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FLEXO Magazine : October 2011
MEANER COMPETITION Customers are increasingly demanding short runs. Some- times this is due to increasing brand types or regional promo- tions; sometimes it is simply due to shrinking budgets. For some time, digital has been seen as the only solution for short-run needs. This need not be so: ultimately, customers are asking for cost-effective short runs, not digital solutions per se. Why has digital dominated this market for so long? Be- cause the comparison has been between slick new digital presses and flexo machines that are—well, older. To take an example, consider what the “break point” is for a single print job. The breakpoint for a traditional narrow web flexo machine is about 8,200 feet of material (8,883 square feet or so). Newer flexo machines, by comparison, can get this down to 1,100 feet by reducing waste and managing plate costs. To really drive a leaner process, new machine set-up time has been drastically reduced to around three minutes for a four-color job. And with this speedy of a set-up, material waste is cut to around 12 feet of material. Compare this to an older, traditional press using several hundred feet during a lengthy set-up. Thus, some of the often-cited disadvantages of flexo—long set-up times, set-up and run waste, high plate costs, and the need for highly trained labor—have all been addressed with newer technologies. And, since these newer machines cost about half of what a new digital press costs, the payback time for investing in one of these newer machines is much, much shorter. GREENER PRINTING The direct impact a new machine can have on the bottom line (assuming the same volume of business) is up to $240,000 per year. Talk about pennies adding up! But, besides being more profitable, Lean printing practices mean that manufacturing can be more environmentally friendly as well. If less paper and ink is wasted, this means less waste throughout the supply chain, as well as less waste in our land- fills. While such measures do not affect short-term profits, they do positively impact the earth and the economy in the long-term. In short, the newer printing platforms are designed around Lean principles, addressing key factors in the flexo workflow. This new technology is making flexo Leaner, Meaner, and Greener—which means saving a kingly sum. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff Feltz has been with Mark Andy for more than 10 years, serving as director of product manage- ment for the past four. He is responsible for managing the company ’s portfolio of leading brands, including Comco, Mark Andy, Rotoflex and UVT. His responsibilities include identifying and evaluating converter and market needs and uncovering trends to ensure the product lines are designed and executed to meet the ever-changing requirements of various industry segments. www.flexography.org october 2011 FLEXO 81 • We design & build every machine to order. • Our patented frequency sweep technology allows longer cleaning times if required, eliminating the need for more caustic solutions. • Our technology will clean all line counts and guaran- tees deep cleaning of every cell, safely & efficiently. • All machines are fully automated with factory preset cleaning parameters, making it simple for any opera- tor with the push of a single button. • Over 21 years of providing cleaning solutions & equip- ment to every print market around the world. • Our non-VOC non-HAP bio-degradable cleaning solu- tions are safe for the environment, product & operator. • Ultrasonic cleaning is the most effective, least labor intensive technology available for cleaning of your aniloxrolls, sleeves, plates & other machine compo- nents. • For more information give us a call at: CaresoniC Usa The best in Ultrasonic technology. The Granddaddy of them all. TheFlexoFactor • 704-962-5404 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.theflexofactor.com Innovative Solutions for Today’s Flexographer Authorized North America Distributor • A division of SJW ASSOCIATES LLC 2814 Yorkview Court, Charlotte, NC 28270