Home' FLEXO Magazine : January 2015 Contents ening. Which product should you
invest in? Do you go “all in” or just
get your feet wet?
A traditional print job heads to a
specific press and/or operator. The
variables are many for production
planning. With that in mind, the
customer requirements will steer
the converter toward either toner or
inkjet imaging technology, based on
applications paired to feature sets of
the manufacturer. The overall cost of
ownership will vary. There are price points to satisfy any budget in both
technologies, offering tremendous scalability. The learning curve and
adoption have the same impact to both large and small companies.
It’s also worth pointing out that it’s not a question of evaluating the
pros and cons of one technology over the other. You should consider
what the application requires and the cost to achieve your goals. We
will see different technologies providing finished products right inline
with the analog presses.
COST OF OWNERSHIP
Capacity requirements or the speed of the press will influence the
purchase. In other words, what is the crossover point to push jobs
towards an analog or digital press? Common sense applies—It isn’t
logical to print 200 labels on a $700,000 inkjet or toner press or run
80,000 labels on a 16 fpm or entry level press. Inkjet will typically
have a faster run rate over toner, yet it is also liquid passing through
print heads with incredibly small nozzles. Resolution or image detail
varies between toner and inkjet technologies, which will influence the
Click charge, or pay as you go, pricing models have to be considered.
Service agreements need to be strongly considered based solely on the
sheer complexity of electronics.
There are plenty of other details to consider:
• Is the ability to lay down white a necessity and if so, in what
order? If 10 percent of jobs require white and that specific feature
comes at a cost, is outsourcing practical?
• Is there a requirement for film printing? This may exclude cer-
tain digital presses
• Do 8.5-in., 10-in., 13-in., 17-in. and 20-in. widths drive the
decision? Ganging runs now becomes very easy. The width also
influences yield or capacity. There is very little—if any—waste
from job to job
• Regarding color, is process enough? Is it process with spot col-
ors? Is expanded gamut being requested?
• Is the type of work primarily beauty products, beverage, pharma-
ceutical/supplements, pouches or line work?
If we are looking at the cost of own-
ership, we should add a dedicated
finisher. For the sake of discussion,
an entry level solution can cost up
to $100,000. If we add benefits and
speed, the combo will likely come in
at between $100,000 and $400,000
for a mid sized solution. With even
more features with integrated offer-
ings, the package will be anywhere
from $500,000 to more than $1
million for a hybrid configuration.
Think of it as good, better, best. But the best doesn’t always translate
into most expensive.
When does it make best sense to make the investment? What’s the
payback? In an earlier article titled “You, Me And CTP” (October 2014),
I noted some of our customers believed they should have invested in
CTP when they first considered it, rather than waiting. I believe the
same holds true with digital printing. We have customers who are
benefitting from simple to sophisticated integrated solutions offered for
digital printing and feel they should have made the move earlier.
FLEXO & DIGITAL, COEXISTING
There will always be the need for traditional presses when quantities or
applications prohibit the use of the digital press. But the allure of free-
dom offered by digital printing is liberating. As long as we have a sub-
strate and a design file, we are printing. Design concerns, makeready,
waste and labor are reduced or eliminated. If we add a DFE and digital
finisher, a converter can accept a job over the Web that gets fed into the
system and within 30 minutes, produce 1,000 labels with 1,000 varia-
tions, finished in a box and ready for shipping.
The customer can then watch this all unfold on a smartphone with a
notice to pick up the job, while the shop owner receives a shipping man-
ifest and a paid invoice, all while the morning’s coffee is still brewing!
When speaking with a recent convert to digital, we presented the
customer with a solution to fit its needs. This customer, for example,
had a 45 SKU monthly project with four days of press time. The plant
added a digital press. The story told today is a bit different: It now
requires six hours to complete the same job, with only 30-ft . of waste.
The company’s labor rate and turnaround time were cut by more than
half. This is the power of digital in our world today. n
About the Author: Lee Zerfass is digital busi-
ness manager for Anderson & Vreeland, Inc. He
manages digital hardware and software solutions
offered by A&V and fosters the expansion of digital
products and services. Lee has more than 20 years
of technical sales experience across various printing
industries with a focus on digital products.
34 FLEXO | JANUARY 2015
“There will always be the need
for traditional presses when
quantities or applications prohibit
the use of the digital press. But
the allure of freedom offered by
digital printing is liberating.
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