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FLEXO Magazine : July 2007
product trend report 1 6 F L e X o J U LY 2 0 0 7 w w w . f l e x o g r a p h y . o r g What can flexo printing provide? Put the question to Paul Brauss, president of Mark Andy Inc. and he’ll cite several at- tributes: competitive speed, considerable flexibility and quality results that are on par with other major print processes. He’s quick to label flexo as “a low-cost solution for package print- ing, as well as an environmentally friendly process that offers greater economy for short runs.” That’s the message Brauss delivered to James H. Lambright, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. government’s official export credit agency and a contingent of its financial service sector advisors, who visited Mark Andy headquarters, May 8, to learn more about the package printing and converting industry and flexo’s niche in it. Brauss indicated that flexo’s benefits include in-line back- side printing, in-line coating, hot stamping, cold stamping, embossing, laminating, variable data printing and radio frequency identification inlay placement. He also noted that package printing is broken into three primary market op- portunities for flexo: labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons. Business Breakdown Food products account for 38 percent of decorative packag- ing, Brauss explained. Market share of other consumer goods segments have been reported at 25 percent for household goods, 13 percent for beverages, 9 percent for pharmaceuticals and health and beauty products, and 15 percent for industrial items. Narrow-web printers/converters number approximately 12,000 worldwide, Brauss said. A large portion of those are small entrepreneurial suppliers with regional relationships and specific product niches, but some can be described as large suppliers to multi-national corporations. Geographically speaking, Brauss claimed that Western Europe is responsible for 35 percent of flexographic narrow- web equipment orders. It is followed by North America at 21 percent, with Eastern Europe and Russia at 17 percent, Asia at 10 percent and all other areas collectively responsible for the final 17 percent. Trends & Technology “Flexo technology is pushing the levels of quality and total applied cost,” according to Brauss. “It continues to expand its volume and encroach on other printing processes—off- set, gravure and at times, even digital. “Driving present day growth of flexo is the pace of the introduction of new prod- ucts, with more than 33,000 new items entering the market- place annually. Also exerting strong influence on demand is the “no label look” in beverages, to include wine and spirits, as well as water and soft drinks. Recent developments attesting to the trend include: • Coca-Cola publicly announced that flexo printing meets its expectations for both quality and consistency. • Anheuser-Busch has moved away from offset-applied paper labels and now utilizes flexo- and gravure-printed film and pressure sensitive labels. Brauss estimated growth in new equipment sales at 5 per- cent to 7 percent annually in both North America and Western Europe. He credited innovations in packaging technology, as well as the need to expand capacity with feeding the trend. In Eastern Europe and Asia, narrow-web equipment sales are set to spike by 15 percent. China alone has some 4,000 converters with 1,000 potential customers. Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe are continuing to emerge as low-cost producers of converted packaging products. narrow weB Flexo seTs Pace For growTh Paul Brauss, president
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal