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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Technologies & Techniques ent types of orange juice—some pulp, a lot of pulp, with or without calcium, etc. There’s also language variation. Toronto is far more diverse than some of us in the U.S . realize. And we all know the U.S . is going down that route as well. There is also a growing impor- tance of inventory management, whereby companies do not want to maintain large inventories, yet must have necessary product quantities available at a moment’s notice. All of that means shorter make readies, less platemaking and more efficiency. This has already happened in commer- cial and label industries. But, packaging has struggled with this, largely due to the variety of substrates and the number of colors typically needed for a job, as well as brand colors and low migration inks for food package printing. Just the Beginning Modular hybrid inkjet printing is no longer in its infancy. The highest speeds possible are up to 13,013sq.ft an hour, or 105 linear feet per minute (fpm), depending on ink density, but 80fpm is more common. Another drawback is the cost of the inks, which are somewhat more expensive than most flexo inks. At the same time, plates are not required, along with other savings, so the technology is competitive for many applications and scenarios. So while this is certainly a game-changing innovation, people are not about to start throwing out their flexo presses. Modular hybrid inkjet technology is starting out disruptive, but is ultimately an augmenting technology. As is often seen in la- bel printing, customers who adopt this technology are adding it to their arsenal of existing press technologies. It can and will co-exist with flexo and other print processes. In the future, the true convergence will take place as modu- lar hybrid inkjet technology becomes faster and adopts wider web widths. Inkjet itself is still in its beginning phase. But opportunities have opened up with security inks, varnishes, digital metallic inks, and more. n ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Kristof Dekeukelaere has been with Agfa Graphics for more than 14 years. During this time, he held several positions in the Digital Printing Department at Agfa headquarters in Belgium. After having headed the world wide inkjet service department, Dekeukelaere moved to New Jersey in mid-2007 to further expand Agfa’s industrial inkjet printing solutions in North America. Dekeukelaere heads up the sales department for the :Dotrix Modular in North America. He has been a member in many discussion panels on innovation in packaging through digital printing. Sheila Nysko has been in the graphics arts industry for more than 22 years. During this time, she’s held a variety of positions with Agfa Graphics including training manager, sales manager, product marketing manager, and director of business development. Nysko is currently responsible for Dotrix business development, North America. www.flexography.org september 2010 FLeXO 75 FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 75 8/31/10 5:42 PM