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FLEXO Magazine : August 2010
Technologies & Techniques justing arm design has been replaced by exclusive roll ends which are contained within the plate cylinder assembly. To set the gross impression position, the operator simply lowers the plate cylinder into the station and locks it in place. The unique geometry of the plate cylinder/print station design automati- cally places the cylinder in the correct position. If the previous job utilized the same substrate, then little to no impression adjustment will have to be made—even if the repeat size is different. This again is made possible by the advanced design of the print station. The elimination of large impression adjustments saves significant time. Plus, the impression setting is equipped with a reference point that can be documented and used to quickly set up the job the next time it is run. See the above tables demonstrating how these critical press upgrades have significantly improved setup time for in- line flexo presses. Assuming these setup times for a standard four-color job and adding in time to set registration at each station, the total time saved for job setup is more than 70 per- cent over conventional press technology! Benefits of new Press technology We have illustrated how the improvements in print station design have contributed to significant savings in setup time. Additional benefits as a result of these new designs include improved ease of use, and more consistent quality. And while all of these items are impor- tant, the question at the top of everyone’s mind is: How does this impact my bottom line? One minute saved in setup per station can have a significant impact on avail- able capacity. By saving only one minute per print station, capacity can be increased by 5 to 10 percent annually. This additional capacity can be used to increase sales revenues and bottom line earnings. The simplicity of the design can also translate to a reduc- tion in training and labor costs. Every plant has a couple of experienced operators who can produce high quality work in short time. However, with the shrinking labor pool of expe- rienced operators, most converters are faced with utilizing less skilled operators to staff many presses across shifts. The simplicity of new press designs allow less skilled operators to produce at levels close to those of the more experienced operators. Material waste is impacted as well. The speed at which impression and registration are set allows operators to reach saleable product with much less material. Reduction in mate- rial waste is further enhanced by the simplicity of design; each operator can set up a job with similar amounts of low waste. These advanced designs can reduce setup waste by 50 percent or more. Faster changeovers enable more cost effective short run work. All markets are reporting decreasing lot sizes. This is caused by several factors including more specialized promo- tions, regionalized packaging, and implementation of lean principles at end customers to drive down inventories. Shorter changeovers enable flexo to be a competitive solution for shorter run lengths—if all factors are optimized, run lengths as short as 800ft. can be economical with flexo. Advances in new press technology press designs deliver tangible bottom line benefits to the converter. Labor savings, waste savings, and improved quality are all a direct result of these designs. Short runs have become much more economi- cal on flexo as a result. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff Feltz has been with Mark Andy for more than 10 years, serving as director of product manage- ment for the past three. He is responsible for managing the company ’s portfolio of leading brands including Comco, Mark Andy, Rotoflex and UVT. His responsibilities include identifying and evaluating converter and market needs and uncovering trends to ensure the product lines are designed and executed to meet the ever-changing requirements of various industry segments. taBle ii: setuP time comParison for a standard four-color joB Conventional Press Technology New Press Technology Time per print station Time to complete Time per station Time to complete Set impression: Stations No.1 -No.4 02:35 (x4) 10:20 00:31 02:04 Set registration: Stations No.2 -No.4 00:60 (x3) 03:00 00:25 01:15 Total Setup Time 13:20 03:19 taBle i: setuP time comParison for a single Print station Load ink pan and meter roll Load anilox roll Load doctor blade Set all ink adjustments (doctor blade, anilox to plate, meter roll to anilox) Load plate cylinder and set rough impression adjustment position Set fine impression Total Conventional Press Technology Time Per Step 00:23 00:18 00:15 00:31 00:43 00:25 02:35 Accumulate Time 00:23 00:41 00:56 01:27 02:10 02:35 New Press Technology Time Per Step 00:06 00:05 00:05 00:03 00:06 00:06 00:31 Accumulated Time 00:06 00:11 00:16 00:19 00:25 00:31 www.flexography.org august 2010 FLeXO 71 August2010_mech.indd 71 8/13/10 7:46 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010