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12th June 2007


 ADDRESSBLOCK \f "<<_TITLE0_ >><<_FIRST0_>><< _LAST0_>><< _SUFFIX0_>>







_COUNTRY_>>" \l 2057 \c 2 \e "United Kingdom" \d Mr R Davison

Alexir Packaging Ltd,

Faraday Road


West Sussex

RH10 2UR


 GREETINGLINE \f "<<_BEFORE_ Dear >><<_TITLE0_>><< _LAST0_>>
<<_AFTER_ ,>>" \l 2057 \e "Dear Sir or Madam," Dear Mr Davison,


I would like to introduce to you OFT Technology Ltd.  We manufacture equipment for one pass processing on the lithographic press.




The Foiltone cold foil application system allows for sheets to be foiled as part of the printing process.  Two sections of the press are required.  On the first unit a specially prepared adhesive is printed onto the sheet by a standard litho plate in the pattern desired. This could be solids, half tones or small reverse outs. On the second unit cold foil is rolled around the blanket cylinder under tension control.  As the foil is pressed onto the wet adhesive the foil is transferred to the sheet in the printed pattern.  The foil can then be overprinted by the next four units to produce any colour of foil required.  As the colour now comes from the process rather than materials there is no requirement for special orders or delayed deliveries for your customers.  There are no dies used, the make-ready times are low and the production speed is the speed of the press.


A standard application may be the replacement of foil lined boards and with the ability to reverse out the foil the overprinting with white ink becomes unnecessary thereby reducing the process.  The ability to half tone the foil allows for the packaging designers to create completely new looks which can change depending on the angle of view of the consumers.




Using the same web control features as the Foiltone unit, Filmtone allows for a duct UV varnish to be applied to the sheet by a standard litho plate, either flood or spot with coverage of 2 g/m².  One the second unit an embossed OPP film is pressed into the wet varnish and with the two held together the varnish is dried by a UV source.  The film is then removed and re-reeled for future use.  The pattern which was on the film is now imprinted into the varnish to provide a holographic image at very low cost.  This image can be used for purely decorative purposes or as a bespoke image to give group brand recognition and brand protection.


I have included some samples of the application of these systems and I would be very interested to give a presentation to you and your staff at your convenience.


Kind regards,

Yours sincerely




John Hopkinson

Sales + Marketing Director


Press Release – July 07


Carbon Cold - Power Reduction by 75%


With all companies and more importantly, their customers now aware of their “Carbon Footprint” the necessity to reduce total power consumption has become more than just about economic savings for a business.


The recent “Carbon Footprint Supply Chain Summit” held in May in London with participants’ from Boots and Diageo, amongst others, discussed methods of consumer products companies examining and reducing the power consumption of their total supply chain.  This will impact on the packaging industry in due time.


OFT Technology the UK manufacturers of the Foiltone cold foil application process have recently conducted a survey on the power consumption of the system measured against conventional hot foil stamping techniques.  This showed that the power requirement to foil a given sheet can be reduced by as much as 75%.  This is calculated from the facts that during operation the Foiltone unit consumes less than half of the power of a similar sized hot foil stamping platen and runs at twice the speed.  Jobs are therefore completed in half the time with half the power.


A recent survey by the Carbon Trust in the UK shows that 74% of people think climate change is a serious problem and 67% said the were more likely to buy products with a low carbon footprint.  A spokesman for the Carbon Trust said “In a world where the consumer is king and carbon is the new currency, companies that move first to develop low carbon products have much to gain”


The OFT survey shows that companies can steal a march on this process by switching from hot stamping to cold foil application and reduce costs at the same time.

Press Release.  June 2007


Cold Foil - Hot Issue


The development of the application of cold foil directly on the lithographic press has continued to gain popularity and momentum with over 30 units now running world wide. OFT Technology Ltd, the UK based developer and manufacturer of the Foiltone system report a strong start to the new financial year with 6 units sold within the last 2 months.  John Hopkinson, Sales and Marketing Director of OFT states that the most significant growth is in the commercial print market where foil has not been traditionally used, he said " The ability to apply foil directly inline on the press at press speeds allows the commercial printer to create a completely new look and make metallic object come alive on the page". During the next couple of years Hopkinson believes that around 100 units will be installed worldwide.  Technical advances over the last few months now allow much lower quantities of foil to be used than with the early systems and as with any newly introduced technique new developments are being rapidly introduced.


OFT has also seen the first sale of the brand new patented Filmtone system for applying holographic patterns into a UV varnish, again directly online on the press. The system utilises a micro embossed film which can either be embossed with a decorative wallpaper pattern or with a bespoke company specific pattern.  A UV duct varnish of around 2g/m² is applied via a litho plate to the printed sheet with either flood or spot coverage.  On the next unit of the press the film runs through between the blanket cylinder and the impression cylinder and the emboss pressed into the wet varnish.  Keeping the film and sheet together the varnish is dried by a UV light source and the film separated from the sheet.  The pattern in the film now provides a holographic image in the clear varnish.  The film can be reused several times.  The process has several applications.  Hopkinson explained " The first unit has been sold into the US carton industry and will provide corporate identity over many different branded products from a single corporation, however future application are also being developed for brand protection in carton and labelling in addition to the decorative effects for greeting cards and commercial print"  A further application using a plain smooth film has realised high 90's gloss levels from just 2g/m² of UV varnish with very evident cost savings against traditional methods.


Kind regards,


John Hopkinson

Sales + Marketing Director

OFT-Technology Ltd.,

441 Oak Shott Place,

Walton Summit Centre,

Bamber Bridge,

Lancashire PR5 8AT



Tel:     +44 (0) 1772 316 977

Fax:    +44 (0) 1772 316 941

Cell:    +44 (0) 7970 983 485

email: John@OFT-Technology.com

web:   www.OFT-Technology.com

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the addressee please notify the sender and delete the email from your system. Any views expressed in this email may not represent OFT Technology Ltd. We accept no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email. Thank you.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

World-first in large-format cold foiling © Graphic Repro On-line, 18 February 2008

OFT Foiltone, the British manufacturer of the Foiltone litho cold foil application system, claims a world first with a system fitted to a six-colour KBA Rapida 162 press in Italy.

Said John Hopkinson, Sales Director, 'There were significant technical challenges which had to be overcome to produce a system which would operate at normal press speeds with a foil width of over 1600mm. We are now the only company in the world who can offer systems on all sizes of press, irrespective of the manufacture.

"We have now retrofitted several makes of lithographic presses with the Foiltone system, including KBA, Komori, Mitsubishi, Heidelberg and MAN Roland, and has its systems operating successfully in Europe, the USA and Japan.

Hopkinson further reported, 'Since introducing litho cold foil application to the market several years ago there have been significant developments in foils, adhesives, inks, including UV inks and coatings as the manufacturers of those products have seen their market opportunities multiply. This in turn has lead to significant advances to cold foil application techniques which have now become of interest to print sectors not previously associated with foil stamping. Our principle growth area is in the commercial print market where previously foil had been rarely used.'

Further developments include systems to allow several rolls of foil to be run across the width of the press and 'Foilstop' which only allows foil to run when the foil pressing section of the press is in impression. Both of these systems save significant amounts of foil over other applications.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cold Foil Technology: Opening New Markets

Inside Finishing Technology Focus
November-December 2006

The cold foil process is no newcomer to the industry of glitz and shine; in fact, it’s been around in the rotary, narrow-web industry for quite some time. However, like most technologies, the process has become more stable as the technical know-how, equipment, and materials utilized have become more sophisticated. Advancements in consistency, adhesion, substrate compatibility, and speed have opened doors to a broader range of foil applications across a variety of markets – markets that otherwise may never have considered foil a viable option.

The growth and technological advancement of the cold foil process, particularly with recent developments in the sheet-fed lithography arena, have left many wondering how the process works, for what applications is it best suited, and in what markets is it penetrating?

Flexography Present day, primarily label converters with rotary web-fed flexographic UV technology use the cold foil process. “They tend to be more focused on the prime label market,” states VP of Sales and Marketing Bob Witte, API Foils. “These labels usually contain high-end designs for health and beauty aid products that often use foil stamping as a quality enhancement.”

In the early days of cold foiling, cationic UV adhesives were used in the process (and before that, water- and solvent-based adhesives). This required a UV dryer to activate the adhesive and make it tacky just prior to the introduction of the foil. “This method proved inconsistent since the level of tackiness achieved varied to such a degree that the foil print quality was erratic,” explains Witte. “It was not until the introduction of free radical UV adhesives, along with the technique of activating the adhesive through the foil after it has been nipped, that the process became more robust and accepted as a bona fide production method.”

Today, rotary web-fed cold foiling requires only one unit and is very versatile in nature, with the ability to be applied before the printing, after the printing, and in any design configuration desired. The cold foiling process has several advantages over hot in the web-fed format. The primary benefit is speed. In most cases, cold foiling runs twice as fast as hot foiling. This is because the UV-activated adhesive allows the foil to adhere much faster than a heat-activated foil. “We (API) have several customers that do both hot and cold rotary foiling and are achieving speeds of 400 feet per minute with cold as opposed to only 200 feet per minute with hot,” states Witte. “Although many people feel that hot foil gives a higher quality and sharper appearance, cold foiling has established itself as an excellent medium for overprintable and high volume label applications.”

Progressing beyond the cold foil retrofit units, flexographic machine manufacturers such as Mark Andy/Comco, Nilpeter, and Gallus have integrated the cold foil process directly into their flexo printing presses. “Some systems, such as the Mark Andy XP5000, come equipped with a cold foil unit that can be slid into any print station, thereby offering even greater flexibility,” states Michael Rivera, vice president of sales – cold foil division with AMAGIC Foils.

Lithography Beyond the flexographic arena, recent innovations in utilizing the cold foil process with sheet-fed lithography are entering the market as an alternative to metallized board. This offset technology utilizes a tacky adhesive that is applied in the first printing head. The foil is then nipped to the adhesive and the carrier stripped away leaving the foil covering the board where required. “Specially formulated foils have been designed to work with this system,” Witte explains. “These foils also must be overprintable, since the subsequent printing heads apply the ink on top of the foil all in one system.” Heidelberg and MAN Roland have developed cold foil equipment for this process, which are specific to their own presses, while OFT Technology has developed the Foiltone™ cold foil system (distributed in the U.S. and Canada by American International Machinery) that retrofits to most printing presses.
The ROLAND InlineFoiler Prindor, winner of the PIA/GATF 2006 InterTech Award, can be installed on any recent vintage ROLAND 700 press – MAN Roland’s 41-inch model. Heidelberg’s FoilStar™ modular cold foil technology is utilized with the Speedmaster® CD74 and Speedmaster® CD102 printing presses. And as previously mentioned, OFT Technology’s Foiltone™ system will retrofit to most printing presses and can utilize both conventional and UV-curable adhesives. As with all cold foil technology, no stamping dies are required and makeready times are greatly reduced compared to conventional hot foil stamping processes.

All three systems are installed in the first and second printing units of the press, and can be used for regular offset printing when the cold foil units are not engaged. In the first printing unit, the areas of the substrate where foil is to be applied are printed with a special adhesive ink via the inking roller system using a conventional printing plate. In the second printing unit, the blanket cylinder presses the foil onto the areas of the sheet covered with the adhesive ink. The unused foil remains on the carrier layer, which is rewound by the rewinding station, typically mounted above the third printing unit. In this printing unit and subsequent ones, the areas of the sheet not covered with foil can be printed with absorption-drying inks. Lithographic printing blankets are manufactured with differing degrees of hardness (compression) and the choice of blanket will have an effect on the finished foil look. “If a textured material is being used, it would be normal to choose a blanket with a lower compression than one which may be chosen to foil onto a hard surface, such as plastics or a cast coated board,” explains Sales Director John Hopkinson, OFT Technology Ltd. “The half tone effect of foil also is partly determined by blanket compression in conjunction with the smoothness of the substrate.”

Cold Foil – Attributes and Limitations The application of cold foil on the lithographic sheet-fed press should be viewed as an extension of the use of foil to embellish the printed surface. Applications exist that will always be hot foil, a middle area which could be either hot or cold, and a new area which is most definitely cold foil. The main difference between the two processes from a technical point of view is that hot foil is stamped into a surface while cold foil is laid onto a surface. “This principal difference does lead to a different look, the beauty of which is in the eye of the beholder, or more factually, in the eye of the designer – as this process puts another tool at the designer’s disposal,” states Hopkinson.

The look that is attainable with hot foil is very well established and recognized. The look that is attainable with the litho application of cold foil is less understood; however, many of the same printing effects can be achieved with the cold foil process as with ink.

The ability to produce large, solid areas of foil with no gassing issues; small, reversed out areas of type as thin as .05mm in thickness; and the ability to produce foiled half tones are definite attributes of the cold foil process. Furthermore, textured substrates (such as a linen stock) retain their texture after foiling, thereby offering further design opportunities. Printing multiple colors of foil at the same time, decreasing registration issues, and allowing for the use of substrates not suitable for hot stamping are additional advantages.

“More and more (flexo) packaging applications are requiring thinner films that tend to be heat sensitive. Applying heat to these substrates through the hot stamping process can cause the material to distort,” Witte explains. “The cold foiling method not only allows thin films to be foil stamped but also, forms a basis that will let the foil actually shrink or expand to a small degree without cracking.”

Additionally, running speeds, stamping die costs, and makeready times are all decreased or eliminated with the cold foil process. “Cost is a key factor,” states Witte. “Since adhesive is applied with an inexpensive polymer plate, the cost to changeover to multiple print formats is minimal. The opposite is true with hot foil. The cost of rotary tooling is relatively very expensive and can be prohibitive.”

On the other side of the coin, cold foiling on sheet-fed presses has its limitations and is not suitable for many applications where hot foil stamping would excel. First of all, foil usage is one-to-one with the substrate. In other words, the foil pull must run the same length of the substrate and cannot be indexed as with the hot foil process. This would not be an issue if the image(s) to be foiled, for example, either occupied most of the sheet or at least a large, solid portion of it. However, if the foiled image(s) is positioned only at the top or bottom of the sheet, or perhaps both, the hot foil stamping process would be a much better option and more cost effective.

Second, the cold foil process is more suitable for coated stocks than dry, porous stocks. And although foil companies continue to make improvements to the cold foil construction so that the technology will work on a wide variety of substrates, including porous paper stocks, the hot stamping process far excels on these types of substrates. Third, the cold foil process is a flat application only and cannot be utilized with combination stamping and embossing.

Finally, the brilliance achieved through the hot foil stamping process is like none other. For many high-end applications, this may be an important factor. However the key point to be made about the cold foil process is that it is not replacing the hot foil process but instead, is being utilized to penetrate markets where previously, foil was not a viable option. “Yes, there can be a difference in brilliance,” explains Rivera. “But when you’re foiling thousands of labels for shampoo bottles, people don’t know the difference. All they know is they now have the ability to apply foil to their product in a cost effective manner.”

Foil Growth – A Win/Win Situation The cold foil process also has made its way into digital technology with manufacturers such as Omega and Rotoflex, where cold foiling can be added in the converting end of the press. However, as Rivera points out, “These processes are limited in the types of stock which can be utilized (namely film stocks and not laser stocks), as well as the size of the runs (under 10,000 labels). Anything greater would not be cost effective.”

A look at the cold foil movement today shows the greatest concentration in the narrow web flexo label market. “Tomorrow, add narrow web flexo small cartons,” predicts John Thoma, Kurz Transfer Products. “Down the road, we will start to see more and more sheet-fed operations for greeting cards and folding cartons. Eventually, it will even make it onto in-line hi-speed rotogravure printing, such as gift wrap or cigarette cartons.”

So, what does this mean for the foil stamping industry at large? “Greater exposure!” exclaims Jeff Peterson, executive director of the Foil Stamping and Embossing Association (FSEA). “An increase in foiled product in the marketplace equates to greater visibility overall. And if one product has foil, why can’t another?” Once hooked on the eye-catching draw of foil, it is hard to go back.

Witte concurs, “As a foil manufacturer selling to both the hot and cold foil markets, I have not sold cold foil to one customer for an application that otherwise would have been hot foil stamped. The cold foil process should not be viewed as a replacement to the hot foil process but more accurately, as an opportunity to expand the use of foil into markets otherwise untouchable by foil.”

Education starts in the marketplace. If designers see foiled product on the shelf, they become curious and start to ask questions. Eventually, they become more familiar with the process and in turn, become more comfortable with designing with foil. “So whether utilizing the cold or hot foil process, the news is good for the industry as a whole,” concludes Peterson. “It’s a win/win situation for all.”


Monday, January 29, 2007

Product of the week

18th January 2007.

OFT Foiltone - Product of the Week

OFT Foiltone has made die-less foiling more convenient and cheaper for sheet fed Printers .

By Karen Charlesworth

Even in the 21st century, when value-added processes have become a desperately sought means of protecting margins, and holograms, embossing, die-stamping, personalised print and lenticular images have become almost commonplace, good old foil is still capable of lifting a piece of print into the premium bracket. But foiling isn’t a cheap means of adding value. It is not the cost of the consumables – these aren’t cheap, but they do show a good return on investment – it is the process that adds the pounds.

To foil a sheet means investing in a foil-stamping platen or rotary cylinder and finding space for it on the factory floor (both of which demand a certain throughput to justify the investment). And for each job, foiling means adding extra turnaround time, a few extra sheets for spoilage, plus extra manpower to handle the pallets before and after. There is also an expensive investment to be made in the dies that stamp the foil on to the sheet.

Well, that’s what it used to mean. But not any longer, because sheetfed printers who want to foil can now invest in a unit for their press that can handle the entire process inline. OFT  Foiltone is a clever device that takes up two press units (or a unit plus the coater, depending where you put it) to give die-less cold foiling at the speed of the press. In a single stroke, this eliminates the need for floor space, extra handling time and the cost of dies.

Rapturous reception

Foiltone is the brainchild of Bruce Podmore, owner of greetings card printer Windles Group, who was looking for a way to cut the costs of the offline added-value processes that Windles was adding to its range.

Podmore set up OFT (Offset Foil Technology) in 2005 to market his invention to other printers, and the reception since its launch in January 2006 has been rapturous. As OFT sales and marketing director John Hopkinson says, unsurprisingly, “it seems that Windles is not the only sheetfed printer looking to radically reduce the cost of its foiling”.

While the concept of Foiltone is simple, the machine itself is not. Some extremely clever engineering has gone into its design, coupled with a good few years’ testing. It works by using the first unit of the two it occupies to print a pattern in adhesive, and the second unit to nip the foil on to the adhesive. It is a standard cold-foiling process, as opposed to hot-foiling, which uses heat to activate the adhesive coated on to the back of a reel of foil. The cold-foil process uses a separate glue, which is still tacky when the foil is pressed on to it, using pressure but no heat.

An image is printed in glue on the first unit, using a standard offset plate imaged in a normal way – this is how the process avoids using dies. After being printed with glue, the sheet passes out of the first unit and into the second. Standing over the second unit is a foil unwind that uses a direct-drive servo to feed foil down into the unit, around the blanket cylinder and exit it at the back, where it is rewound on to another axle mounted over the unit.

No mechanical connection

The way that Foiltone controls the foil’s speed and tension is simple but clever. There is no mechanical connection between the press and the foil, but the foil matches the press’s speed automatically. On its journey into the unit, the foil web runs around a swing-arm – essentially a roller that is allowed to move through an arc. The shaft on which the swing-arm is mounted holds a digital encoder that senses the foil web’s movement and starts up the servo motor controlling the unwind. When the press reaches a constant speed, the swing-arm returns to a ‘datum’ or reference position, and the encoder sets itself to a speed to match the press. The beauty of this is twofold: first, the unit doesn’t slow the press down at all, but simply mirrors its speed; second, it is not connected to the press, meaning that when it is not in use, it is extremely fast and simple to disconnect (the foil gets wound back on to the unwind, and the adhesive in unit one’s ducts is washed up).

OFT has worked with German adhesive manufacturer Henkel to develop a glue suitable for printing offset. Hopkinson explains the characteristics of the glue: “First, we wanted the facility to print halftones in foil, so we were looking for a glue that had very little dot gain. We also wanted it to stay open for long periods, and to be cleanable by standard offset cleaning fluids. Basically, we wanted it to behave as much like an offset ink or varnish as possible.” There is also a UV glue available that makes use of a curing lamp mounted interdeck after the second unit to cure the glue behind the foil.

The foil has also been developed by OFT, in conjunction with German manufacturer Kurtz. It consists of a Mylar backing, a release coating and a top layer of aluminium. The release coat has a ‘shear factor’ that has been judged so that the tack of the adhesive shears the foil precisely, and the remaining foil remains on the Mylar backing. Both foil and glue are about 10% more expensive than standard cold-foil equivalents, but Hopkinson is confident that costs will come down when more users come on stream.

One of the drawbacks of Foiltone is that, at present, there is no way of indexing the foil to the substrate. In other words, for the length of a sheet going through the unit, the same amount of foil is pulled – so if only a small area is being foiled, a large amount of waste gets rewound. “If you have just got a small area of foil every sheet, you are better off keeping the job off-press on a platen or cylinder,” says Hopkinson. However, the Foiltone unit does come with two unwinds and two rewinds, so two webs of foil can be run, and up to four can be fitted on a single Foiltone device.

Skill required

If the printer is printing on a wide variety of substrates, a small degree of skill is needed to judge the set-up of the Foiltone unit. Hopkinson explains: “If you are printing plastic with a smooth surface, you would choose a hard blanket with little compression. If you are foiling a textured board, where the surface has pits and lumps, you would choose a blanket with some compression to allow the foil to be pushed down onto the surface and conform to it.” But in general, the make ready is simple, with foil being threaded through the roller train in inching mode and then mounted, and the air pressure driving the swing-arm being set. It takes about 20 minutes in total, according to Hopkinson.

Foiltone can be fitted to any standard offset press – OFT has installed them on Heidelberg, Komori, KBA and MAN presses – and units have so far been made for B1 and B2 presses. The device is most usually fitted to the first two units of the press, because laying the foil down first gives the printer the unheard of opportunity to single-pass print over the top of the foil, giving a range of metallic colours. The process is reminiscent of MetalFX’s eponymous process, but Hopkinson says “ours is much better, vibrant and resilient because we are using proper foil, not a metallic silver ink”.

Such is the attraction of the on-press foiling concept that within a year of Foiltone becoming commercially available, Heidelberg and MAN Roland launched their own versions. Of the three remaining, OFT operates an original equipment manufacturer agreement with KBA, supplies units to Komori, and is in negotiations with Mitsubishi. “It is an idea that has caught everyone’s imagination,” says Hopkinson. “It is a great-looking result, adds superb value and is quick and easy. What more could you want?