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FLEXO Magazine : September 2014
Flint Group Flexographic Products T +1 704 504 2626 nyloflex®isaregisteredtrademarkandRelyonus.SMisaservicemarkofFlintGroup. • Fewer press stops for cleaning – less downtime and startup waste • Reduces fill-in of screens on plate and dirty printing • Optimized for Flat Top Dots and HD flexo Engineered specifically to improve ink transfer and stay cleaner longer • High-intensity LEDs for extraordinary efficiency & repeatability • No additional processing steos or consumables • Easy implementation in existing digital workflows • Compatible with all digital plates, formats and thicknesses • High print quality – precise image reproduction & excellent ink laydown Perfect with nyloflex® NExT Exposure Technology for producing Flat Top Dots The NEW nyloflex® ACE Digital Plates Don’t Stop the Press! What are the web widths and ages of their traditional fleets of flexo presses? How wide are the presses, numbers of colors and types of work flowing through them? It would not be surprising to see presses more than 30 years of age with the last installed flexo press five to 10 years old. Not to be overlooked are investments to date in digital label printing systems; the web width of these assets can influence flexo press widths. Be it flexo or a more recent install of digital printing equipment, most label printers will see the majority of their existing fleet of printing presses in the 6.5 -in. to 13-in. web width range. Let’s go back to the question of maintaining a narrow web width when focused on converting pressure sensitive labels. Today the decision comes down to focusing on a 13-in. or 17-in. wide machine—both of which fit my “stay narrower” category, depending on the label printer’s customer requirements. Shorter run lengths is a given, but for some la- bel printers actual label sizes have also increased, so a 17-in. vs. a 13-in. press can make good business sense. On the other hand, a pharmaceu- tical label printer with 500,000 to 1 million label runs may only need a 5,000-ft. roll of pressure sensitive material, given the small sized labels. Many of the old drivers for thinking of a bit wider web press for pres- sure sensitive label projects have been dispelled, thanks to the avail- able technologies and features in new narrow presses (See FLEXO® , Aug. 2014, page 74.). Inefficiencies and quality barriers found in older narrow web label presses (slow run speeds based on drying/curing, print register issues and the justifiable run slower comfort levels of op- erators tending to these older presses) which pointed to going wider in order to get more throughput, don’t make sense today. Another key point to staying with a narrower web width is the wide array of press automation equipment available that allows for non stop press operation. Typically married to an inline 100 percent camera based inspection system, this allows for boxing and shipment of labels off the end of the press. A 13-in. automated press can outperform a wider 17-in. press while keeping all associated job costs at a lower level. Today’s narrow web press, available in up to 10 colors, sees a 14-in. web width with repeat range of 6-in. to 18-in. and speeds of 15 fpm to 500 fpm. Photos courtesy of MPS SEPTEMBER 2014 | FLEXO 37