je Minute. Bei der demonstrierten Anwendung wurden 137 Becher/Minute erreicht. Dabei wurden rund 14 cm hohe Becher mit rund 6,5 cm Durchmesser vollflächig und qualitativ hochwertig bedruckt. In die Entwicklung der Digiround sind die Erfahrungen eingeflossen, die Wifag-Polytype bei der Entwicklung und Herstellung der Digitaldruckmaschine Digicup 40 für rechteckige Becher gewonnen hat. Von dieser Maschine stehen mittlerweile vier bei Verpackungsfirmen im Einsatz. 

Als weitere Neuheit war die Hybriddruckmaschine RDA 24-165 für Aluminiumgebinde zu sehen. Sie hat bis zu acht Trockenoffset- und sechs Ink-Jet Digitaldruckwerke. Die Maschine wurde bisher in einer Ausführung zur Tubenbedruckung angeboten. Die Gruppenfirma Mall + Herlan, die Herstellungsmaschinen für Aluminiumverpackungen anbietet, konstruierte neue Zuführungs-und Transporteinrichtungen für die Hybridmaschine, sodass diese neu auch runde Alugebinde bedrucken kann.

Je nach Anzahl der Druckköpfe kann die Maschine Digitaldrucke in 72, 140 oder 210 mm Höhe aufbringen. Anwendungsmöglichkeiten für diese Hybriddruckmaschine sieht Wifag- Polytype zum Beispiel bei Kosmetikverpackungen. Das Basimotiv für eine Kosmetiklinie kann zum Beispiel im Trockenoffset aufgedruckt werden, die sortenspezifischen Angaben im Digitaldruck. So sind Sortenwechsel ohne grosse Umrüstzeiten möglich.

Das Open House verdeutlichte: Die nähere Druckzukunft gehört der intelligenten Kombination konventioneller und digitaler Druckverfahren. Wifag-Polytype zeigte, dass die Firma dafür die passenden Angebote bereithält.

Artikel als PDF

Article is written by Mr. Joachim Kreuter for PACK AKTUELL (edition 15 – 2015).

poly//topics 03 / 2015

14.08.2015 - Please download the latest edition of the //polytype customer magazine “polytopics 03 / 2015”.

Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

polytopics english

polytopics deutsch

Polyflex technology from //polytype makes its North American Debut in March at the NPE trade fair

16.02.2015 - This revolutionary printing technology is now available for decorating larger round cups up to 185 mm in diameter (BDM 682), together with square and oval cups (BDM 301R).

Polyflex technology is a ground breaking development made possible by combining two proven technologies into one cutting edge platform. By combining Indirect Flexographic Transfer technology into a short color-head dryoffset platform, Polyflex is a reality. This combination gives the advantages of both technologies in a single machine, providing a consistent ink transfer for the decoration of rigid plastic containers that is more stable, with predictability and repeatability that was not possible before. The technology begins with a laser engraved anilox roller; followed by the elimination of the traditional rubber rollers normally found in the colorhead which in turn minimizes the challenges of the rubber blanket when printing on tapered surfaces with varying surface speeds.

Above all, this printing unit is characterized by clear advantages in the following three areas:

  • Change-over times: As the system has an open ink fountain with just one anilox roller and one ink transfer cylinder, the ink change can be made in a matter of minutes on the entire printing unit. The ink flow is also realized rapidly, which means time is drastically reduced when starting up as well as a minimum amount of setup containers to achive a perfect color match.
  • Printing quality: The ink transfer can also be optimized as the ink flow via the anilox roller is very stable, which subsequently minimizes dot gain. As the inks used in this printing method have a slightly increased fluidity, the result is a glossy finish that almost appears as if lacquer has been applied.
  • Print stability: In addition to the stability of the ink flow from the anilox roller as previously mentioned, adjustment of the ink flow on the printing unit is no longer necessary making it possible to minimize operator influence by removing ink adjusting keys and dab rollers. The inking units are also driven by a separate servo motor and the temperature of each individual inking unit is controlled. This then offers the best conditions for a high level of print stability.

One of the important elements of this technology is that details surrounding settings from job specific areas are saved into the machine memory allowing for complete repeat with 100% accuracy. In addition to the benefits listed above, this also means that a high level of responsiveness in reproduction is also a significant advantage when using this technology.

Please also note the following: 
Printing plate material > same as in standard dry offset printing
Reproduction > adjusted to this ­process
Inking > independent ink System

Interested? We would be happy to provide you with more information on this outstanding printing technology personally.

Come and visit us at NPE 2015 in Orlando FL / USA, 23. -27.03.2015 - Booth 5173!

Polytype SA

WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is readying an important technology for the market: water-based ink-jet printing on plastics, aluminum and paper substrates

17.06.2014 - WIFAG Maschinenfabrik AG renamed / Now with its own comprehensive in ink-jet inks and functional layers

WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG -- an internationally renowned maker of newspaper and book printing presses with a venerable history of more than 100 years -- has renamed itself. The new name WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG (based in Fribourg, Switzerland) means the company is now synonymous with customer-specific total solutions in the areas of printing, coating and converting. WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is providing yet another forward-looking technology that promises to appeal to many sectors, namely, water-based industrial ink-jet digital printing on plastics, aluminum and paper substrates.

The new name WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG expresses the enormous breadth of the portfolio of this company, which is part of the Swiss-based wifag//polytype Group. At WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG, software and automation expertise are now together under a single roof with mechanical engineering and materials know-how.

Here is what "total solutions from WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG" means:
– Mechanical engineering for printing, coating and converting machines geared exactly to what customers want;
– Conventional and digital process solutions developed in partnership with customers;
– own automation and control station technology;
– own software and ink-jet inks and primers developed in-house.

All this was made possible by the strategic purchasing of specialized companies begun in 2007 and the ongoing expansion of our existing team of experts. Polytype Converting AG will initially remain a subsidiary but is expected to be merged with WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG in early 2015. The previous WIFAG and Polytype Converting subsidiaries located in Germany, China, the United States, and elsewhere will stay unchanged.

Ink-jet printing demonstrated at open house
Jörgen Karlsson, CEO of WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG, presented his company's comprehensive range of capabilities for the first time at an open house held in Fribourg, Switzerland in early June 2014. It was attended by about 50 representatives of big, well-known companies from the international newspaper, packaging and coating industries.

The new pilot version of the Techma-4 printing press was shown in operation at this open house. It can print with water-based industrial ink-jet inks on plastic films, aluminum and paper-based substrates, e.g. food packaging. Other focal points of the open house for customers were the digital printing advances developed in-house and the new Competence Center Fluid Technologies. This center came about when WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG took on a complete R&D team from Ilford.

Broad portfolio and comprehensive expertise
A wealth of additional expertise has been accumulated in recent years at the two famous companies WIFAG and Polytype Converting. Both can look back on a long tradition, the former in newspaper printing, the latter in coating and converting technology. Both stand for unsurpassed Swiss quality in mechanical engineering.

The corporate group added drying technology, inter alia, to its portfolio on acquiring a majority stake in Pagendarm (Hamburg, Germany) in 2007 and digital printing on purchasing Spühl in 2008. Sales of the Virtu line of link-fault pass-through (LFP) machines had been largely discontinued. Nonetheless, the experts from Spühl formed the core for the new Digital Competence Center of the wifag//polytype Group, which opened up whole new possibilities to the entire corporate group. The Automation Competence Center has a similar story. There, the expertise of WIFAG and Solna (taken over in 2011) was recently supplemented by the addition of a team that had previously worked for EAE in Ahrensburg.

Other technology innovators emphasize PR and announcements whereas WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG does not. Jörgen Karlsson: "We have no song-and-dance shows at WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG." WIFAG and Polytype Converting have made great strides in advancing industrial digital printing. The Swiss printing and coating experts are probably the first to have gotten water-based ink-jet digital printing ready for the market, a technology that is also suitable for food packaging. WPT is currently working jointly with two different customers on solutions for printing on aluminum foil and on a total solution for printing on paper-based substrates. The latter is intended to replace a conventional intaglio printing process in this product segment soon.

In early 2014, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG took a final crucial step for guiding these projects to a successful close. It was at that time it took over the ten-person R&D team from Ilford Imaging, a Swiss company that had become insolvent. Lars Sommerhäuser and his team brought expertise in ink-jet inks, primer solutions and functional layers to WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG. The Swiss technology company can now offer precisely matched solutions without having to rely on outside ink experts, for example.

Customer projects and OEM partnerships
Besides these key developmental partnerships in coating and printing, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG is of course already a successful supplier of OEM technology in its own right. For instance WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG provides the "digital engine" for the dmax digital off-line varnishing system from the Swiss manufacturer Steinemann.

In addition, WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG makes available digital printing technology for the other companies in the wifag//polytype Group. As a result, Polytype AG has already been able to provide customers with the first digital printing machines for printing on plastic cups.


wifag//polytype Group now with four business areas
With newspaper printing and coating technology under a single roof at WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG, the wifag//polytype Group now comprises four business areas:
– WIFAG-Polytype Technologies AG
– Polytype AG (machinery for printing on cups and tubes)
– Mall Herlan GmbH (machinery for producing printed metal bottles and cans)

WIFAG-Polytype Holding AG (Fribourg, Switzerland) is the holding company and is fully owned by the Ursula-Wirz-Stiftung.


Artikel in Deutsch

Competence in Research and Development will be strengthened

28.11.2013 - //polytype Converting AG (Fribourg, Switzerland), the leading manufacturer of high-end coating and laminating systems, has now set the direction within the Group for the market offensive it launched in September 2013: It intends to set up production to be more flexible so the multifaceted portfolio of solutions can be implemented worldwide. And production has to move closer to the markets.

Strategic alliances and cooperation arrangements will be given a different priority in the future and competence in research and development will be strengthened at the core facilities in Fribourg, Switzerland and Hamburg, Germany.

The two inter-group Digital Competence Center and Automation Competence Center are already operating with great success and have allowed developmental engineers in Fribourg to provide forward-looking and innovative printing and coating solutions to all business areas of the wifag//polytype Group. //polytype also runs a large test center in Fribourg for coating and lamination, which naturally has a digital production line as well. The quality and excellent reputation of the //polytype systems are based not least on this intensive R&D activity.

In addition, more priority than ever is being given to sales, customer-based development and project management plus service and after-sales activities in Fribourg and Hamburg. With the restructuring of tasks within the internationally operating //polytype Converting AG, production steps will be shifted away from the facility in western Switzerland. That might result in personnel cuts in the months ahead in Fribourg. The extent of these cuts is expected to be in the low double-digit range but will depend on the markets in which //polytype is successful with its expanded portfolio.

However, there is no credence at all to the announcement by the Swiss union Employés Suisse that the entire Fribourg facility of //polytype Converting AG is endangered. The union has since explicitly apologized for misinforming the public with this story, which was also picked up by several media.

In an interview with a trade journal in late November, the CEO of //polytype Converting AG, Jörgen Karlsson, clarified that the company would stand by the facilities in Fribourg and in Hamburg: "Our most important assets are our employees and we have a very good and experienced team in Fribourg and in Hamburg."




wifag//polytype and Avantium announce agreement on 100% biobased PEF for thermoforming

16.10.2013 - Dusseldorf – Today at the start of the K-show, wifag//polytype and Avantium announced their agreement to collaborate on thermoformed products from 100% biobased PEF.

This collaboration will be complementary to collaborations Avantium has in place with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Both parties are excited about the market opportunity of PEF in the novel application area of thermoforming of cups, containers and trays, which are used today for the packaging of food products like meats, nuts, or dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.


PEF (or polyethylene furanoate) is a novel polymer produced by Avantium’s proprietary YXY technology. The YXY technology is running in Avantium’s pilot plant in Geleen, and converts plant based feedstock into chemical building blocks. PEF is a next generation plastic. It has superior properties over existing materials, it can be produced cost competitively and is 100% biobased, resulting in a more than 50% reduction in carbon footprint and non-renewable energy usage.


“Thermoforming is an excellent application for PEF plastics”, commented Gert-Jan Gruter, Avantium CTO. “Since PEF has superior barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over PET, it offers exciting new growth opportunities. Due to its ten times higher oxygen barrier, PEF could extend the shelf life of perishable goods like meats or cheeses. The higher thermal stability of PEF compared to PET could enable packaging opportunities for microwaveable products.”


wifag//polytype is a leading manufacturer of thermoforming and printing equipment, and the sole company producing the entire range from sheet extrusion, to thermoforming, to coating and printing of thermoformed products. “The collaboration with Avantium on PEF in sheet extrusion, thermoforming and decoration of thermoformed products fits therefore well in our strategy of offering equipment enabling a total packaging solution comprising color, contour and convenience”, says Peter Ruth, wifag//polytype CEO. “With the recent integration of OMV into the wifag//polytype Group of companies we take a leadership position in providing innovative and sustainable packaging solutions to the thin wall packaging market. Today we are happy to announce this partnership with Avantium which will allow us to offer our customers thermoforming and decoration solutions for PEF, a biobased polymer with very attractive technical properties.”


Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium, adds: “Thermoforming can be a potential outlet for recycled PEF, providing an additional end-of-life solution for our PEF bottles. wifag//polytype’s proven track record of innovation and paradigm shifts has resulted in its ability to address every step in the thermoforming process from sheet extrusion to decoration. This makes them the ideal partner for developing these new PEF applications. Avantium and wifag//polytype would welcome other parties interested in working with us on PEF thermoformed packaging.”


About wifag//polytype

The wifag//polytype Group is a global group of companies with 1200 employees active in the manufacturing of production lines and systems for aluminum/steel containers for aerosols, beverage bottles and tubes, extruded and laminated plastic tubes lines, as well as decorated plastic cups/containers systems, coating lines for flexible packaging and technical films/foils, newspaper/book printing machines and services. With its sales/service and manufacturing network in USA, Brazil, India, Thailand, China/Hongkong and Turkey our customers are supported globally.


OMV Machinery

Member of the wifag//polytype Group - is the direct heir of OMV Divisione Meccanica, a company founded in 1963 to design and build thermoforming machines. Since the early 70's, OMV exported its first thermoforming machine, very soon distinguishing itself being a pioneer in introducing new materials, like PP, in extrusion and thermoforming for high volume quality containers.


About Avantium

Avantium is a leading technology company specialized in the area of advanced high-throughput R&D. The company develops and commercializes YXY – the brand name for its technology platform to catalytically convert plant based carbohydrates into chemical building blocks like Furanics and Levulinics. These chemical building blocks can be applied for making green materials with superior product properties at competitive pricing. Currently the focus of the YXY technology platform is on a building block called FDCA, (2,5- furandicarboxylic acid). FDCA can be polymerized together with ethylene glycol (EG) to form PEF (Polyethylene Furanoate), which is Avantium's lead application. Combined with the significant reduction in carbon footprint, PEF fulfills key criteria to become the next generation biobased plastics for bottles, film and fibers. PEF gas barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide and water is for example superior to PET, leading to longer product shelf life and offering the potential for lightweighting of packages. Avantium has demonstrated the value and commercial potential of its unique technology by collaborating with leading companies in the energy and chemical industries. Avantium offices and headquarters are based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Avantium is running an YXY pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.


For more information about wifag//polytype, please contact Peter Ruth: Tel: +41 (0)26 4261400, Email: peter.ruth@remove-this.polytype.com

For more information about Avantium, please contact Nathan Kemeling: Tel: +31 (0)20 5860183, Email: nathan.kemeling@remove-this.avantium.com

//polytype DigiCup – The revolution in cup decorating

15.10.2013 - Marketing demands on decoration are being challenged by trends to smaller batch sizes and extraordinary cup shapes while expectations for high quality print and lower costs continue.

While various decorating possibilities exists each with its own advantages and disadvantages, until now no single solution could meet all these demands. //polytype has now developed a solution that meets all of these demands: Digital printing is a revolutionary direct printing process now available for cups. During the last 3 to 4 years //polytype has leveraged and enhanced digital printing via ink jet technology, developing the best solution for their customers challenges.


Digital printing is not only increasing flexibility but also raises print quality to the levels of labels and shrink sleeves. A digitally printed surface also offers a glossy appearance just like an over-print varnish. With digital printing it is possible to decorate various cup shapes as well as small and medium order quantities.


“Each cup with a different decoration! //polytype’s digital decorating process offers new marketing possibilities for pre-formed products”.


The modular concept for the //polytype DigiCup has three main components: First the well established cup infeed and pre-treating stations. Secondly: The cup is decorated with “low migration” process inks, including the possibility for a 4 colour bottom decoration. Finally the cup is conveyed through a UV-dryer to obtain a scratch resistant surface and then restacked on a restacker.

Various shapes can be handled and decorated on the //polytype DigiCup. Round, oval cups and multi-sided cups at speeds of 40 to 120 cups/min.

The first machines have already been delivered and are in production. It is certainly not an overstatement to say that //polytype has heralded the digital revolution in cup decorating.

//polytype OMV at K2013

03.10.2013 - At K2013 Show //polytype OMV will exhibit its F88 thermoformer, an in-mould-trimming pressure-forming machine, conceived to produce a choice of plates, trays, bowls and other shallow containers, both in Polypropylene and in Polystyrene.

F88 features a very large forming area and a special in-mould-trimming system, to couple amazing product outputs with excellent cutting precision.

During the Show //polytype OMV will also announce  its latest-born F37 thermoformer,  a  medium-capacity machine which combines extreme versatility with top accuracy in the process. Among the machine’s features, excellent product stacking and handling facility are to be noted.

Reaching up to 80.000 pieces of hourly output, F37 positions itself as the direct challenger to the competition’s “work-horses”.    

Digital competence for all product areas of wifag//polytype

10.09.2013 - Fribourg, Switzerland - September 2013 - The wifag//polytype Group is one of the broadest and most flexible technology companies today in the printing, packaging and converting and coating industry. Digital Printing was expanded from a group business area to the new Digital Competence Center (the DCC) at the start of 2013. Ever since, it has been pushing for research and development of future technologies and has also ensured equal access to these technologies for all product lines and markets. Today the DCC offers nearly all components for digital printing from its own development work.

In addition to printing presses for producing newspapers and books, wifag//polytype also serves the markets for metal packaging (production technology for manufacturing steel and aluminum aerosol cans, aluminum bottles and tubes), plastic containers (printing presses for printing on plastic cups and lids as well as plastic tubes), as well as for coating and lamination (production lines for producing multi-layered films and papers).

The future: Digital printing as a stand-alone or supplementary process
In 2010 the wifag//polytype Group acquired the Digital Printing Division of Spühl AG and with it, extensive additional expertise on the use of digital printing processes in the industrial environment. At the beginning of 2013, the expertise on digital printing technology was then made accessible to the entire wifag//polytype Group including all of its business areas and product lines. The Digital Competence Center (DCC) was created from the technology team in the Digital Printing business area, which will continue to exist as such solely with its multi-pass LFP machines in the American market of wifag//polytype America.
The DCC functions as an additional, interdisciplinary R&D entity and views itself as an engine for innovation for the entire wifag//polytype Group.

The large-format printing presses will continue to be produced by the DCC. They will be offered in projects entailing a high degree of industrialization and automation and further developed for specific projects in the decor and packaging industry.

Digital printing for everyone: The DCC
Twelve specialists are currently working at the DCC focusing exclusively on digital printing technology. They cover their own area of expertise while also coordinating group-wide research and development efforts. "No machines are built at the DCC. That task is performed in the respective business areas such as Converting or Newspaper Printing Presses", says Roger Ineichen, Head of DCC. We concentrate solely on the print head unit, its control system, integration and direct environment".

With this constellation, the DCC is also open to joint projects involving other machine manufacturers interested in integrating wifag//polytype digital printing technology in their existing systems or in systems yet to be developed (OEM customers).

The DCC is active in three main areas:
Software and electronics (development of application-specific digital workflow, electronics for print head control, software for the integration of digital printing applications in the given plant/machine)

- Process technology/process engineering (adherence of the inks to substrates, pre-treatment and post-treatment of the substrates, ink jet inks and ink formulations, raster image processor (RIP) profiling, color management)

- Mechanics (construction of print head mounts and frames, substrate guidance under the print head, cleaning systems and maintenance for the print head, ink supply, all other design measures for integrating the print heads in legacy systems).

The team includes printing technicians as well as staff who are strictly software engineers and mechatronics specialists. "We can effectively evaluate the hurdles we need to take for the individual printing processes," Ineichen said to emphasize his team's practical approach and experience. Within the Group, development teams can be established from the entire workforce of some 1,000 employees to develop optimum application-specific solutions.

Internally, the DCC created from the business area Digital Printing has since been integrated into the business area Printing Presses (known amongst other things for its brands //wifag and Solna). This fits in very well with the newspaper press manufacturer's changing philosophy: formally a typical machinery maker, //wifag has long viewed itself as a development and automation firm with a portfolio consisting just as much of retrofits, modifications and upgrades as of new machinery sales.

Focal points of development of the DCC
The DCC and wifag//polytype Group focuses on the use of its own digital printing technology, particularly when printing on demanding surfaces such as foils, plastic (PP, PE, etc.), painted aluminum and laminated papers. Ineichen: "We have mastered the handling of these special substrates, winding and unwinding, control of web tension and of web edge, and particularly drying, and these skills exist as established expertise in the Group with //polytype Converting and pagendarm. Our goal is to expand the Group's product portfolio by adding a digital printing unit that allows one to print 'easily' on the given substrate."

Ink and print heads
For ink formulation itself, the DCC relies on collaboration with several smaller specialists in the market. The DCC even provides them with a test printer it has developed especially for their development work, the X printer. This printing system incorporates both Kyocera print heads (2656 nozzles) and Konica Minolta print heads (1024 nozzles). The substrates are kept on a vacuum table with a continuous pre-heat function and a print speed of up to 200 m/min. can be simulated. The wifag//polytype Group supports its development partners with laboratory equipment, substrates and information. In doing so, the Swiss technology company also helps to ensure quality and industrialize ink production.

Classic mechanical engineering tends to think in longer product cycles whereas many aspects of digital printing technology are subject to a rhythm typical of IT. In other words, the performance rates can definitely double every 18 months. The Digital Competence Center can keep up with the pace at which the manufacturers of digital print heads develop, be they Kyocera, Xaar, Dimatix, Ricoh or Konica Minolta, better than many a larger competitor.

This is why wifag//polytype has also developed CALMAR, its own technology for print head control. CALMAR has a fully modular design, which means the same technology platform can be used for different print heads. This technology platform is scalable, allowing it to control more than 100 print heads with maximum possible data rates in real time. CALMAR is unique. There is no comparable product on the market. The potential of this technology will enable the wifag//polytype Group to continue developing print head technology in the future (controlling jet frequencies > 40 kHz, resolution of 1200 dpi etc.) and to connect to new workflow, RIP, color management and other quality systems.

What does this mean in actual practice? A conventional print head can print 75 meters/minute at 30 kHz and 600 dpi in single-pass mode. With two rows of print heads, the output is 150 meters/minute. The speed can be increased to 200 meters/minute with 40 kHz heads and to 300 meters/minute with 60 kHz heads. This is a crucial factor, particularly in the packaging market.
One upcoming goal of the DCC is therefore to develop the inks for the various substrates and applications.

Printing couples
The DCC has various digital printing couple concepts on offer for element printing. This means that any type of individual solution ("print engine") can be put together from the components print head, print head control (CALMAR), workflow, software integration, ink, ink supply and pre-treatment and post-treatment of the impression element.

A single-pass printing unit has been developed for flexible substrates (roll to roll, roll to sheet) with what is called the DigiCube. This can be used in packaging printing, decorative printing and for printing books and newspapers. The DigiCube can be designed for different color systems (UV or water-based inks). The experience from the two business areas Printing Presses and Converting is incorporated in the design of the unwinding and winding systems for web threading and particularly in substrate-specific drying.

The market and the first wifag//polytype digital printing presses
The DCC has already gained a foothold in several markets in close cooperation with the individual business areas. In spring 2013, //polytype Converting delivered its first five digital printing presses for printing on plastic cups.

Talks are also underway between wifag//polytype and a number of customers to cover additional markets completely different from the above to give the DCC the opportunity to show the capabilities of this technology on a broad range of substrates. Amongst other things, there is a demand for rotogravure packaging and decorative printers, where digital technology can be used in sampling or in the production of small orders. An OEM partnership in the decorating business area has already been wrapped up.

"The whole package"
The biggest advantage for customers who work together with the wifag//polytype Group – they get "the whole package". This can range from 'brainware' (i.e. when the DCC receives an assignment for development work) to software and electronics, integrated digital printing presses or even entire single-pass installations.

But even when the customers incorporate their own inks or machine hardware, the DCC is superbly equipped to adapt solutions. Screen printing? Flexo printing? Offset? Rotogravure? R&D in Fribourg has several in-house testing applications, as well as a print head/mini-robot combination available for the further development of printing on elements and flexible material fed from rolls.

//wifag drive and controls package for Theiler Druck AG, Switzerland

13.06.2013 - Fribourg, Switzerland – 13 June 2013 - To meet stringent quality and performance requirements, Theiler Druck AG (Wollerau, Switzerland) has invested in a pre-owned Wifag OF7 shafted press supplied by GAMAG. This press will be reconfigured, refurbished and reinstalled as a shaftless press with //wifag automation drive and controls. The new printing line will replace the existing Solna single width press.

This new order underlines the competiveness of the two Swiss companies in terms of modernization, modification and retrofitting of web printing presses in the global printing machine market and the ongoing confidence of publishers and printers in //wifag and GAMAG as print solution providers.

The reconfigured press will be able to produce up to a total of 32 pages broadsheet or 64 pages tabloid in full color. Full production is scheduled for September 2013.

Founded in 1895, Theiler Druck AG is an important regional print and publishing company.

//wifag (Fribourg, Switzerland) is a renowned press supplier in the graphic industry with experience in development, engineering, automation, manufacturing and retrofit of printing presses, as well as in international project management and customer service.

GAMAG (Bern, Switzerland) is an important partner in the graphic industry with experience in dismantling, moving and reinstallation, as well as retrofitting of web printing machines of all types and brand names. With innovation and entrepreneurial spirit GAMAG broadened their product and service range. Today, they provide matured, reliable, attractive and cost-effective solutions to small and midsize newspaper printing companies.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact:

Rolf Mani
Head of Automation // Printing Presses
WIFAG Maschinenfabrik AG
Phone +41 26 426 18 88
Direct +41 26 426 16 88

Noel McEvoy
Director of Sales & Marketing // Printing Presses
WIFAG Maschinenfabrik AG
Phone +41 26 426 18 88
Direct +41 26 426 18 11
Mobile +41 79 300 74 26



Herenco AB, Sweden, chooses //wifag to extend press

06.06.2013 - Freiburg, Switzerland – 6 June 2013 - Following an intensive evaluation phase, Herenco AB in Jonkoping, Sweden, placed a reconfiguration and extension order at //wifag and GAMAG

This new order reinforces the cooperation of the two Swiss companies in terms of the modernization, modification and retrofitting of web printing presses in the global printing machine market.

Herenco AB purchased KBA satellite units from Trykkompagniet AS in Hvidovre, Denmark. These units will be dismantled, refurbished and reinstalled on the existing KBA Express machine located in Jonkoping, Sweden. With this extension of the press 80 tabloid pages can be printed in full colour in straight production (160 pages collect), using two folders. Controls retrofit will be executed by the local DCOS company. The overall project is being coordinated by GCON. The reconfigured press will be in full production at the end of 2013.

Hallpressen, the newspaper division of Herenco AB Group, is one of Sweden’s leading regional newspaper groups and has over 330, 000 readers across southern Sweden on a daily basis, which represents seven out of ten inhabitants in the region.

The order by Herenco AB is already the second one for //wifag and GAMAG that calls for a refurbishment of a KBA press in the Nordic Region. Last year, Finnish Esa Lehtipaino Oy placed a reconfiguration and retrofit order for a KBA Express that will be completely reconfigured and installed in Lahti following a retrofit by GAMAG and //wifag. This printing press is also scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2013.

//wifag (Fribourg, Switzerland) is a renowned press supplier in the graphic industry with experience in development, engineering, automation, manufacturing and retrofit of printing presses, as well as in international project management and customer service.

GAMAG (Bern, Switzerland) is an important partner in the graphic industry with experience in dismantling, moving and reinstallation, as well as retrofitting of web printing machines of all types and brand names. With innovation and entrepreneurial spirit GAMAG broadened their product and service range. Today, they provide matured, reliable, attractive and cost-effective solutions to small and midsize newspaper printing companies.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact:

Noel McEvoy
Director of Sales & Marketing // Printing Presses
WIFAG-Maschinenfabrik AG
Phone +41 26 426 18 88
Direct +41 26 426 18 11
Mobile +41 79 300 74 26



//wifag User Meeting 2013 in Rüsselsheim

23.05.2013 - Fribourg, Switzerland – Two companies, which have been highly successful in mastering extensive change processes, recently co-hosted the //wifag German speaking user meeting 2013: the Swiss printing press manufacturer and one of its biggest customers, Druckzentrum Rhein Main (DRM) in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

//wifag is a business division of the WIFAG-Polytype Holding AG based in Fribourg, Switzerland and is successfully active in the market with a new self-image. The premium supplier of printing technology has transformed itself into a development and automation expert.

About 40 senior employees from German //wifag user plants as well as from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway and Finland obtained an exclusive insight at the user meeting into new developments from Fribourg and //wifag newspaper technology of tomorrow as well as retrofit possibilities and press repurposing solutions.

Participants welcomed the words of //wifag CEO Jörgen Karlsson in particular. His main message to customers and users had to do with certainty, the certainty that an economically successful supplier has potential in the newly restructured WIFAG-Polytype Holding AG for intensive research and development.

Jörgen Karlsson: "Today //wifag is very, very stable, not just when you look at its financial statements but also because our business model works." This model also features contracts involving retrofits and upgrades. Within this group of companies, //wifag is the frontrunner, especially in automation. The developers for newspaper printing machine technology derive the financial base they need from the fact that other business areas profit from innovations in web monitoring, for example.

A substantial part of the German speaking user meeting 2013 was devoted to insights into the Rhein Main printing center. For two and a half years, this facility has been operating a //wifag evolution 473/6, a six-plate wide web printing press in nine cylinder satellite design with a total of eight printing towers, eight reel stands and five folders. Every day, the four 48-page machine sections print about 300,000 daily newspapers of Verlagsgruppe Rhein Main (VRM) and Medienhaus Südhessen (MHS) in 31 different editions. In addition, this press handles numerous weeklies and church newspapers with runs amounting to about 1.5 million copies per week. The 160 employees in the new printing center use a grand total of about 25,000 tons of paper every year.