by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
FLEXO Magazine : January 2011
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Folding cartons and corrugated segments will be most af- fected by reductions in packaging materials and sizes of the packages. For example, the move from full-boxes to plastic wrapped trays will reduce the amount of corrugated used. Flexible packaging will move to thinner materials. Label use will be negatively impacted as rigid containers convert to flexible packaging. Various scenarios can play into the future of packaging. Both FTA and PRIMIR believe that the most likely of those is the “extreme retailer influence.” In essence, it is likely that chain stores will take advantage of their size and buying power to keep costs at the lowest possible level. PRIMIR says, “T he best for the least” philosophy pits Wal-Mart, Target, ma- jor grocery chains and national retailers such as Big Lots and Dollar General against one another. In the battle for market share, graphic packaging and innovative structures will be the primary weapons. This could result in: • Frequent graphic changes • A proliferation of SKUs • Greatly expanded private labels • Best practices in printing required across the board • Better graphics and print quality in all sectors From FTA’s perspective, the drive for private label branding, and the increase in SKUs, will mean more test marketing— giving those who specialize in short-run, sample packaging a step up in the market. Printers/converters with the best processes, best equipment, best-trained employees and best supplier network will prevail. Automation will be required to stay competitive and ensure innovations in quality, as well as fast turnaround and consistent short-runs. Bold statements, bright colors and daring designs... FTA notes that consumers gravitate toward and are excited by them. Too little surprise, this trend is continuing to set off quite a chain reaction in the print/packaging world. Today: • Consumer product companies (CPCs), enthralled by complex colors/graphics, insist on their use. • Retailers attest to their impact on sales. • Graphic artists/package designers have been known to salivate over them. • Printing press manufacturers are adding color decks to model after model. • Printers/converters admit to having lost quite a bit of sleep over matching proof to press. FTA members long ago—10+ years—set their sights on overcoming the challenges that bold, bright package require- ments can present. They took to managing color to optimize results and achieve high quality and consistent reproductions from one run to the next. Several of these forward-thinkers partnered with FTA in the development and implementation of Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Toler- ances (FIRST). A decade later, their collective focus remains “how to print,” Profiles are called for; fingerprints requested. Buzz- words, namely “Brand Stewards” and “Brand Color Manage- ment,” are voiced repeatedly. A willingness to communicate, coordinate and cooperate is being expressed. Statistical process control is seen as absolutely critical. The battle cry: “Get things right the first time!” Five top priorities set for the association by its members, list out as follows: printing specifications, operational improve- ments, prepress advancements, training, science behind the process. CPCs most often cite their major needs as: scale and speed, global distribution and material and technology range. Most CPCs tell FTA that they are out to “stay the course.” New designs, quality management and color control, it seems are on everyone’s agenda. New software packages and workflow platforms are being tested. The push is on to establish com- mon ground and universal language among CPC, prepress provider, designer, printer and every other player in the pack- age development chain. CPCs expect consistency and demand print capability that aligns with brand design direction. Premedia—FTA’s new name for prepress--is often seen as the point of project management. One of the world’s largest and most prominent manufacturers does not hesitate to go on record. “ We expect rigorous process control moves to be in place. Colors must match across all suppliers and all substrates. Dot area, delta E and registration are key measures in our evaluation.” Designers chime in and offer thoughts on spot color strate- gies and trends. Common, current-day moves, focus on: minimizing print colors, using expanded color gamut (ECG) printing to achieve larger color palettes, and employing spot colors to maintain consistent brand equity. A call is being sounded to work collaboratively toward cre- ating a standard, true contract proof that includes spot color beyond a mere FPO (for position only) designation. Technical experts now maintain, “The key in using spectral data in the graphic arts is to make sure to include all the variables. One method to utilize is CxF (color exchange format). It represents seamless, worldwide digital communication of all commer- cially significant aspects of color.” Printers are expected to, “Set challenging annual goals that focus on driving out variation and losses. ” One rule applies to every situation, “No surprises—ever!” FTA mem- bers admit that “Tomorrow ’s flexo industry will have unique demands,” Ahead: shorter runs, shorter lead times, offset quality, zero defects, added value, competing technologies, efficiencies and productivity. Printers must keep pace with advances in flexo practices and technology, while demon- strating continuous, measurable improvement. Motivational addresses now delivered at association meetings and events, often contains instructions like, “Audit.” “Analyze.” “Adjust.” “ Optimize processes.” “Document out- Perhaps flexography’s greatest advantage is that it can be used on a wide variety of packaging substrates. Photo: A&P. 18 FLEXO JANUARY 2011 www.flexography.org
Sustainable Winter 2011