Zecher and Heidelberg present SteppedHex engraving for optimised finishings and spot-varnishing


SteppedHex engraving from Zecher
SteppedHex engraving from Zecher

Ever since its founding in 1948, Zecher GmbH (Paderborn, Germany) - a manufacturer of premium quality anilox rollers - has been the driving force behind numerous innovations. These include its SteppedHex technology, developed in-house and thoroughly tried and tested. Based on an application of the parameters of 60° engraving, it offers both an alternative to it and additional benefits. SteppedHex engraving assists the printer's task with improved emptying of the anilox roller cells to deliver optimised printing results. This is proven by a series of successful SteppedHex-based projects carried out by Zecher together with its customers.

One such project, starting in early 2016, was a joint endeavour involving printing machine manufacturer Heidelberger, with a mission to provide an end-customer with the best possible solution to print gold lettering. Jörg Rohde, Zecher’s head of application technology, explains how the manufacturer of anilox rollers delivered its support services: “Our cooperation with the specialists from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen included the provision by us of a corresponding technical-application analysis for the downstream varnishing/flexo printing works in relation to the print quality to be achieved.” To ensure an ideal outcome, Zecher also carried out test prints, likewise in collaboration with Heidelberger, at the Print Media Center (PMC) in Wiesloch-Walldorf (Germany), using a Speedmaster XL 106 double coating machine.

With the requirements of the end-customer in mind, Jörg Rohde recommended the use of innovative SteppedHex technology: “Up until now the engraving specifications used for printing gold lettering have been relatively coarse. These include conventional, hexagonal 60° engraving and the open line screen. In contrast to this, the SteppedHex technology convinces with its special staggered structure and increased screen ruling without loss of volume.” Initial test-prints carried out at Heidelberger’s PMC demonstrated these benefits in terms of excellent positioning accuracy and, at the same time, outstanding positive and negative detail rendering. The use of 240L/cm SteppedHex engraving amply fulfilled the end-customer’s expectations.

Zecher SteppedHex engraving provided Heidelberger’s customer with clearly improved printing performance. The application specialists at the Heidelberger PMC were positively surprised by the print quality delivered by SteppedHex engraving technology. But SteppedHex engraving is also a clever solution when it comes to the printing of logos and fine gold lettering, given the cost savings in relation to the application of gold foil. Heidelberger and Zecher have created, with this project, a system that likewise gives other customers who use SteppedHex engraving a way of guaranteeing a stable varnishing process. More and more customers are becoming interested in the possible range of applications of this technology, as an alternative to conventional engraving. We therefore expect this innovative engraving technique to gain an ever-firmer footing in the market.