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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Industry Indicators • Fourth: The rise of private labels, It’s happening across the world, with value and premium entries everywhere. Packaging on the value end is simple, yet basic; on the high end, it entails extreme graphics and cutting-edge features. • Fifth: Digital print acceptance is on the rise. There are some 1,400 digital label presses installed today. Known manufacturers number 39, 31 of whom exhibited at Labelexpo 2010. Forecasts point to continued growth; but traditional flexo press manufacturers are battling back emphasizing short runs, quick set-up, high definition formats, etc. • Sixth: The environment—sustainability is the buzz. Con- verters are being pressed to “lose the liners.” Solutions are changing. Fairley pointed out that, “This industry today converts 42 billion square meters in label stock annually and accounts for 1/6 the size of the packaging market. Label converter sales equate to $73 billion annually. There are 15,000+ label converters worldwide.” Over the last three decades, average annual growth has ranged between 3 percent and 4 percent. The U.S . and Europe have experienced a stagnant cycle in the past few years, but double digit growth has been turned in by developing countries, particularly China and India. Talk on the show floor extended beyond labels—into flex- ible packaging, narrow web folding carton, user friendliness, quality control, proofing and prototyping; and the integration of processes, machines and departments. One exhibitor re- marked, “Everything is designed for the converter! Our vision and inspiration is to deliver the best possible solutions...One highlight this year—short-run labels, it’s not about digital... New, in-line flexo technology drastically impacts true profit- ability for short run labels. ” Seconding the notion, other manufacturers pointed to the elimination of more and more press settings, thanks to incor- poration of features like fully automatic job memory and data capture, 100 percent print fault detection, stable web trans- port systems, servo motors, etc. The multi-fold mission, embraced by all: 1. Standardize and optimize. 2. Avoid waste at any cost. 3. Achieve more with less. 4. Combine desired print effects into one label, produced in one pass. 5. Deploy common technologies, but differentiate yourself in their application. 6. Be a friend to the environment 7. Automate to the greatest extent possible. 8. Focus on ease of use and quality service guarantees. 9. Transform the industry, again and again. Among the technical sessions, long-time staple at FTA events, Mark Samworth of EskoArtwork, spoke on a subject that should be familiar to most flexographers: expanded gam- ut printing. He noted that printed packaging started in the supermarket when consumers started buying products off the shelf. When asked, “Why print with seven or more colors?”, Samworth’s answer was simple: quality and economics. Samworth estimated savings in the ballpark of $1 million per year, based on results seen in wide web markets with SKU ganging. He repeated the mantra that, “People need a reference to rank color,” but insisted the same is not true of photographs. Color perceptions depend on context, he claimed. “People tend to want to increase chroma,” Sam- worth told Labelexpo attendees. This, he said, is part of what makes HD TVs HD—the max out chroma. But, it isn’t as simple as putting red and green inks in your print decks. He brought up the well-known example of select- ed gamut expansion to avoid funky fleshtones. Jay Sperry of Clemson University followed Samworth with similar cautions. He warned the audience that tight register— to the tune of .0 05in. —was imperative for success in expanded gamut print- ing. Sperry also insisted that minimum line screens of133lpi www.flexography.org october 2010 FLEXO 57 FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 57 10/15/10 12:32 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010