How to Seamlessly Integrate Conversion Processes with c.Hub Middleware

RE: and Comexi offer customers enhanced insights into their entire production, including conversion. Learn more about the joint solution.

The plastic packaging industry is undergoing a significant transformation with increasing demands for efficiency, quality, and sustainability across the entire production process, including extrusion and the conversion process. The complexity of this conversion process demands meticulous attention to avoid errors in print quality, sealing, coating, lamination, and waste management.

The challenge lies in managing these processes, often handled by isolated solutions that hinder seamless integration with the broader production process. As a result, packaging producers often lack a comprehensive overview of their entire production process, missing opportunities to correlate printing, laminating, and slitting with other relevant process data. This inefficiency leads to error-prone and time-consuming attempts to optimize the entire production chain.

Partnership enables new level of transparency in the production process

A cooperation between RE: GmbH and Comexi is now tackling this challenge. The RE: GmbH is a corporate start-up of the Reifenhäuser Group, committed to enabling packaging producers to digitally connect entire shopfloors via the c.Hub Middleware, allowing them to constantly improve their OEE. Comexi is a pioneering solution provider for printing, laminating and slitting and recognized for its sustainable and comprehensive approach in the plastic packaging industry.

Comexi offers cutting-edge printing technologies such as flexographic presses, along with advancements in laminating, coating, and slitting solutions. Their commitment is demonstrated through their Technological Center and collaborations with partners like Reifenhäuser, driving advancements in printing, converting, and packaging technologies.

copyright by Comexi

RE: develops digital solutions tailored to the industry. The c.Hub Middleware allows to connect the entire production, becoming the single point of truth for all data. The ExtrusionOS Suite features applications covering industry-specific use cases to increase OEE, including monitoring, analysis and reporting. RE: is focusing on a cross-manufacturer approach that enables producers to digitally connect nearly every machinery and system of the shopfloor. This allows customers to monitor, analyze and report all relevant KPIs of their processes.

Together, RE: and Comexi aim to provide customers with enhanced insights into their entire production, including conversion processes. To this end, the companies are developing a joint solution, the Comexi-to-c.Hub package, enabling producers to securely access process data from their production lines. This includes all key parameters of the conversion process, spanning from printing to coating.

In the following, we will focus on the specific challenges of printing processes to illustrate the benefits of an integrated approach.

Key Challenges of Flexo Printing in Plastic Packaging Production

Utilizing highly accurate and cutting-edge machinery, such as Comexi printing presses, represents a crucial initial step in ensuring top-tier print quality. However, flexographic printing is a complex and precision-driven process that comes with its own set of challenges. Maintaining consistent quality across extensive production lines and finding the right balance between speed and accuracy to ensure efficiency are primary obstacles. Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on using recyclable materials, reducing waste, and enhancing energy efficiency.

Main Drivers of Print Quality

Comexi flexographic printing press (copyright by Comexi)

To gain a deeper insight into the challenges associated with printing in the plastic packaging process, let's delve into some key factors that impact print quality.

Web Tension

Maintaining proper web tension throughout the printing process is crucial for accurate registration and preventing print defects. Excessive or inadequate tension can lead to misregistration, wrinkling, or poor print quality. This is why monitoring and controlling web tension at various stages, such as unwinding, printing, and rewinding, is important.

Registration Accuracy

Print registration refers to the precise alignment of different colors and design elements. Tracking and monitoring the registration accuracy during the printing process is critical to ensure consistent print quality. Additionally packaging producers use registration control systems and regularly inspect printed samples to identify deviations and make necessary adjustments.

Ink Viscosity

Ink viscosity affects ink flow, color density, and print quality. Monitoring and controlling ink viscosity at regular intervals can help maintain consistent ink performance and prevent issues such as color variation, poor ink transfer, or improper drying. Producers should use appropriate viscosity measurement techniques and adjust ink viscosity as needed.

Anilox Roller Condition

The anilox roller plays a vital role in transferring ink from the chamber to the printing plate. It is crucial to regularly inspect and clean the anilox roller to ensure it is free from ink build-up, blockages, or damage. Proper maintenance and cleaning can help maintain consistent ink transfer and prevent print defects.

Plate Cylinder and Printing Plate Condition

The condition of the plate cylinder and printing plate directly impacts print quality. Producers should monitor the wear and integrity of the printing plate, ensuring it is clean and free from damage or contamination. They should regularly check the plate-to-plate cylinder gap and make necessary adjustments to maintain proper contact and ink transfer.

Ink Drying/ Curing

Adequate drying or curing of the ink is crucial to prevent smudging, improve adhesion, and ensure the final print quality. This is why one should monitor the drying or curing process parameters such as temperature, airflow, and UV intensity, depending on the ink and curing method used. Additionally it is recommended to regularly inspect the printed material for proper ink drying or curing.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Proper cleaning and maintenance of the printing press are essential to prevent print defects and ensure consistent quality. It is important to regularly clean ink chambers, doctor blades, anilox rollers, plate cylinders, and other components to remove ink residues, debris, or contaminants that can affect print performance.

Seamless Connection of Flexo Printing Presses to the c.Hub Middleware

Comexi is a leading manufacturer of flexographic presses, offering a range of models with advanced technological features and catering to the market's diverse requirements. The “Comexi-to-c.Hub-Package” will be a comprehensive solution developed by RE: in cooperation with Comexi to seamlessly connect flexo printing presses to the powerful c.Hub Middleware and ExtrusionOS, its ecosystem of applications.

An example dashboard including data from Comexi printing presses in ExtrusionOS

The c.Hub Middleware acts as a central point of truth, facilitating streamlined communication and data exchange across various stages of the production chain, including printing. This can lead to:

Improved Efficiency

The integration of printing data with the c.Hub Middleware optimizes the flow of information, enabling real-time data sharing between printing and other production processes. This minimizes the need for manual interventions, reduces errors, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

Enhanced Visibility

Packaging producers gain a comprehensive overview of their entire production cycle through the c.Hub as single point of truth. This visibility allows for better monitoring, analysis, and decision-making, ultimately leading to improved process control and resource allocation.

Synchronized Operations

The c.Hub Middleware allows the synchronization between different production stages, ensuring that actions taken in one area of the process are accurately reflected and executed in subsequent stages. This seamless coordination can lead to smoother workflows and faster time-to-market.

Reduced Downtime

The streamlined connectivity facilitated by the c.Hub Middleware helps to identify issues or disruptions more promptly. An early detection allows for faster troubleshooting and reduces unplanned downtime, contributing to increased production uptime.


The c.Hub Middleware can accommodate growth and changing demands in the packaging industry. As businesses expand or adapt, the platform's flexibility allows for easy integration of new technologies and processes.

Collaborative Opportunities

We hope, that our partnership with Comexi will foster a culture of collaboration within the packaging industry. Sharing best practices, insights, and technological advancements can benefit all stakeholders involved.

Together with Comexi, we aim to introduce a new era of connectivity and optimization for packaging producers and converters that will fully integrate converting processes in the future. By centralizing your data and enabling you to communicate seamlessly, we will enable you to increase efficiency, improve decision-making and become more competitive in an evolving market landscape.

Let's build your Plan for Success!

At RE:, our Customer Success and Support Team is here to help with any issues and make sure you get the most from c.Hub Middleware. We provide clear documentation for easy integration. 

Ready to Start?

Printing Press/Machine Integration

Interested in the Comexi-to-c.Hub Package for effortlessly connecting your conversion equipment to the c.Hub Middleware?

Speak with an Expert!

more Blogposts