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FLEXO Magazine : September 2011
september 2011 VOLUME 36, NO. 9 In this Issue DIsCIpLINe & DIVersIFICAtION Short-run, on-demand production demands discipline and diversification. From east to west and on to Europe, we look at how four label printers: The Meyers Printing Companies, Best Label, Labeltronix and Systems Labelling; are setting their plants, their staff and their product apart from the competition. Converting with competency means managing in-line and off-line finishing operations without subcontracting services. The strategy is applicable to narrow, mid, wide web and other printers who are positioned to embrace advancements in press technologies, process controls and packaging materials. FtA tODAY 14 best Label Attains FIrst Company Certification Mike Salerno Beta site for FTA’s FIRST Company Certification program reflects on the accomplishment, as well as what it means for the business and its team. INDUstrY INDICAtOrs 18 Green Gift Cards Mike Salerno Innovative printed pieces, namely paper credit/gift cards, are making waves in the industry and carving out a new identity at The Meyers Printing Companies. 20 pressing Issues Machinery, green packaging and digital press utilization forecasts are included in this news round-up. 28 short-run, On- Demand production Advancements in press technologies, process control tools and packaging materials are positioning narrow web printers to meet the challenges put to them. This insider ’s view from Labelexpo- Europe looks at how. 45 Cutting Costs on banding Consumables Magdi Bichay Cut-and-stack label printers are identifying alternative sources for banding materials. FLEXO® Magazine (ISSN-1051-7324) is published monthly by the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association. Address all correspondence to FLEXO® Magazine, 3929 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 9, Bohemia, NY 11716. Telephone: 631-737-6020. Fax: 631-737-6813. Copyright ©2011. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: 1 year: $55 U.S ./$76 foreign; 2 years: $92 U.S ./$125 foreign; 3 years: $125 U.S./$170 foreign. Single copies: $7 U.S./$10 foreign. Periodicals postage rates paid at Bohemia, NY 11716, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to FLEXO® Magazine, 3929 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 9, Bohemia, NY 11716, USA. Printed in USA. Publications Mail Sales Agreement No. 1558153. FLEXO® Magazine is the official journal of the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association, devoted to education, technical and research support to advance flexographic technology. Accep- tance of advertising in FLEXO® Magazine does not imply endorsement of the product or service by the FFTA. Opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the FFTA. UniFlexGTT for Wide Web | UniFliGTT for Narrow Web | UniCorrGTT for Corrugated | UniCoatGTT for Coatings/Offset Hello, GTT When the world’s largest anilox manufacturer rewrites the flexo rulebook with an invention that renders obsolete conventional hexcell anilox technology, you know it’s got to be a pretty big deal. Meet UniFlexGTT for wide web and UniFliGTT for narrow web — the future of flexographic ink metering technology. Imagine requiring just two or three GTT surfaces to replace your entire stockpile of hexcell anilox rolls/sleeves. Imagine: use the same surface for fine screens and stronger solids — on fewer ink stations at higher speeds. Go ahead and streamline your pressroom. Gain unparalleled print quality and consistency. Free your bottom line to soar. And re-imagine your future. Is this an evolution in flexo? More like a revolution. Bold words? You bet. And here’s why: Apex reinvented the very concept of ink-to-plate transfer and, from the ground up, perfected a whole new Slalom Ink Channel surface geometry, a new hybrid ceramic composition and a new laser engraving process. So save time. Save ink. And save money. Let us prove it: download your own GTT brochure online. Or better yet, ask for your GTT quote today. ® Bye bye, anilox. Adios, unwieldy anilox inventories. Sayonara, BCM/LPI math. Bon voyage, sleeve and roll changes. So long, pinholes, dot gain, mottling and haloing. See ya later, downtime. Rest in peace. WhyiseveryonetalkingaboutGTT?Discoverwhatyourcompetitorsarealreadylearning:GTTisarevolutioninquality,standardizationandcostsavings.byebyeanIlox.Com call 866-APEX-USA info@ apexnorthamerica.com www.byebyeanilox.com GTT Print Ads 8x10.875.indd 1 9/2/11 3:07:10 PM FTA HeAdquArTers & FLeXO ediTOriAL, AdverTising, subscriber services 3920 Veterans Memorial Highway Suite 9 Bohemia, NY 11716-1074 Phone: 631-737-6020 Fax: 631-737-6813 PubLisHer robert Moran, ext. 17 firstname.lastname@example.org direcTOr OF business deveLOPMenT Jay Kaible, ext. 20 email@example.com AssOciATe ediTOr Mike Salerno, ext. 31 firstname.lastname@example.org educATiOn direcTOr Joe Tuccitto Phone: 651-319-5003 email@example.com grAPHic/Web designer Katie dubois firstname.lastname@example.org FTA TODAY Best Label Sets Precedent, Attains FIRST Company Certification Process Controls, Promote Consistent, Repeatable Results By MikeSalerno Something isdifferentatBestLabelInc. Employeesare engaged.Theplant hasbeen reorganized. Processes arestreamlined.Jobsseemtoflow effortlesslythrough thepress.Byandlargestaffmembersarecrediting their near-universalparticipation in FTA’sFlexographicImage ReproductionSpecifications&Tolerances(FIRST) Certification programswithdriving the businessimprovements. Theirexperience, roughlytwoyearsinthe making,culmi- nated on August 9whenthe companypassed the finalaudit inFTA’sFIRSTCompanyCertificationprogramandsetyet anotherprecedent. Thatdayitbecame thefirst businesstobe FIRSTCompanyCertified, and thecelebrationwason. ForJohnCrammer, TravisGilkey, JustinMoss, LarryHer- nandez,DanCrammer,DavidDuncan andthe restofUnion City,CA-basedBestLabelstaff, thedaytheyhad allworked forwashere. But theyhad alreadystarted to reapthebenefits longbeforeSummer2011. Customershadnoticed astark differenceintheirproducts,proceduresand skilled personnel and manyweretalking aboutit. JohnCrammer, Best’sgeneralmanagerexplained, “The successofourcompanyisdemonstrativeofthequalityofthe FIRSTCertificationprogram. Certification, inandofitself sends amessagetoourexistingcustomers,futureclientsandour competition. At theendoftheday,withFIRSTCompanyCertifi- cationinhand,weplantoreallytake theballand runwith it.” FromCrammer’s viewpoint,thecompleteFIRSTCertifica- tionprogram(PressOperator, PrepressOperator, Implemen- tationSpecialist and Company) encouragesitsparticipantsto continuelearning aboutan ever-changing industry.Stay- ing aheadofthecurve,while applying bestpracticesand standardizedprocedures, allowscompaniestocontinuetheir educationandbuildstrongerskillson thepartofthe staff. BestLabelhasmapped outitsworkflowtoidentifykeycom- ponents,including bothdevicesandequipmentwhichare fingerprinted and optimizedtoFIRSTspecifications. EFFICIENCY BREEDS CONSISTENCY • FIRSTcertificationisall about establishingconsisten- cy. The goalistoattain thesamehighlevelofquality each time.Printingto thenumbersandstandardizing thewaycompaniesdo businessaretheobjectives. • Thebackbone ofcompanycertification isindividual certification. • BestLabelemployeesbought into the longprocess and realizedthat theywere learninghow todo their jobbetter, quickerand moreeco-friendlythan ever. • FIRSTCertification carriescredibility.Theprint indus- tryislookingfor printpartnersthat standout from their competitors. BestLabelpressroomisorganizedtooptimize workflowandspeedprintjobs throughtheplant. 14 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2011 www.flexography.org INDUSTRY INDICATORS Green Gift Cards Paper Proves Environmentally Friendly, Economical Alternative to Plastic By Mike Salerno PaperorPVC?Thatmaynot bethe firstquestion that comestomind when youthinkcreditcards,but Min- neapolis,MN-based TheMeyersPrinting Companies, Inc.isthinking otherwise.Thelong-time FTAmemberand award-winning ShopperMarketing Solutionsproviderrecently announceditslatest, refortified forayintoa new field:paper creditcards. Afteryearsofstrugglingagainsttraditionalplastic cards,thisinnovative printed piece isfinallymaking wavesin theindustry. Introducedin 2004,Meyers’Greencardoffersan environ- mentally-friendlyandmoreeconomicalalternativeto PVC cards.However, likemanyother newproducts,it facedmany challengesatfirst.“Plastic cardshave been aroundforever. They’re widelyacceptedandeverybodylikesthem,” said MeyersLabel andCardGroupPresident GreggTemple. “ We’re reallyfightingmarket acceptance andperception. People think, ‘Plastic:good,durable. Paper:cheap, flimsy.’” Manycompaniesare nowcapitalizingonthe advantages of utilizingtheGreencard. Theyseeit asabenefittotheir business.Asaresult,Meyershasseen theoperationgrow intoasubstantialportion of thecompany’sLabel Group. In fact,iteven warrantedanamechange. “We’ve been doingthisforabout sixor sevenyears now,” saidTemple.“It’sgottento the point wherewe’ve changedthe name ofourdivision totheLabelandCardGroupinsteadof just the Label Group. It’sabout 30percentof our businessin the division.” HIDDEN PERSUADER “Durabilityisachallenge,” claimedTemple.Retailershave adifficult time believingthat thispaperproduct can holdup andstillbe attractive to theconsumer. “In fact, we’ve been veryclose with anumberof retailerswheretheywereexcited about thisfrom an environmentalstandpointandacost standpoint.There were multiple pluseshere, butat theend of theday,theydidnotmakethedecision tochange.” Ever the persuader, Templedoesnothesitatetopullout samples. “I’ve got three cardsI’ve beencarryingaroundin mywallet forovertwo years,andthey’veheldupreallywell.” That,he maintained, saysalot fortheproduct. Meyershasseemed tocornera significantportionofthe marketforcardsdesignedforone-time use. The perfectstorm of environmentaland economic advantages,coupledwitha growing penchant forone-timeusage,hasallowed the Green- card toflourish forprepaid phone cardsand activationcodes. “Almost all ofthebusinesstodate isfordigitaldownloads andactivationcodes,”saidTemple. “Wereallythinkthe gift cardmarket couldbe profitable, because thereare alotof peoplewho are usingplasticcardsforgiftcardswherethey reallydon’t needit.” The patentedproduction processofthecardprovides optionsof unique barcode,serial number, concealedautho- rization code andmagneticstripe verificationsystems.Italso offerscapabilitiesforpre-loadedvalue, POSvaluation oron- lineactivationforproductssuchas,prepaidcellular phone credits, music downloadsandstore memberships. Tobetterreachthese companies,Templecommissioned astudyto examine the advantages,both environmental andeconomical,of usinghisproduct asopposedto PVC cards.The resultshavehelpedswaycompanieswhomaybe ADVANTAGESTO CAPITALIZE ON • Cardsareproducedin15-20 days versus18 weeks. • Thepaperproduct offers42percent energysavings overPVC. • GHG emissionsarecut 69 percent from PVC. • Water-use savingsare estimatedat89 percent. • Enhancementsto thelook,feel andlifespanaccom- modate the pickiestretailers. 18 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2011 www.flexography.org INDU STR Y INDI CATORS Short-Run, On-Demand Production Labelexpo-Europe Offers Detailed Evaluation of Printing Technologies Advancementsin presstechnologies,processcontrol toolsand packaging materialsarepositioning narrow webprinterstomeet the challengesputtothem. Fast turnaroundofhigh-qualityprint isbecoming increasingly possible,according to MikeFairley, director of strategicde- velopment, LabelexpoGroup.Thislong-time market watcher analyzestrendsona dailybasisinhisrole asa keyplanner ofglobal conferencesessions.Hecreditscurrentdevelop- mentstoa commitment to short-run, on-demandproduction. Converters,hemaintains,aresucceedingindifferentiating and personalizing theiroutput,whetherit belabels,flexible packaging oreven folding cartons. FairleytellsFLEXOMagazine, “Nodoubt, packageprinting isoneofthe mostdynamicofallprinting sectors.” He supports theclaimswithfactsand figures. “Flexiblepackagingand carton productionalonein Europeisestimatedtobeinexcess ofa $20billionmarket.... It isestimatedthatasmuchas15 MARKET DYNAMICS • Packageprintingisoneofthe mostdynamicofall printingsectors. • Convertersare succeedingindifferentiatingand personalizingoutput,whetherit be labels, flexible packagingorevenfoldingcartons. • Narrow and midwebpresses,both conventional and digital, now offercartonandflexible packagingcon- vertersthe opportunity totarget newshort-run pack- age printingapplications, drive differentiation and personalization, offerquickerdeliveryand reduced stockholdingandbecome more profitable. • Changeisdrivenby consumerdemand, legislation, higherqualityorperformance requirements,environ- mentalandsustainabilityconcerns 28 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2011 www.flexography.org FTA M E M BER EXHIBITORLOCATOR OPENS FRO M INSIDE FRONT COVER.