How a basic household appliance helped improve print productivity
It all began a quarter of a century ago when Danish label printer Henning Kongstad became frustrated with the time and effort required to clean and maintain his printing presses. The biggest problem was dirty parts and the knock-on effect they were having on print quality. In addition, the manual process of cleaning was taking up valuable production time, so Kongstad decided to come up with a remedy - and the rest is Flexo Wash history!
The machine he developed was unsophisticated and little more than a modified domestic dishwasher, but the die was cast, and through various ingenious modifications, he developed what became the first Flexo Wash Parts Washer, and in doing so, he changed the course of history for so many printing companies.
The benefits of the new mechanical washer were immediately obvious, as Kongstad explained: “Suddenly, we found change over times were shorter and we had fewer press stops – more uptime means more print, and more print means more profit. It was a simple fix that had a profound effect on productivity – and we have never looked back!”
Always keen to ensure that his product fitted the ‘lean, clean, and mean’ maxim, Kongstad claims that the company’s ethos and dedication to quality and sustainability has reaped rewards the world over. Beginning by supplying the narrow web sector in native Denmark and neighbouring Germany, the reach of Flexo Wash products now extends to all sectors of the printing industry with installations around the world. There is barely a sector of flexo and gravure that does not use Flexo Wash technology, with industry sectors as diverse as corrugated, offset and coating included. Today, the Flexo Wash portfolio includes specialist anilox cleaning and plate washing technology, as well as the original parts washing machines.
Flexibility has always been an essential element of the company’s success as well as its ability to predict what its customers will need next. By keeping close contact with the market, Flexo Wash has used this feedback to develop and refine its products, while all the time retaining the highest level of after sales service and support. Aware that his customers are a major asset, Kongstad says the key to his success has been the level of trust and loyalty that Flexo Wash has managed to build over the years. “Most of our customers make repeat purchases, which speaks volumes for the reliability of the equipment and the dedication of our service team.”
Twenty-five years on, Flexo Wash has more than 4000 machines in everyday commercial use worldwide. The thrust is still ‘productivity’ and no-one has a more diverse yet specialised product portfolio that has been developed from first-hand experience to provide reliable performance under the toughest working conditions. “We supply machines to major global groups and small family businesses in remote locations – both need technology and service they can depend on, and that’s been the key to our first 25 years of success!” he concluded.
Henning Kongstad in front of the first Flexo Wash Parts Washer (on the right) and the newest generation of Flexo Wash Parts Washers (on the left)