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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques Defining eOL Let me take a moment to define EOL. It’s that uncomfort- able feeling when ordering parts: you are told they are “on back-order,” that there is no inventory, or that they are simply not made anymore. You call for service and the service department was let go last month. Or you request preventive maintenance (PM) on your film-setter, and the maintenance department was sold to a competitor. Slowly, your suppliers dissolve entire support departments and you wonder what’s next? It is most troublesome when your business is seeing explosive growth and you are the person responsible for keeping the lights and automated plate systems on. It is real and we have to navigate, but it’s not the end of the world; to the contrary, it’s a whole new world waiting for an innovator to figure it out. Here is the innovation part. In the corrugated world, many prepress providers are seeing two converging product lines placing unexpected runtime burdens on EOL automation solutions. Many have been caught off guard by the industry ’s appetite for island-plates (I-plates, sometimes known as imposition plates) and thick digital sheet plates. Automatic platemaking was developed in the early days. Global materials company W.R. Grace built semi-automatic and fully automatic systems for newspapers, and Hercules (acquired by Ashland Chemical) offered similar equipment to the news and news flexo applications. They were high speed and produced thin letterpress and newspaper flexo plates about 16in. by 24in. The battle in newspapers was ultimately won by offset. Print quality was among the many driving forces that pushed the letterpress newspaper systems into EOL. But this is not the case in large-format flexo. This enormous segment of flexo is STaTemenT of ownerShip 1. Publication Name: FLEXO Magazine 2. Publication Number: 011-027 3. Filing Date: 10/12/10 4. Issue Frequency: Monthly 5. No. Issues Produced Annually: 12 6. Annual Subscription Rate: $55 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office: FLEXO Magazine/ Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association, 900 Marconi Ave. , Ronkonkoma, NY 11779-7212 . Contact Person: Robert J. Moran. Tel: 631-737-6020 ext. 17 8. Complete Mailing Address of Publisher: FLEXO Magazine/ Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association, 900 Marconi Ave., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779-7212 9. Full Name and Mailing Address of Publisher and Editor: Robert J. Moran, publisher, FLEXO Magazine, 900 Marconi Ave., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779-7212 . Christian R. Bonawandt, editor, FLEXO Magazine, 900 Marconi Ave., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779- 7212 10. Owner: Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association, 900 Marconi Ave. , Ronkonkoma, NY 11779-7212 11. Known Bondholders: None 12. Tax Status: Has not changed during preceding 12 months. 13. Publication Title: FLEXO Magazine 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: September 2010. 15. Average No. copies Each Issue during preceding 12 months / No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: a. Number of copies: 7,294 / 7,300 b1. Mailed outside county paid subscriptions: 4,493 / 4,453 b2. Mailed in county paid subscriptions: 39 / 39 b3. Paid distribution outside the mails: 1,393 / 1,397 b4. Paid distribution by other classes of mail: 0 / 0 c. Total paid distribution: 5,925 / 5,889 d1. Free or nominal rate outside county: 768 / 678 d2. Free or nominal rate in county copies: 5 / 5 d3. Free or nominal rate copies mailed at other classes: 26 / 32 d4. Free or nominal rate distribution outside the mail: 394 / 568 e. Total free or nominal rate distribution: 1,193 / 1,283 f. Total distribution: 7,118 / 7,172 g. Copies not distributed: 176 / 128 h. Total: 7,294 / 7,300 i. Percent Paid: 83.2 / 82.1 16. Publication of Statement of Ownership: October 2010 17. Signature and Title of Publisher: Robert J. Moran, FLEXO Magazine, 10/12/2010 The end is Just the Beginning For large Plates, older equipment is getting new life A LOOk BAck Year after year, photopolymer manufacturing systems have reliably delivered thousands of tons of thick and thin flexographic printing plates since the mid 1970s. It started with Dycril, Cyrel, Merigraph and Letter-Flex, Nyloprint, and a few more. It began with thin, hard plates and morphed into thicker, softer plates. Letterpress evolved to flexo and some just dropped out; it was a remarkable time in our graphics experience. Everybody wanted to automate the complex process, and some did. Years later, flexo made it big, and the “Glory Days” began. For most major vendors, these times were the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. We saw automation peak with systems pushing four to five 52in. by 80in. photopolymer plates through—dry to dry— in just hours. It was significant time. There were issues, but overall the semi-automatic and automatic systems delivered tons of high-quality analog plates. The same systems installed in the late 1990s and early 2000s are still running, day-in and day-out, and they are at or approaching EOL (end of life). What’s old is new again. in the corrugated printing industry, there is a growing marketing for technologies that have almost past their prime. www.flexography.org october 2010 fLeXo 37 PrivateLabelsP r ess B uyer’s G ui de A nilox/ D o ctor B la de S el ecti on Labelexpo P rev ie wAUGUST2010 FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 37 10/15/10 12:31 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010