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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES PRESS BUYER’S GUIDE The Right Narrow Web Press Purchase By Mary Sullivan A printing and converting operation is similar to many other manufacturing style business models. Capital equipment is one of the key foundations to a successfully run business and many considerations must be taken before making a fi nal purchase. Firstly, establish your short- and long-term objectives. This includes the background and foundation of where current revenue is generated and where future revenue opportunities lie. Establish fi nancial goals to justify the equipment intended to be purchased. • In which applications does your business excel currently? Be aware of both historical successes and failures. • Are those applications and markets growing or declining? • What new opportunities and growth patterns do you see? • Develop realistic sales and revenue goals based on customers, applications and market segments. After you have completed a full review of your operation and are comfortable with your future goals and objectives, it is time to dig into that major purchase that will drive you to those desired results. Equipment is the heart of the operation - the one thing that really delivers what you sell. There are many considerations to buying the piece of equipment that suits your business to a “T.” To start, address these three main areas: performance criteria, application criteria and machine confi guration. PERFORMANCE CRITERIA Complete a specifi cation list for your targeted application(s). Top of mind should be performance attributes. This is where a converter will be able to deliver more product, achieve higher effi ciencies and drive profi ts. Speed is not necessarily the most important factor in achieving higher throughput and more jobs delivered every shift. Much more goes into a true money making machine. The ideal press for your business is based on a few key attributes which, when implemented effectively, will deliver consistency and profi ts. Establish your performance needs for each of the following: Reducing waste. Material is the largest ongoing printing expense. Reducing and eliminating the waste generated by machine set-up and changeover have an enormous impact to profi tability. Effi cient presses can achieve: • 50 percent decrease in waste. • The ideal press for your business is based on a few key attributes which, when implemented effectively, will deliver consistency and profi ts. • New opportunities for revenue and success actually come along quite often if you’re watching for them. • When developing a budget, make sure every aspect is covered, from purchase of the equipment itself all the way through installation and training. 38 FLEXO AUGUST • 20 percent shorter web paths—less material in the press means less waste. • Complete press set-up in one press length or less. • Job changeover with no material waste. • Elimination of resetting impression following job changes on same substrates. • Intelligent auto registration. Faster Changeovers. The proliferation of short-run requirements are driving the need for converters to be more responsive and fl exible, changing jobs more quickly than ever before. These smaller print quantities are resulting in increased competition from digital printers. The narrow-web converter’s adaptation to these shorter runs and associated improvement in standard job work fl ow can be achieved by installation of a new press. To effectively transform your operation, the next evolution of standard equipment can offer: • Reduction in on-press changeover times by 50 percent or more. • Complete station set-up in less than one minute. • Elimination of inking system adjustments. • Repeat size changes without adjustment. • Impression setting change within seconds of substrate change. Ease of Operation. Finding and keeping good and consistent operators is a challenge in today’s marketplace. Ensuring every shift in an operation can produce the same high-quality work for 100 percent deliverables to every order means less returns and more profi ts. Simple, repeatable functions combined with intelligent control systems can bring a high level of consistency and quality to an operation. Consistency can be achieved by: • Elimination of set-up and operational steps, letting the operator focus on the key aspects that should be managed. • Minimization of adjustments and job intervention. • Repeatable settings and reference points. • Simple controls. Expandability. New opportunities for revenue and success actually come along quite often if you’re watching for them. With the right basic features on a machine, expanding capabilities and enhancing effi ciencies become as easy as a job change. Look for these attributes in your next press: • Wide application range. • Wide substrate range—thin fi lm to light carton. • Full fi lm capability—shrink, unsupported fi lms, pouches, etc. • Cassette options for screen, hot foil, cold foil. • Dual web path. • Driven chill systems for thin fi lm and heat sensitive materials. Print Quality Management. Print quality of fl exo is easily compared to offset these days as new presses are developed. Consistency and repeatability are key to print quality. A ma- 2009 www.flexography.org