Is it okay for a company in thin-film technology to lay it on thick? Let’s just do it here. LUMAFIN® is something that has been, until now, unprecedented. In the field of stamping foil at least. And from another perspective, LUMAFIN® is anything but commonplace too. To find out more, we met with Holger Habekus, the product manager in charge of development of the remarkable semitransparent transfer coating.
LUMAFIN® is as translucent as a glaze. Its creation has enabled completely new design approaches and new levels of freedom. But as tends to be the case, this additional freedom of design comes with a hefty helping of new challenges. Product manager Holger Habekus has been familiar with LUMAFIN® not just since its official introduction at FachPack 2018, he was also part of the team responsible for developing the innovative effect.
He says that KURZ has seldom brought a finishing product to market which gave designers so much grist for discussion. Discussion, please note, in the best sense of the word. When it comes to playing with different types of underprinting, LUMAFIN® awaits with ever new and surprising effects. Depending on the color used, it results in a patina or vintage effect, as well as impressions of exceptional depth, bronzing, and being behind glass. Users often tell us about such experiences, and we are only too happy to hear about them here at KURZ. It must mean that the semitransparent high-gloss finish not only occupies graphic designers, but actually inspires them.
New products like LUMAFIN®, of course, have a back story. Such a high-gloss finish with an almost metallic shine, yet without aluminum and in a veritable wealth of semi-transparent colors, is not exactly a routine development order. “Glossy zeitgeist”, as it’s called in one of the LUMAFIN® brochures, played a role even in the development phase, because creatives and processors are always searching for something new. Which often implies additional effort and costs. After all, not all new effects or every new technology can be realized with existing equipment, for instance stamping presses. Beyond the zeitgeist factor, already factored in at a design-oriented company like KURZ, the keyword “processability” was a concern for Habekus and the development team from the start. This flexibility and efficiency are precisely what distinguish LUMAFIN®. It can be used in existing machinery, without additional expenses. It is surprising how quickly it was taken for granted that the new finishing product is available in a whole range of colors. Yet not so long ago, when KURZ first considered the new product, there were transparent designs for hot stamping and cold transfer, but nothing with colors or glaze. Metallic gloss without the metal was not even on the radar. This is now one of the factors that explain why LUMAFIN® generates such fascination – and why it is so well-received on the market. But the colorless version also impresses as an alternative for spot-coating or UV lacquers in the food sector. Here, LUMAFIN®, with its iridescent effect, transforms any surface into an elegant, glossy eye-catcher.
“Working with LUMAFIN® is a bit like learning to see again.”
The intensive activity and research does not end once the product is ready for mass production. Quite the contrary. Development is ongoing, which is a practical part of the fundamental entrepreneurial approach at KURZ, especially with regard to development cooperation between different business areas. LUMAFIN® has now been further developed for use on plastic parts as well. And since Holger Habekus is not only in charge of the graphic field but also of applications on plastics, the transfer of know-how from one basic material to another was practically seamless. This is a benefit that KURZ, with its extensive portfolio, can always pass on to its customers in a wide range of industries while remaining highly focused on sector specifics.
In addition to this, it is already the task of product management to continuously target the expansion of LUMAFIN® applications so as to diversify the use of different end products. Whereby end customers, not least of which branded goods manufacturers, reap a handsome profit. This is ultimately the only way to ensure packaging with a consistently uniform appearance.
This is where the circle comes back around to users, to the designers who work with LUMAFIN®. Constant trial and experimentation is involved, as well as the incarnation of something in its original spirit. “Working with LUMAFIN® is a bit like learning to see again,” is how Holger Habekus describes one of the features of the transfer product. The glazed colorfulness of LUMAFIN®, and the deliberate set-off of matte and high-gloss areas against one another, are crucial to its effect. This produces an entirely new and unique image impression, with pronounced depth effect and vibrancy. The challenge consists of bringing the magic of the material to a targeted interplay with the substrate; that is to say, fully bringing to bear the print substrate itself and its printing. The experts at KURZ are, of course, available to assist and advise customers. Current design examples will provide some advance inspiration.
So what does the market itself have to say about LUMAFIN®? Feedback has been extremely positive from the start. Holger Habekus smiles as he looks back on a sales colleague’s first success at the Mediadruckwerk printing shop in Hamburg. After a product presentation on LUMAFIN® for digital printing the chief buyer, Dirk Bräuer, promptly stopped the already completed Christmas card and replaced it with one finished with LUMAFIN®. Or as Sylvia Lerch, familiar to regular readers of NOVUM, put it: “Translucent, but not fully. Colorful, but not covered. Doesn’t that sound mysterious, mystic, elegant and spacey?"
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