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FLEXO Magazine : August 2012
Technologies & Techniques Printing in its Purest Form new Presses, new Parameters Refine Man/Machine interface By David Darder What press characteristics, related to mechanical is- sues, are most important to overall satisfaction?” Innovation and automated systems that perform with virtually no failures have been the usual answer. Obvi- ously, price is frequently mentioned. Converters are looking for quality and technologies to meet, and when possible exceed, market demands. Ergonomic and more intuitive pro- cesses are now expected in every new machine. Consequent- ly, more complex, sophisticated systems are in development. Prepress systems and in-plant automated workflows are continuously improving and as a result, they ’ve changed the way converters make the investment decision on a new press. Now, the question has become, “Which characteristics of the TIMES & TECHNOLOGIES • 1940s–1950s—Rubber plates, spot colors and stack presses • 1960—Introduction of photopolymer printing plate • 1960s—CMYK process printing dominates packaging • 1961–1966—Central Impression (CI) presses developed • 1970s—Color management’s advent links CMYK + spot colors • 1976–1980—Adobe PostScript stores graphic information resulting in images printed in more vivid details and colors • 1984—Eight-color flexo press arrives on scene • 1990—Sleeve systems introduced • 1995—Digital photopolymer or CDI plates debut • 1995–1999—Adobe unveils Portable Document File (PDF) • 1996–2000—Quick changeover presses come into play • 2000—New color combinations appear: CMYK + RGB and later evolve into Hexachrome, Opaltone and Expanded Gamut Printing • 2005–2012—Modularity becomes critical in printing press design. Combination printing advances. Digital technologies expand. Automatic register, impression setting and color matching system deploy • Present Day—OEMs focus on reducing waste, minimizing operator interface, real-time image processing. Digital interchanges meet analog printing. Digital master reference developed. Pressure + Register + Color + Statistical Process Control = Quality, Consistent, Repeatable Print Results “ 38 FLeXO august 2012 www.flexography.org Press Buyer’s Guide