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FLEXO Magazine : January 2010
38 FLEXO JANUARY 2010 www.flexography.org • New-found confidence in the market has provided equipment manufacturers opportunities not only with existing shrink sleeve converters but new companies wanting to enter into the market. • Converters require the ability to ship finished product right off the seamer, thus improving efficiency and lowering cost. • New software allows a converter to import a CAD drawing of a flat bottle or create a new container object in Illustrator, remove any non-container silhou- ette detail and import it into the program to create a 3D model. • Many converters are turning to service bureaus to provide the same level of service but at a lower cost. FLEXIBLE PACKAGING Shrink on the Rise Advancements in Technology Make it More Accessible for Entry By Ron Ryback The overall economic situation has taken a toll through- out the label industry and shrink sleeves have not gone unscathed. To a majority of converters, this was a time to reflect their position in the shrink market and to formulate a plan that would strengthen their organization when the economy rebounded. To lessen the impact of this recession, converting organizations took the initiative to tighten their belts by reducing raw material inventories, improving efficien- cies in their manufacturing processes, and strengthen their market position through improvements to converting and ancillary manufacturing equipment. After everyone was anticipating a soft first quarter for the year, converters were surprised to see a huge surge in the market beginning Spring 2009. Almost overnight, new projects that were in a holding pattern came alive and orders began to flow back into the market faster than raw material manufactur- ers could fill the pipeline thus creating exceptionally long lead times for PVC films. Since today the majority of shrink sleeves are still manufactured using PVC, once again things become interesting due to a limited supply of raw material. Converters working with their customers became more active testing other shrinkable substrates that can be used in place of PVC. To overcome the cost difference from PVC to PETG, converters began to down gauge from 50 micron PETG to 40 or 45 micron in an attempt to get the msi price closer to PVC. Down gauging has its advantages in creating a lower msi price, but if the converter is not careful and does not adjust his manufacturing processes for the thinner gauge material, higher scrap rates can consume any cost savings in raw material price. NON-STOP ACTION New-found confidence in the market has provided equip- ment manufacturers opportunities not only with existing shrink sleeve converters but new companies wanting to enter into the market. With this resurgence in the market, converters once again began keeping a sharper eye for new equip- ment purchases that can improve their quality and increase throughput by reducing manufacturing time and cost. I spoke with Raul Matos, vice president of Karlville Develop- ment, regarding the past year's economic situation and what equipment trends he observed by converters. Matos stated, "The past year has been challenging to Karlville but we have emerged stronger than ever. The feedback from convert- ers within the industry has been the key for our new product development and implementation." Matos indicated that customers need high-speed, top-quality, non-stop machines, and that Karlville has stepped up to meet that need. Convert- ers, he stated, require the ability to ship finished product right off the seamer, thus improving efficiency and lowering cost. "Implementation of real time quality packages allows convert- ers to monitor solvent flow, continuous lay flat monitoring and recording, splice detection and automatic defect flagging. Low-cost seamers are making it easier to invest in shrink sleeve technology. All art courtesy Ryback & Ryback. TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES
Sustainable EOY 2009