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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
FTA TODAY PUBLISHER’S INK gimmes vs. gotchas Checklists—these days they apply to everything; even press purchases, rebuilds and retrofi ts. When you think about it, checklists make a great deal of sense. Who wouldn’t endorse a formulaic approach to assessing the situation, applying it to a unique setting, customizing the resulting quotients to your operation, weighing all options and alternatives; then fi nally deciphering and implementing the best course of action? Going one step further, make preparations to measure the results, and you have a real coup de gra. It all starts with the questions, “What exactly do I need?” “Why do I need it?” “How and where do I begin to go about getting it?” Questions, by nature, are simpler to ask than answer. Logical starting points begin with networking. Poll your employees. Collaborate with your customers. Converse with your peers. Enlist the advice of trusted suppliers. Walk the aisles of appropriate industry events and expositions—INFO*FLEX, for example. And, of course, one of my favorites, peruse the archives of FLEXO. You can start by bookmarking this very issue—what we hope will become our fi rst annual Press Buyer’s Guide—on www.fl exomag.com. Equipment is the lifeblood of any manufacturing operation. Printing/converting is no exception. Can you imagine a plant without that familiar, near constant hum of machinery? Activity would be sparse, excitement lacking. Business would be at a standstill. Profi ts would take a bath or beating. The preferred course of action: keep things moving. The goal: deliver more product, achieve higher effi ciencies, improve consistency and print quality, drive profi ts. Essential to the equation: the press, its operators and the performance of both man and machine. Read those words and you’ll immediately conclude that capacities and capabilities are unavoidably linked with comfort zones. Introduction to a new press should, therefore, start as its purchase is being planned. According to expert after expert, quoted on the following pages, that strategy helps to set realistic expectations. Press manufacturers admit that they, as well as their competitors, are known to tout bold new technologies that take innovative approaches to resolving long-standing challenges. They say that they are out to better equip the printer to introduce modern process controls that are designed to alleviate as many variables as possible. Who can argue with that? It’s the prospective buyer’s task—the printer’s—to demand that press makers prove their claims. Don’t be afraid to request trial runs. Insist on using your jobs and your personnel. That advice is rendered by manufacturers, distributors and other market watchers. Most notably, it ranks high among the tips offered by printers skilled in negotiating the art of the deal (the actual purchase and installation of a press—the heart and soul of the business). Everyone we’ve talked to in compiling this guide encourages prospective buyers to defi ne performance levels. Obvious must-haves include: high-speed capabilities, high degrees of automation, rigidity and strength. Size, or footprint is important, as it dictates placement. Confi guration of the machine is critical and must take into account the laws of physics. No surprises on the advice rendered here: Build the press to accommodate the application(s) that you intend to use it for. Spell out the performance criteria. Fingerprint it once it’s installed. With all that a matter of record, advisors contributing to this Press Buyer’s Guide suggest developing a costing model—one based on clear methodology and one that can have matrixes associated with it. Examine throughput, waste, material consumption, cylinder costs, etc. etc. Assign values. Develop a composite score for each unit under consideration. It’s work—a lot of it; but it’s certainly worthwhile. Remember, making a smart buy just might be the best way to keep those goals-namely better speed and improved quality of output— within reach. BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE FLEXOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL ASSOCIATION Roxanne Baker, Cryovac Sealed Air Mark Cisternino, Flexographic Technical Association Larry Claton, Aquafl ex Greg Collins, C-P Flexible Packaging Michael Ferrari, Procter & Gamble Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging Michael Impastato, Flint Group Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Eric Jones, The Label Company Gene Martin, The Robinette Co. Matt Moffett, The Meyers Printing Co. James Nelson, Great Lakes Packaging Corp. David R. Nieman, All Printing Resources Greg Platt, GMF Flexo Prepress David Straten, Advance Packaging Corp. Michael Reinhardt, Windmoeller & Hoelscher BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE FOUNDATION OF FLEXOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL ASSOCIATION Roxanne Baker, Cryovac Sealed Air Mark Cisternino, Flexographic Technical Association Larry Claton, Aquafl ex Greg Collins, C-P Flexible Packaging Michael Ferrari, Procter & Gamble Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging Michael Impastato, Flint Group Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Eric Jones, The Label Company Gene Martin, The Robinette Co. Matt Moffett, The Meyers Printing Co. James Nelson, Great Lakes Packaging Corp. David R. Nieman, All Printing Resources Greg Platt, GMF Flexo Prepress David Straten, Advance Packaging Corp. Michael Reinhardt, Windmoeller & Hoelscher PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Mark Cisternino EDITORIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE Richard Cervarich, DuPont Packaging Graphics Catherine Haynes, All Printing Resources Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Brad Keys, Corporate Express John Meyer, Western Michigan University Dave Nunez, International Paper John Paine, C-P Flexible Packaging Paul Wilson, Encore Washington Ltd. 1 2 F LEXO Augus t 20 0 9 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g