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FLEXO Magazine : October 2007
ers, wide web coaters, wet wipes folders and many other specialty machines. "PCMC has been credited with many industry firsts that have helped advance the state-of-the-art in converting technology. It plans to continue that tradition of innovation as it expands its customer base throughout the world." Currently, PCMC has seven operations in the U.S., England, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Japan and China. In October 2005, PCMC became part of the Barry Wehmiller Company, a U.S.-based machinery organization, with a history dating back to 1885. Today, PCMC, which has always been headquartered in Green Bay, WI, describes itself as "a single source for converting, print- ing and packaging technologies." It manufactures and supports equipment for: tissue converting and packaging; wide-web flexo printing coating and laminating; narrow and mid-web in-line flexo printing systems; and non-wovens converting. PRESSES, THEN & NOW Describing yesterday's produ offering and client base, Gillis states, "In the beginning, four-color letterpresses were predomi- nant for printing of packaging. Aniline or flexographic printing was used primarily for line printing. As substrates evolved, print- ing on thin film substrates became commonplace, but limitations in holding register, spawned interest in central impression (CI) presses." "Most presses then, were four- or six-colors around a com- mon impression cylinder. They were used to print various forms of packaging produ s on a wide variety of substrates," Gillis reports. "Typical maximum speed of these presses was 1000 fpm. Mechanical line sha drives were used. Ink was delivered to the substrate with open fountain rolls and chrome aniloxes. Manual plate and anilox cylinder changes were the norm. These presses were not changed over frequently. In fa , it could take most of a day to do so." Comparing the common printing machinery of years' ago with modern-day flexographic printing presses, Gillis says, "Today, the CI press is still popular, but is commonly equipped with eight- to 10-color decks around a common cylinder. In-line narrower ma- chines are used for multi-substrate printing demanding graphics as well. With the trend toward thinner and thinner films, and graphics requiring close traps and tolerances, state of the art servo presses can meet demanding registration tolerances. On a wide variety of substrates, in-line presses today can meet chal- lenging process register requirements with servo technology yet offer flexibility in process converting." To that, he adds, "Fast change sleeves have replaced steel cylin- ders for the plate and anilox. Inking is done with ceramic anilox technology and closed chamber do or blades working collabora- tively with automatic wash up systems. Automatic register and impression systems allow job changeover to be done in minimal time without wasting material. "Today, a 10-color flexo press can change over completely within 50 minutes and meet graphics quality rivaling gravure, offset and digital when used in tandem with digital pre-press technology."