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FLEXO Magazine : August 2012
by producing the maximum number of jobs in a shift (max throughput), with the same overhead costs. Figures show that variable costs for waste and consum- ables appear to be less relevant if short runs are produced at high speeds with limited set-up times. OPTIMIZED WORKFLOW In a Digital Flexo production environ- ment, the most relevant profit making variable appears to be max throughput. New digital accessories have been de- veloped to reduce the overall time of pro- duction in a true Digital Flexo workflow. For example: a Digital Flexo plate- mounter (www.pass-werk.de) auto- matically feeds the plate onto the print cylinder/sleeve and mounts the plate on the cylinder. An HD camera inspection system automatically controls the align- ment between the front and the tail of the plate to ensure that it is within a max tolerance of 0.01 mm. An automated servo operated alignment correction system makes sure that the given plate- mounting tolerances are respected. The platemounting operation is totally automated, greatly reducing the work of the operator and allowing “digital” high quality platemounting, in minutes, during the press production time, for the maximum total throughput (no press downtime for plate mounting or wrong plate mounting). Similarly, 100 percent in-line quality inspection systems are available (AVT, BST, E+L, Nikka, etc.) to be installed in-line with Digital Flexo presses. A 100 percent inspection camera closes the quality loop by controlling the variables that are not controlled by the Digital Flexo technology (missing ink, hickeys etc.). A 100 percent in-line system allows for greater operator confidence when producing at high speeds, with a full closed loop combination between Digi- tal Flexo and 100 percent inspection. Throughput can be greatly enhanced. In the production of self-adhesive labels, a traditional production “bottle- neck” is represented by die-cutting and waste stripping operations. New digital converting technologies have been de- veloped to achieve automated die-cut- ting pressure adjustments, die-cutting pre-register, and fast stripping speeds, greatly reducing the influence of the label shape, the adhesive, and the front substrate. High production speeds for maximum throughput can be achieved, also for short runs, with limited risks of matrix waste break In a comparison between Digital Flexo and Native Digital, the limit of profit- ability is the result of several variables to be taken into account. Some variables are objective (different technologies in Native Digital printing), others can be interpreted differently based on different experience, personal interests, etc. A suggested “gray ” area between 600 and 1,200 linear meters for self-adhesive la- bels, and between 1,000 and 1,500 linear meters for flexible packaging should be considered in profitability calculations. Under these limits Native Digital is advis- able, over these limits Digital Flexo is advisable. Estimates are prudent, based on conservative assumptions, collected 66 FLEXO august 2012 www.flexography.org 1-888-478-0998 No Plate Lifting No Plate Mounting Perfect Registration Every time. Discover Your New Media Source for Seamless Imaging Photopolymer Sleeves Laser Engravable Elastomers