Natgraph's Biggest Yet


The long and the tall of it

The longest and the tallest driers, ever manufactured by FESPA UK Association members Natgraph, have been standing side by side in their Nottingham factory in recent weeks.

The longest dryer stretched out 37m, and was a second repeat order for a Michigan-based automotive company. The Air Force unit is the third machine for the same customer in the last two years, and required three 40ft containers to send it on its way Stateside. The dryer has now been installed and is proving to be as efficient and extremely economical as testing at Natgraph predicted. The customer order the 2nd and 3rd dryers because of the higher production speeds, elimination of contamination and economical operation of Natgraph forced air drying technology. "These dryers actually cost less to run than the gas fired units we had before, but at higher speeds and no rejects," stated the company Production Manager.
At same time a new tower dryer was also taking shape. This machine, for a roll-to-roll application, was ordered by an American medical company.

The tower dryer is a 6m high unit with 4 independently controllable forced air drying sections, running up to 160oC. After successful testing using sheets, the medical label company was convinced that their existing production speeds could be increased dramatically and so a co-operation was set up to develop this new system together. "Our experience on roll to roll was limited at that time," stated Natgraph's Alan Shaw. "The customer had extensive knowledge of web printing and so we worked together to apply our knowledge of forced air drying to their understanding of the machine and process with outstanding results."

The final installation has resulted in running speeds 200% to 300% higher than before the Natgraph Tower Dryer was installed, so their Gallus press is now able to run to its full potential on water based and solvent based inks as well as on UV. “We are all delighted with the outcome, it was an interesting project, but well worth it!” stated a spokesperson for the company.

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