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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques Real Cost Reduction in Printing Prepress imaging and Platemaking Choices Hold the Key By Paul lancelle This past May, FFTA Forum 2010 provided attendees with a very informative and engaging session entitled, “F lexo’s Competitive Advantage.” One of the primary points conveyed during the presentation was that the ongo- ing reduction of costs in the reproduction process is a critical factor in allowing flexo to continue to gain and maintain a competitive advantage over competing print processes. Where the presenters fell somewhat short, however, was in demonstrating actual evidence of current technological com- ponents that can result in the reduction of these variable costs in the printing process. For the purpose of this article, let’s define variable costs in general business terms as costs that change directly with the amount of production: for example, the direct materials or direct labor needed to manufacture a product. By compari- son, fixed costs are defined as those that remain constant regardless of sales volume. Relating those definitions to the flexographic reproduction process, it is easy to identify some of the leading variable manufacturing costs being related to ink, substrate, printing plates, mounting tape and, of course, labor. The good news is that technologies do indeed exist to- day that have been proven to provide a significant impact on The Right Plate Choice Should Facilitate: • Upward of 30 percent savings in prepress labor cost. • 15 to 30 percent average reduction in makeready time and materials. • Two to five times plate life and less plate remakes compared to traditional digital plates • Average 10 percent faster run speeds. • Reduction in the number of colors and printing units required per job—often reducing the previous require- ment for seven or eight colors down to four to six. 1:1:1 imaging from digital file to plate with square laser imaging. All art courtesy eastman Kodak Co. 14 FLeXO oCtoBer 2010 www.flexography.org FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 14 10/15/10 9:27 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010