Home' FLEXO Magazine : November 2014 Contents 40 FLEXO | NOVEMBER 2014
This level of automation produces repeatable and consistent print
performance, greatly reducing human factors. The combination of
machine operation and process control provides the ideal lean envi-
ronment for maximum production throughput.
TRANSFERRING THE GAMUT
The inking systems on the latest narrow web press offerings have
also taken the next step in performance, ease of use and increased
productivity. In the wide web environment, enclosed chambers are a
way of life. Enclosed chambers offer a single inking component that
foster quick change abilities with a higher control of ink transfer, color
consistency and chemistry control. You would never in a million
years offer an open pan system to a wide web converter. So, it’s only
fair to compare that, today, there are hybrid solutions available for the
narrow web converter.
Now there are innovative solutions that offer single component inking
systems where the ink reservoir and doctor blade are in one process.
This will streamline makereadies, as there is now only one component
to prepare and clean instead of a multi piece assembly of ink pans,
submerged doctor rolls, a separate doctor blade holder and wipers.
These enclosed systems hold the highest level of color consistency
throughout the speed range, as proven in the wide web environment,
where speeds exceed 2,000 fpm.
We can have this higher level of color consistency and a more efficient
on press process, so our color management of the expanded gamut
fixed color set of inks will be more manageable. Since we are now
running a fixed color ink set, the makeready times and color changes
required for the expanded gamut process will be greatly reduced.
Think of the savings in ink, consumables, manpower and machine
downtime from running this process efficiently. Think of the substrate
savings from not needing to color match spot colors on press.
Ask yourself the question: “Would I rather commit to managing these
seven colors or continue to manage the hundreds of gallons of ink on
my work off shelf ?” I will take seven over 100 any day of the week.
Even though it may seem like a lot of work, the benefits greatly out-
weigh the effort involved. There are several reasons that narrow web
printers should consider the expanded gamut process:
• Reduced ink inventory
• Seven ink colors versus hundreds
• Reduced anilox roll inventory
• Reduced wash ups
• Faster job changeovers
• Only change plates because the seven inks stay in press from job
• Print by numbers utilizing FIRST methodology
• Less down time and substrate waste because no need to match
color on press
EG allows the printer to be able to print close to 85 percent of PMS spot
colors within a ΔE of 2—all from only seven colors. This gives flexog-
raphic printing a greater competitive edge against digital printing.
The expanded gamut printing process has tremendous advantages for
those who are taught to work by the numbers. As a FTA FIRST Im-
plementation Specialist can tell you [Ed. Note: Paul is one], employing
the expanded gamut process on an automated machine and utilizing
the FIRST methodology will insure its success. Press offerings of
today, with job save and recall, automated plate positioning and more
efficient inking systems, will allow the expanded gamut process to
flourish in narrow web. Combined with the proper methodology of
the flexographic process, it will yield enormous advantages for those
who embrace and educate themselves on the entire process.
The narrow web converter now has a direct flexographic solution to
the digital challenge, where we will more than compete and offer a
total printing and converting solution inline. ■
About the Authors: Chris Baldwin has been in the
packaging industry for more than 27 years. Starting
out as a printer in a label shop before moving over to
flexo press manufacturing, Baldwin has held numer-
ous key positions, including R&D manager, print
trainer and capital equipment sales. Baldwin is currently technology
center manager for Nilpeter North America.
Paul Teachout has been in the packaging industry
for more than 30 years. Starting out in offset, he
moved to flexo press manufacturing with Webtron/
Aquaflex in 1986. Teachout has held numerous key
positions including printing management, appli-
cation specialists, sales support, engineering support, marketing and
product development manager.
From March 2008 through March 2014 he supported Harper Corpora-
tion of America as technical OEM accounts manager, handling all wide
web and narrow web accounts. Teachout currently holds the position of
vice president of sales and marketing for Nilpeter North America. He is
also active on numerous industry committees, is an FTA FIRST Imple-
mentation Specialist and was honored with the 2014 FTA President’s
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