We would like to introduce Jan Verner, from our R&D department. Jan joined SOMA in 2011 after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in the Czech Republic. Since 2019 he has been working as a Technical Director. He also is a successor of the company’s owner and founder, following in his footsteps.
Jan Verner is the chief designer and ‘leader’ of the development of the Soma Flex Optima² press, which was officially launched at drupa 2016 in Düsseldorf.
What is the primary difference between the previous and new generation Optima²?
At first sight, it may not seem that the machine has undergone major changes. However, the second generation, once again, pushes the limits set in the area of print stability (with Advanced Bounce Control) and the ability to quickly exchange jobs with almost no makeready waste (with ARUN). These were very characteristic features of the first generation of this press and these are still the biggest challenges for every customer and therefore we wanted to even improve them. In addition to all this, a key group of ‘intelligent functions’ has been added, enabling efficient operation and remote servicing of the machine, even with less qualified operators. The machine has a completely redesigned drying system, enabling optimal drying of demanding motifs up to a speed of 600 m/ min. The placement of the doctor blade chambers also underwent significant changes, as ink distribution has been partially integrated into the massive support frame. This solution significantly reduces the weight of the body of the doctor blade chamber while increasing the stability of the entire system.
What makes the new generation Optima² innovative?
This machine is intelligent. At this point, I would like to emphasize intelligent job tuning. This allows each specific printing motif to achieve the ideal setting of printing axes, including automatic predictive control within one rotation of the printing form. It is really revolutionary and it moves control over printing stability to a new sphere.
From your point of view, what benefits will the new Optima² deliver to the customer?
This is already the second generation of a very successful machine, so customers can be confident that they will receive a proven flexo press without any limitations. The powerful features that defined the first generation Optima2 remain and were even supported. Exceptional print stability for long jobs, as well as extremely quick job changes for short jobs plus excellent machine serviceability. In addition, the user will certainly appreciate that the intelligence of the machine, compared to its first generation counterpart, Many activities can perform automatically, and will do so by switching jobs in the most efficient way.
How long have you worked on the improvements?
In SOMA, work in the R&D department is always ongoing. It can be said that even during drupa 2016, some ideas and concepts were considered, which are currently reflected in the second generation of the machine You know our ambition is to offer the best press in the world so we have all the time new and new ideas how to improve that.
What was most complicated for you when working on the new generation Optima²?
It is difficult to find the optimal solution for conflicting customer requirements. No machine can satisfy everyone. On the other hand, my experience has confirmed that the ideal can frequently be approached.
What is most interesting for you as a designer?
It was not until my transition to the principal managerial role of Technical Director that I realized what facet of being a designer was of most interest to me. The design of complex devices, such as flexographic printing machines, will never become routine. Each new task offers many possible solutions and new non-traditional approaches to the problem. In addition, the development of technology is constantly advancing and thus does not allow designers to get the feeling that they already know everything. I love these never-ending daily tasks which you have when you want to reach something great. All the time trying to be better and this is what I like on my job that there is still a space for that.