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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
Technologies & Techniques In this “more perfect” method of designing shrink sleeves, the designer can break out of conventional methods of design- ing panels, almost painting directly onto the shape without limitation. Meanwhile, the brand owner is able to use the full potential of the shrink sleeve, with shorter lead times—due, in part, because he can see a 3D file. The trade shop is now able to work with pre-distortion tools beyond round shapes and offer the 3D visualization services to eliminate the guesswork inher- ent in the current process. However, in order for the process to work, it still needs the collaboration of designers (creativity), converters (feasibility) and the brand owner (integrity). As explained, there is still a decision-making process that needs to happen to determine which elements are most in need of warping. We cannot just grab the entire artwork at once and warp. This will distort the artwork beyond the boundaries of the file, and will not yield a usable result. The new technology was not easy to develop. Virtualiza- tion becomes a much more complex reality, only because so many properties of the real product and packaging are finally being adequately defined. The shape of the virtual container or product must be described. The elasticity and shrink prop- erties of the film must be known, as well as appearance. The effect of graphics on the package—a virtual press—has to be created. And, finally, we need to have the ability to virtually predict the effect of the shrink tunnel. There can be no doubt that designs with asymmetrical shapes and multipacks are growing increasingly popular. The use of shrink sleeves for these packaging types is also increasing. The new shrink sleeve technologies coming to market provide new design capabilities in the creative phase, and avoid errors and job rework caused by unexpected mate- rial behavior in the production phase. Overall, these new tools provide more design capabilities in the creative phase, and avoid errors and job rework caused by unexpected material behavior in the production phase. Design corrections are made a lot faster and rejects are avoided. Seamlessly fitting into existing design and prepress workflows, the tools save hours of operator time and weeks of lead-time in the design process. By streamlining and integrat- ing the design and production processes, all parties in the workflow can anticipate and compensate for the destructive distortions caused by the manufacturing process. The result is higher quality and consistency for shrink label production— expanding its use in the marketplace. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susie Stitzel is EskoArtwork’s solution manager for design lifecycle management, responsible for creating packaging design solutions for consumer product companies and design agencies. Previously, she was product manager for CAD products for EskoArtwork. Stitzel has more than 20 years experience in the prepress, printing, and pack- aging industries. Her roles have covered a wide spectrum of the industry, including management of large digital prepress departments, team leader for worldwide customer support, and training and product management for Contex Prepress Systems, Barco Graphics, and EskoArtwork. She can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com. A more graphic view of the shrinking process. www.flexography.org july 2010 FLeXO 39 FLXO_July10_v2.indd 39 7/16/10 9:37 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010