The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of all parts of the packaging supply chain and introduced new challenges for manufacturers, suppliers and printing companies. As the scale of the crisis became clear, many had to re-evaluate their business structure and find new ways to support customers.
For XSYS Prepress, restrictions on travel and entering customer premises brought the built-in remote capabilities of the ThermoFlexX equipment into the limelight. Thanks to the ability to set up, calibrate and bring machines online without being on site, the company has continued with installations of its innovative and highly automated platemaking equipment no matter where in the world customers are based.
Christophe Lievens, Director of Sales at XSYS Prepress, explains, “Not only do all of our ThermoFlexX platemaking products come equipped with comprehensive remote support capabilities, the machines are also incredibly easy to use and have some very innovative automation features that really simplify the process. The evidence lies in the fact that machines have been installed by customers’ own engineers guided remotely by the XSYS team. It really is quite extraordinary.”
In Pakistan, repro specialist Digital Process recently took delivery of a ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 digital imager to expand capacity in its flexo platemaking department. Having invested in a ThermoFlexX TFxX 60 model just two years before, the company already knew the technology well.
“This installation was only possible thanks to our advanced remote tools, which enable us to set up and calibrate the machine without being on site. There are no special tools required to check laser focus, power and beam quality as it is all built into the machine”, Yves Vanryckeghem, XSYS Prepress Technical Manager for APAC.
Zain Fazal, CEO of Digital Process, says, “After we set up the ThermoFlexX TFxX 48, Yves ran all the tests and configured the machine while sitting in Singapore. He monitored the whole process and even supported us over the weekend. To be up and running in just three days during this global crisis is just amazing!”
In China, Zhengyi Advanced Flexo Graphics Co Ltd has invested in two new ThermoFlexX machines to improve its platemaking capabilities. A ThermoFlexX Catena-E UV LED exposure unit and a Catena-DL dryer/light finisher have been installed at its facility in Dongguan; both set up by XSYS’ local Chinese technician with remote support from Ypres, Belgium.
“The Catena-E offers great remote tools, which means we are able to check and calibrate the UV-LED power without sending anyone on site. On the Catena-DL, we can check the UV-A and UV-C intensity, and also verify the dryer temperatures, all done remotely,” explains Yves.
When Graphiflex in Mexico was setting up an in-plant platemaking operation, it put its faith in an existing ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 imager, which was relocated from the repro company’s own facility. The move took place under the watchful eye of Martín Ayala, XSYS LATAM regional service coordinator and technical support for ThermoFlexX, who was able to offer remote assistance during installation.
With the machine coming online at the customer site, Martín also provided training and support to the operator to ensure that the imager was completely calibrated and production ready. He says, “Although this is a complicated process, the technical capabilities of the ThermoFlexX TFxX 48 imager meant that I could direct the engineers and the operator remotely.”
As well as savings in time and costs for XSYS customers, significant sustainability benefits can also be gained from the remote capabilities of the ThermoFlexX product family. With less need for engineers to travel, many miles are saved on car and plane journeys, helping to lower the overall carbon footprint.
“The crisis has certainly changed the way we work, but it has in no way hampered our efforts to support our global customer base,” concludes Christophe Lievens. “We are proud to help our global community of ThermoFlexX users through what is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime.”