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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES that you have realistic expectations that are achievable. Believe it or not some printers think it is possible to have one wide web press do a great job printing on a thin gauge PE fi lm substrate and later perform just as well with a heavy gauge paperboard. That is like asking engineers to put together a vehicle that can win the Indianapolis 500 and then take fi rst in a monster truck event. It is not a realistic expectation. Compromises will need to be made to enable both materials to run. Those compromises will insure that neither substrate will be able to run competitively insuring that you will not be successful in either market, as you would not be successful on either race track. • Defi ne the performance level that will enable you to achieve the success you want in each of the market areas that you wish to address. The higher the level of performance the greater the investment required to achieve that performance level, however the higher the performance level the greater the return there is on that investment. The press selection process works best when a printer brings this specifi c information to the manufacturer. This lets the supplier propose a system that precisely matches the customer’s requirements, but does not exceed them or oversell unnecessary capabilities. In short, when working with an established press builder, the more focused the printer’s objective, the better the chances are that the press can be focused to meet those objectives. It is a common practice for the printer to be familiar with its needs, markets, desired performance and consequently defi ne an equipment specifi cation that it feels will achieve its desired performance levels. In other words, printers defi ne the equipment. This leads to a whole range of assumptions on the part of everyone involved that will virtually ensure that there are problems in the process. As a printer, don’t defi ne the equipment; defi ne the performance that will provide you with what you want. Don’t say, “I want a fast changeover press.” Instead, say, “80 percent of the jobs we run are less than 10,000ft. of material, and our typical changeover time on a new press needs to be 30 minutes or less.” Selecting the proper web width is another area where serious mistakes can be made if a clear understanding of the different market requirements are either not known, or are too divergent. If the average web width for existing markets is 40in. with a small repeat and these are short-run jobs, and a new market that you plan to go after with business for this same press has an average web width of 60in. and a large repeat, then it might be wise not to put this same business on one press. A wider press is subject to greater defl ection simply because it is wider, and if you plan to run 80 percent of your small repeat work at 40in. widths on this wide press, this 80 percent will be subject to defl ection, bounce and other issues that are all just plain part of the laws of physics, and you will not be competitive. With web width selection there is an easy answer: a fl exo press web width needs to be as wide as needed to cover what the press will do and not one inch wider. It might be tempting to go wider than needed with the idea that it will increase the press versatility, enabling it to print as yet unforeseen prod- Expert + Supplier Sleeves and Rotary Screen + + + Rotary Screen Integration Units (RSI's): A complete portfolio of rotary screen print units with up to 36" width and 28" repeat. Ultimate quality results with our unique screen material for our rotary screen units or other rotary screen heads already on the market. RotaMesh® & RotaPlate®. Sleeves: A complete portfolio of sleeves for both flexo and gravure applications. Seamless OptiFlex® ITR blanks. Custom and specialty applications. STORK PRINTS AMERICA, INC 3201 ROTARY DRIVE CHARLOTTE, NC 28269 – USA P 704.598.7171 + F 704.596.0858 firstname.lastname@example.org www.storkprints.com storkprints Find more at www.flexography.org AUGUST 2009 FLEXO 87