A successful partnership between Esko and Wink has been instrumental in the development of a highly efficient staggered label solution which produces accurate print and die-cutting results and cost savings

Esko and leading German supplier of die-cutting tools Wink Stanzwerkzeuge have brought together their soft- and hardware expertise to create a highly efficient staggered label solution. This enables label converters to optimise production, increase speeds, enjoy material savings and produce highly accurate print and die-cutting results.

The partnership combines Wink’s innovative die-cutting technology with Esko’s ‘staggered cut’ software and Esko Kongsberg cutting tables, resulting in the ProShift technology. ProShift enables impressions to be arranged more flexibly and make full use of the entire printing area.

This is achieved using Wink’s modern laser technology to arrange the upper and lower edge of the flexible dies in steps. Esko’s sheet layout software Plato creates the staggered label layout at the touch of a button. Perfect alignment between the printing and cutting plate is guaranteed as the data is exported simultaneously to create the staggered flexo plate and to order the shifted die at Wink.

Shifting print to attain advantage

“This type of shifted printing and die-cutting has many advantages,” explains Fransz Verbeek, product manager at Wink. “In most cases, labels are arranged symmetrically to save space and keep the consumption of materials to a minimum. However, this configuration is less beneficial for the rotary die-cutting process because vertical lines tend to cut more forcefully than horizontal lines and high contact pressure causes the vertical lines to cut even deeper. This can damage the liner material and result in wear and lasting damage to all components in the cutting unit.”

ProShift counteracts these negative effects by vertically shifting the impressions in the machine’s running direction which significantly reduces the number of horizontal lines and evenly distributes cutting pressure.

Efficiency increased in prepress

When coupled with the tools in Esko’s Digital Flexo Suite, efficiency in producing printing plates and control processes is increased at the prepress stage. The software uses intelligent algorithms and is connected to Esko Kongsberg systems so that plate cutting becomes fully automated. It also sets parameters for use when mounting plates to the printing cylinder.

“With the staggered labels solution conventional rectangular print shapes can be created on the cutting table as well as individually shaped and staggered images with accurate contours and consistent repeat accuracy,” comments Pascal Thomas, business development manager Flexo at Esko. “This means prepress companies can supply their customers with pre-cut flexographic printing plates ready for installation, saving time and costs. Automatic plate cutting means that print companies can benefit from higher quality and more accurate cuts.”

Benefiting from staggering

The ProShift solution has many advantages compared to conventional label production, particularly when cutting rectangles or other shapes with many horizontal lines: optimisation of die-cutting results and reduced liner damage, longer lasting flexible dies and machine parts, stabile waste stripping which prevents web breaks and thus reduces down time.

By using the ‘staggered cut’ option of Esko’s software and Kongsberg cutting tables, the advantages of shifting labels become clear for the printing part as well. In order to guarantee an efficient workflow for the label printer and coordinate the offsetting of printing blocks and flexible dies as accurately as possible, the relevant order data is simultaneously prepared and converted into digital format by Esko’s Digital Flexo Suite.


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