Finishing & Screen Printing

Thanks to its cooperation with BOBST, Symetal achieves the highest quality in applications

Friday 18. November 2022 - Aluminium foil is a sensitive material whose processing. Symetal S.A., a manufacturer of a wide range of aluminium foil products, has successfully commissioned a BOBST MASTER CO 5000 coating machine at its Mandra plant in Greece in the first quarter of 2022.

It not only covers the company’s high requirements for coating quality, but also opens up the possibility of increasing its production output from the current 24,000 tonnes per year.
Aluminium foil is a sensitive material whose processing requires a complex combination of different processes. Coating lines are also usually designed to be highly customised. This in turn requires close cooperation between the manufacturers of the machines and the producers of the aluminium foils. With the new MASTER CO 5000, Symetal has raised the process efficiency and quality of its coating processes to a new level together with BOBST.
Symetal operates two state-of-the-art plants in Greece: In Oinofyta, the company produces aluminium foil rolls. The Mandra plant specialises in foil coating and paper lamination. It produces a wide range of products from aluminium foils with thicknesses from 6 to 100 microns, some of which are finished. With more than 40 years of practical experience and know-how in rolling and processing aluminium foils, Symetal is a strategic partner of major packaging manufacturers in the food, pharmaceutical and cigarette industry segments. Symetal is a subsidiary of the aluminium division of ElvalHalcor S.A., a leading global manufacturer of aluminium and copper products for dynamically growing markets.
“We operate in a highly competitive market, which is why we have to continuously invest in the latest technology. In doing so, we focus on optimising our production processes and producing sustainable foil solutions that offer high added value,” explains Symetal Managing Director Konstantinos Kontos. “We have already worked closely with BOBST on another project: a triplex coating machine that was highly adapted to our requirements. This machine, commissioned in 2015, produces excellent quality. And it enabled us to optimise our process as we had hoped. All this spoke in favour of turning to BOBST again for our latest investment.”
Symetal’s new MASTER CO 5000 is a duplex coating machine equipped with various coating systems. It ideally covers the company’s special requirements for customised applications and has been configured to coat aluminium foil rolls on both sides. Optionally with water-based or solvent-based coatings – protective primer and heat seal.
The BOBST MASTER CO 5000 coating line at Symetal’s Mandra plant in Greece.
The main advantages of the MASTER CO 5000 lie in its unique BOBST technical solutions to meet process-critical challenges: from web guiding to a variety of different coating units and special dry runner configurations that cover specific requirements in terms of the materials to be processed and the applications. As aluminium foil webs tear easily, accurate web guiding is of utmost importance.
To ensure the required barrier properties, any defects such as pinholes and web breaks must be avoided. Constant coating weights and quality control accuracy are also crucial factors. In addition, the drying channels must be very efficient, as temperatures of up to 250 °C are required. In Symetal’s MASTER CO 5000, the drying channels are arranged one above the other to shorten the length of the machine and to be able to coat the webs on both sides without having to work with turner bars.
Looking to the future
In the 2021 financial year, Symetal generated EUR 260 million in revenue with 450 full-time employees. The Mandra plant is experiencing strong growth. Since its foundation in 1977, it has increased its production volume of refined aluminium foils by more than 30 times.
Kontos: “In view of the significantly increased demand for packaging products made of aluminium foils, we had to invest and expand our capacities. We focused on optimising coating weight, automatic inspection and minimising surface defects.”
Symetal sets very high standards for the sustainable operation of its facilities in order to meet its commitment to a green economy and environmental social government (ESG) criteria. Symetal became a member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) in 2019. Recently, the company was awarded the Platinum rating by EcoVadis for its sustainability performance, the highest rating awarded by EcoVadis.
“BOBST develops cutting-edge equipment and understands the specific needs of our business. We appreciate the way we can work together to align our projects with these requirements. Working closely together, we have developed solutions that add value to our customers,” Kontos said.
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