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FLEXO Magazine : September 2012
Technologies & Techniques Mid Web Markets & Machinery The evolution of the Traditional label Plant By Wallace nard Shorter runs tied to reduced material waste during set- up is the key solution to increased profit margins for all converters. That’s the current sentiment of the flexo- graphic printing community. It’s also a driving force behind the popularity of today ’s all-servo, central impression (CI) and in-line presses. Proliferation of private label brands, coupled with constant calls for product differentiation, are changing the face of the business and the footprint of the plant, particu- larly in the highly competitive narrow web or label segment. In 2011 the overall North American label market grew at an estimated 1.2 percent. Demand for pressure sensitive labels grew at only 1.5 percent, with the glue applied label continu- ing in decline, according to market analysts llike The Tarsus Group, planners of Labelexpo, FINAT, and Alexander Watson and Associates. Major growth has occurred in the sleeve label market which grew at 5.3 percent. It now appears the stretch sleeve label offers new environmental and recycling advantages competing with the shrink label market. In fact, LDPE stretch labels, when recycled, afford easier and cleaner separation. The challenge facing stretch materials during printing is holding accurate registration in an in-line process. Narrow web converters keep talking about expanding into other markets like shrink sleeves and short run flexible pack- aging. One study, by The Tarsus Group showed that North American label converters reported 26 percent of their sales were in the flexible packaging market and 30 percent were in products other than conventional labels. OPTIONS & OPPORTUNITIES • Narrow web converters talk about expanding into other markets • North American label converters reported 26 percent of sales in flexible packaging and 30 percent in products other than conventional labels • Constant development of new materials will continually change the way packaging and labels are delivered • New presses can be configured and later re- configured according to the changing market demands • Choosing modular equipment, like a mid web CI press for extensible flexible packaging, could be the solution that keeps your plant and its product mix competitive Modular in-line mid web flexo press, all servo motor driven. 68 FLeXO sePTeMBer 2012 www.flexography.org