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FLEXO Magazine : August 2011
58 FLEXO august 2011 www.flexography.org workflow on the front and back-ends of the printing process, are just as important as the equipment being used to produce the product. Front-end organization/scheduling—Many small- to medium-size runs are part of an effort to reduce inventories, provide just-in-time deliveries, and accommodate/support an ever-growing private label market. Coordination with the customer, material suppliers and prepress providers are key to running short runs successfully. Working with customers to combine “families” of like-col- ored items, reduces makeready times, eliminating individual item color matching and reduces the time associated with deck wash-up between jobs. Proper scheduling of these simi- lar jobs is important to optimizing press time and eliminating any unnecessary color changes or wash-ups. Picking the right raw material supplier that is flexible enough to accommodate smaller orders, so excess invento- ries are not accumulated, is a key component to being suc- cessful in running small jobs. The ability of a prepress organization to react to the print- ers’ immediate needs is also extremely important in the process. Imagine making ready on a sophisticated 10-color process print job that requires printing only 100 pounds of film? Now, during the makeready process the pressman dis- covers that one of the plates is damaged? In this scenario, it is imperative that a replacement plate be immediately available in order to forego having to repeat the makeready process on such a small pressrun. Plant organization and personnel—The manufacturing facility and material flow should be organized in such a manner that allows press personnel to focus on the makeready of the equipment and not worry about the raw materials needed to get the job completed. Materials including ink, film, tapes, etc., should all be readily available press side and staged for each job. This sounds logical for all printing operations, however, it is even more imperative for small- to medium-size printruns. Shop personnel simply must have an understanding that for these jobs, prof- its are achieved on the “makeready ” of the individual job and not the hourly cost allocated to running the job. In many cases the running time of indi- vidual jobs will be less than one hour, however, makeready costs are fixed. The faster the makeready, the more profits realized. Back-end organization--It is also important that after the printrun is com- pleted, “post printing operations” are organized in such a way as to comple- ment what has transpired in the prior operations. Laminating, converting and shipping operations among others must be focused on handling small- to medium-runs in a similar manner as the printing operations. This includes staging work-in-process (WIP) at the next operation, reviewing and optimizing all downstream makeready operations and streamline warehousing / shipping within the organization, as well as with outside freight providers. Manufacturers that would like to run small- to medium-size jobs efficiently need to stop asking the question, “How fast is the job running?” and refocus their efforts on, “How fast can we get the job ready to run?” n About the Authors: Glen Galloway, is president, Bema Inc., El - mhurst, IL . He has owned the business since 1999. It specializ- es in multi-color process printing, solventless laminating and all aspects of specialty converting—pouchmaking, slitting and bag making. Bema focuses on vertical integration, flex- ibility in manufacturing and providing unmatched customer service to all—large and small alike. Galloway previously served S&C Electric Co. as a regional vice president for some 17 years. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University. Mike Reinhardt is product manager for Windmoeller & Hoelscher’s flexographic printing press division in North America. He has more than 25 years experience in the de- sign, development, manufacturing, and marketing of capital equipment for the energy, hazardous waste, and printing industries. Mike has a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, an MBA with a concentration in marketing and currently serves on FTA’s Board of Directors and FFTA’s Board of Trustees. Computer controlled ink tanks and valving are integral to the automated inking and wash-up systems. WINDMOELLER & HOELSCHER CORPORATION PASSION FOR INNOVATION FLEXIBLE PACKAGING EQUIPMENT THAT MEETS THE DEMANDS OF AMERICA’S TOUGHEST CUSTOMERS 23 NEW ENGLAND WAY | LINCOLN, RHODE ISLAND 02865-8702 | Phone: 800-854-8702 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.whcorp.com Nothing could beSweeter... SunshinePlasticsCorp.FTA2011AwardsGold&BestofShowGOLDAWARDGOLDAWARDGOLDAWARD ... than our customers’ success at the Flexographic Technical Association’s Excellence in Flexography Awards. In the wide-web category, 20 of the 25 winners were printed on W&H flexo presses - including the Gold Award & Best of Show. Sunshine Plastics of Montebello, CA printed this stand-out wrapper on a W&H 10-color press and has garnered 7 awards in the past year. Congratulations to Sunshine Plastics and all the FTA winners. W+H_SweetAd_Flexo_FINAL 6/28/11 10:42 AM Page 1