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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES absolutely necessary. For example, you can’t run a press without ink or paper, but you can limp by with worn or damaged gears, bearings, idler or plate rolls and similar tooling. From this logic, you would likely conclude that these purchases should be thrown into the “not absolutely necessary” category. Let’s say you spend $1 million each year on substrate and throw 10 percent of it away because of diffi culties matching color or rejected product due to defects from damaged rolls. In this case, spending $20,000 on anilox resurfacing could poten- tially save two to three times as much in the raw material cost for substrate, not to mention ink, electricity, waste hauling and press time. By reducing the variability of the anilox inventory you save money, improve press effi ciency, deliver faster, and with better quality than had you chosen to “save” the money to preserve your bottom line. Ink is no doubt a necessity. Applying a release coating to the ink pans, on the other hand, is something many “just can’t aff ord right now.” What if that release coating could cut down on clean- up time, reduce labor costs by 10 minutes per pan, and allow you to get the presses up and running that much faster? What if it could reduce your consumption of costly cleaning chemicals or solvents, your waste stream and your hazardous waste dis- posal costs? And what if the coating actually reduced your ink consumption? We have seen examples where narrow web presses reduced ink consumption by a pound per changeover because the ink was not sticking to the pan so more was going back for reuse. How many print stations do you have? How many changeovers per day, week, month? How many over the course of a year? Ink is one of your most expensive raw material costs and the cost keeps rising. Maybe increasing the effi ciency with-which we use this raw ma- terial is an endeavor that is absolutely necessary. REDUCING VARIABILITY If your company produces the same product on multiple presses or press platforms, standardization of components between them insures consistency and greatly reduces make- ready time and waste. If a 750 Webtron is running chrome anilox roll-to-roll and your Comco Proglide is running ceramic with blades, it will be very diffi cult to move a job from one to the other without expending a great deal of time and incurring a signifi cant amount of waste. Investing in blades and ceramic A $20,000 anilox resur- facing could potentially save two to three times as much in raw material costs and wasted labor. anilox on the 750 will make the transition much more seamless, saving greatly on ink, substrate material, energy and available press time. Even going between two of the same model press would be simplifi ed by having them set up the same way. The more varia- tion between the way they are set up, the more diffi cult, time con- suming and costly will be the transition. Some of the best investments are those that reduce process variability, making it more predictable and repeatable. They reduce your overall costs by reducing costs for raw materials, energy, labor and waste disposal. By reducing set-up waste, returned goods and defective fi nished product, they help you produce a quality product faster and with less overtime. Less time spent producing scrap means improved production sched- uling and more press-time available for producing acceptable product. Companies all-too-often fall into the trap of diving into the latest quality management concept or philosophy without a full understanding of the commitment required. The training and meetings, SPC charts and graphs, 5S and Kaizan events and ISO