As the flexible packaging and wide web market continue to expand globally, we expect the annual installation over fifty-five new presses in North America alone. Each installation in this growing market segment brings opportunity to improve its processes and procedures, and Pamarco is positioned to help. Our foundational activities surround the heart of the press: anilox sleeves and rolls, carbon fiber chambers, and our recent addition of carbon fiber bridges from Inometa. In order to prepare Pamarco’s team in the Americas to represent Inometa, a team was established to travel to Herford, Germany, to learn all about the product and company before returning to share this knowledge with the entire Pamarco sales team. The following conversation is just a fraction of the information available.
Katie Graham: During this interview, I’ll have three Pamarco representatives discussing details about their trip. They’ll each decide which questions to answer. The representatives are John Bingham (Midwest), James Carson (Southeast), and James Chesley (West Coast). Let’s get to it: tell me a little bit about your trip. Did you enjoy it? What was the purpose and why was it important?
John Bingham: I did enjoy the visit. The primary purpose was to see the technology and learn how to differentiate Inometa’s product in the marketplace. They’re a high-tech company and a little higher in price range than competitors, so we were trying to understand the quality benefits.
James Carson: I was pleasantly surprised at the extent of our training. I felt that it was important because I needed to be able to fully understand the product in order to explain it to my customers. I didn’t want to just say “it’s better,” but to have the knowledge to explain why it’s better. I wanted to be able to show them viable reasons why it is different and really is worth the investment. And now I can do that wholeheartedly.
Katie Graham: What was the extent of your training? Is there any training for these products that is available to your own customers?
John Bingham: Our training was two-fold. One part was spending a substantial amount of time in the actual Inometa facility at their workstations in order to better understand how they manufacture this product. The other part involved in-depth presentations on their technology so that we could see the overall picture and learn more about their foundations and future. And yes, Inometa made it very clear that they would be happy to give tours to any customers who would like to visit their facility and see how they produce.
James Carson: You don’t know what you don’t know until you see it up close. Now I know. It was a very thorough session that extended over three days. During our training, they basically opened all the doors for us. They were very patient and kind. Pamarco puts a lot of emphasis on training and now I see that Inometa does, too. That’s a big deal. The day we stop training or feeling that we don’t need to learn more is when we start wilting away.
Katie Graham: What did you think of your overall experience with Inometa?
James Chesley: I wasn’t sure what to expect from our training, but they were just so nice to work with. While I was there, one of the first things I learned was, “Full of speed, not stop.” That’s how they approach everything. The biggest thing I’m taking away from this trip is the impressive manner in which Inometa builds and the quality of their products. These are top-notch manufacturers who took us behind the scenes of what they do, and it was a great experience.
James Carson: I think that Inometa have a great advantage because of their location. If any of the three major OEMs that we had on our itinerary, W&H (Windmoeller & Hoelscher), Bobst, or Allstein, wants to work with Inometa hand-in-hand to develop a new project, they’re a short car ride away. That gives Inometa an edge. The other advantage is that customers prefer to buy OEM-certified products and they are on top of that game.
Katie Graham: Let’s talk about the product of Inometa’s that you learned about. What is it?
James Carson: Inometa is a wide-ranging producer. That stood out a lot to me during our visit, just how many products they actually manufacture. The one that we’re focused on is the bridge mandrel. It mounts between the air mandrel and the outer anilox sleeve. It bridges the gap as the repeats in printing get larger and it allows the press to print a wider range of repeats.
James Chesley: Although it’s only a part of the larger operation, bridges can make or break the printing process. One of the biggest problems with bridges is deflection. You don’t want bounce at higher press speeds. When bouncing occurs, it always involves failures and downtimes.
Katie Graham: John Bingham mentioned earlier that Inometa’s bridges are a little pricier than those of their competitors, why would anyone want to spend more? Are they that different?
James Chesley: They really are unique. You always want to keep the press running when you’re printing, no matter what. It goes back to their phrase “Full of speed, not stop.” Inometa really lives by that. Their bridges are made of the highest quality out there and backed by the best service. You get the print quality that you want when you use these adapters. It’s like none other that I’ve ever seen.
James Carson: Inometa uses a process that draws carbon fiber over the mandrel so their process is more concentric. It maintains the inside diameter as well as the outside diameter in much better tolerance. Basically, it stays true to the mandrel shape so that you won’t have waves. With the common pull-trusion method of manufacturing, you often end up with waves in longer length spans.
Katie Graham: Two of you have customers that have purchased these, what type of success have you seen? What kind of feedback have you gotten from your end users?
John Bingham: This particular customer of mine has two Bobst presses. When they purchased the first one, they received mandrels from an Inometa competitor, but they have had to replace a number of them. So they did some testing with Inometa and other US-based competitors, and felt that the Inometa product was superior to all of the others. They told me that they saw more durability in Inometa’s product because of its quality build. It stood up to going in and out of the press and it was a better construction that allowed them to run the press speeds faster. So now they have Inometa products on both Bobst presses.
James Carson: I don’t have any customers with John’s type of reference point, but I do have some customers that are using them and are very happy. These were new presses that came with the bridge, but they were able to run the presses as they were designed, at top speed. That’s not standard. You’d think that it would be, but it’s just not. I’m shocked how many customers will accept a machine that doesn’t do what it says it will do, especially at the cost that they come at.
Katie Graham: Deflection has been a big part of the conversation when it comes to these bridges, what does Inometa do that makes them stand out in terms of deflection?
John Bingham: Well, they use filament-wound carbon fibers that are stronger and more rigid. Their strength reduces deflection. The difference for our customers is that it allows for faster press speeds with a better impression. That means the ability to run at full speed without any issues. I believe that this higher level of quality is due to the fact that they have the internal ability to engineer the product and design it for the application. This means press speeds, width, and deflection characteristics are all to their specifications. They also have the carbon fiber tubes that they engineer to press specifications and manufacture internally so that they control the quality of the final product. They’re a high-caliber manufacturer.
James Chesley: I agree. It’s the rigid carbon fiber. It’s just the print quality you want when you use these adapters. The carbon fiber is where it’s at. That’s how they make it so that it doesn’t have deflection. It’s like none other I’ve ever seen. They’re so lightweight and they’re resistant to conventional solvents. It guarantees that superior print quality, even at the highest speeds.
Katie Graham: That wraps up our time for this in-depth look at Pamarco and Inometa’s role in the print industry changes happening today. Thank you, gentlemen, for your time and insight.
Pamarco is focused on providing the tools and products you need to enhance your printed product and process. We are here to help with training and product recommendations that range from anilox roll specifications to doctor blades. If you do have questions or would like more information on this topic, or any Pamarco products and services, please contact Katie Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404)691-1700 ext 105.