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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES chine that performs at the highest print quality standards has the following attributes: • Fewer gears and moving parts, reducing print variances. • Repeatable settings for consistency between shifts and operators. • Phenomenal registration performance. • Intelligent auto register system. • Repeatable quality performance between operators and shifts. Flexibility. When it comes to growth, responding quickly to customer demands and meeting new opportunities, fl exible and nimble machine designs are going to prove themselves as winners in the long run. Converters should always consider the most fl exible in press designs so they have options in the future. Flexibility that really impacts a converter can be found in equipment that: • Easily confi gures to add print stations, value-add components, etc. • Accommodates all drying and curing options including hot air, UV and UV chill. • Expands to integrate additional processes including cold foil, inkjet, turn bars, nips, laminations, etc. Environmental Friendliness. In recent years, being “green” has become a part of our culture, businesses and way of life. Converters need to fi nd equipment that lives up to today’s environmental requirements, especially as governments and customers continue to demand it. Seek out machines that reduce material waste as less material consumption means less disposable waste leaving the plant and going into landfi lls. APPLICATION CRITERIA Now that you have standard functionality covered, it is necessary to look at application requirements. A complete analysis of these requirements will allow you to confi gure a machine specifi c to your current and future needs. The list of criteria are important to the machine builder, as it drives everything they do on their production fl oor to meet the demands a converter intends to place on the press. There are many press suppliers in the industry so it is important to choose one with experience. Companies like Mark Andy Inc. who have been in the industry for more than 60 years have seen an enormous number of press applications pass through their doors. It is important for the converter to partner with a trusted supplier, discussing all of the application criteria they intend to run, and relying on the manufacturer to help guide them into these new processes. With a history of designing and building thousands of machines, that experience can really pay off by reducing the converter’s learning curve on new applications. Before you speak to the machine builders, here is a checklist of items to be considered: • Substrate requirements. List as many substrates you know will be run, including: Type (fi lm, tag, foil, aluminum, label, carton, specialty). Color (clear, white, etc.) Size (thickness and extensibility). Manufacturers (if known). • Run lengths. Consider all opportunities and projects. • Label or image area sizes. • Number of colors. Nost narrow web machines can print 15 colors easily. • Decorative attributes. Whether they are needed now or as ideal future add-ons, these valuable tools can open new doors, add value and deliver higher, more consistent quality. Some examples include: Web treaters and cleaners. Rotary screen. Turn bars. Nip rollers. Laminators. Unwinds/rewinds (turret, multiple, etc.). Cold foil. Hot foil. RFID/printed electronics. Inkjet. Heavy coats/laydowns. Die cutting, slitting, rewinding. Multiple web paths/layers married together. Booklets/coupons. Tickets. Other/specialty. An open frame like that on the Mark Andy Performance Series, allows for future expansion and added capabilities. All art courtesy Mark Andy Inc. 42 FLEXO AUGUST 2009 www.flexography.org