Thallo prototype unveiled

27 November 2014

In what co-owner Peter Kloppers described as a ‘sneak preview’, DG press opened its doors to an invited audience to see the prototype of the new Thallo web offset press being run in two-colour format.  Nick Coombes reports from The Netherlands.

“Thallo, which means ‘Goddess of Youth’, is our answer to all the questions posed by all of what we call Generation 1 variable size web offset press technology, and will enable package printers to benefit from a process that has now be honed for high productivity in the flexible packaging market,”said Kloppers, who as one of the key players in the development and launch of the 2nd Generation variable size web offset press Thallo , probably knows more about the technology and market usage than anyone apart from his fellow co-owner Remko Koolbergen. DG press HoldinG (DGpH) was resurrected from the remains of the original company by Kloppers, Koolbergen, and a small team in 2009.  In five short years, the company has grown to number 60 people, with 30 more due to join in 2015 when Thallo series production begins.  And, in the meantime, the company has purchased and refurbished the former Drent factory in Eerbeek.  This vast 15,000 sqm site now acts as world headquarters for a fast growing business that has 450 active customers using Drent Vision and Gazelle presses, as well as the original VSOP presses. For all of these, DG press ServiceS can add value and prolong commercial life. 

According to Kloppers, the owners of more than 90% of these presses in use worldwide are now ‘on the company’s books’.  The Holding company has four divisions: DG press ServiceS for service and parts; DG press MachineS for new and used press sales; DG press LogisticS for purchases and assembly; and EMB Technology, which is powder coating application machinery.  Turnover is predicted to top € 8.0 m in 2014, a far cry from its humble beginnings in 2009.

Addressing the audience of around 35carefully selected converting companies, Kloppers explained the reasons behind the development of Thallo offset technology.  “Offset has numerousadvantages over flexo and gravure, including cheaper plates, a total lack of solvents, which along with UV or EB curing makes it food-safe, thecapability of printing on a diverse range of substrates with the highest quality, and the ability to be ‘fast-on-press’.”  He went on to definethe changes in market demand that play into the hands of offset.  “Ink migration is a hot topic, especially in the rapidly growing foodindustry, and with runs lengths shortening and customers requiring JIT delivery, offset has the fast response times to meet deadlines.  It’s alsosustainable and adaptable to meet the demands of new substrates, especially flexible ones.”

With more than 40 years of web offset experienceand 20 years of web offset experience on film to call on, Kloppers and Koolbergen know their market and competition in detail.  Each of what DGpress HoldinG sees as its four main competitors’ technology was evaluated for the Open House attendees, and weaknesses were countered with design featuresonthe new Thallo.  According to Koolbergen: “We use the latest motion control and operator interfaces, and by offering a Press PerformancePackage as standard, make the Thallo both easy to operate and highly efficient.  It offers more uptime, generates less waste, and has a simpleand cost effective sleeve system that the others cannot match.”

Available in three web widths, 1050mm, 850mm, and 520mm, Thallo wasdesigned from the largest size downwards to ensure machine integrity.  Each is capable of printing at 400m/min on substrates from 12 to 200-microns,and all have stepless repeat.  DG press believes the Thallo 850 is likely to be the best seller amongst flexible packaging converters, buthasalso promised that a carton version, capable of handling 200 to 700-micron board, will be developed at a later stage.

With all new in-housedesigns for web tension control, unwind/rewind, cooling and drive cylinders, guide rollers, ink trays and ink train, and closed loop control, DG presssays that customers can tailor their own presses with OEM arrangements for register, web video, curing systems, and splicing.  Believing thatspecialisation brings the best results, DGpH has cooperated closely with UTECO Converting to understand the flexo and gravure print processes better, anddesign a flexo unit for integration into the Thallo line.  Seen as a strong financial partner with global sales coverage, UTECO Converting is theidealcomplementary partner for success of the fledgling Thallo project.

Timescale for the project is going according to plan.  Two productionsite machines are sold and in the process of being constructed – a five colour and a seven colour, and these will be delivered to offset customersinThe Netherlands and Belgium at the middle of next year.  By the end of 2015, with feedback from commercial operation from these first twoproduction machines sites, series production of the Thallo will begin with a view to a global launch at Drupa 2016 in Düsseldorf.

For thoseconverters interested in Thallo, who did not attend the Open House, DG press extends an invitation to visit the demo facility and see the prototype inaction on a one-to-one basis.  This will also allow Kloppers and Koolbergen to disclose details of the new technology and its advantages, which, forconfidential reasons, cannot be included in this report.  “Thallo offers a unique proposition – it has a short ROI, a food safe solution forflexible packaging, an unmatched combination of quality and productivity, and a sustainable future for our industry.  Generation 2 has arrived!”concluded Kloppers.


Check out the Thallo sneak preview: