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Solar Power Serves South African Label Converter

South Africa has been coping with an energy crisis so severe that once-common rolling blackouts have now been replaced with double digit energy rate hikes. For South African label converters this presented a unique challenge for conducting business that’s reliant on energy-consuming machinery.

Alberton-based GM Graphix got creative to solve the energy woes it faced. The flexographic label converter partnered with MPS, Phoseon Technology and Paragon Inks to meet its growing demand for lower running costs and energy consumption. In January 2016, the company installed a 25kWh solar system, a power source by which it now operates a six-color EF340 MPS multi-substrate flexo press. The press combines Paragon Inks and LED light sources from Phoseon.

"The start-up time for the LED light sources is instant, saving us at least 30 minutes of production time per day compared to mercury lamps. In addition, the inks are more stable and dry much faster with LED, so productivity increases and sharper color can be achieved."

Pieter Massyn, GM Graphix

The LED curing also helps GM Graphix save energy. Phoseon’s technology uses 70 percent less power than its mercury counterparts, the company claims.

With its instant on/off capabilities, Phoseon’s curing is ideal for South Africa’s power fluctuations.

[Pieter] Massyn says: ‘The start-up time for the LED light sources is instant, saving us at least 30 minutes of production time per day compared to mercury lamps. In addition, the inks are more stable and dry much faster with LED, so productivity increases and sharper color can be achieved.

‘This system’s reliability is very high, so hardly any maintenance is required. This all translates to higher productivity and no down time due to lamp maintenance or warm-up times, resulting in more printed material in an eight-hour shift.’