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FLEXO Magazine : March 2013
publisher’s ink Narrow & Wide Competition is strong. Efficiency is demanded at every level. Priorities are quality, consistency, sustainability, capacity and waste reduction. Standardized tools, and at times, high speeds, are seen as advantages. Simplicity stands high atop convert- ers’ wish lists. Strategic directions are evolving with advancements in technology. Best practices are being redefined on what seems like a daily basis. This month, we examine both label and shrink sleeve business segments from a myriad of perspectives—starting with presses and possibilities. • Are there wider options available to the narrow web marketplace? • If, in fact, the answer is yes, when deployed, will the concepts and their execu- tion ensure that modern day business models extend well beyond traditional pressure sensitive label production? Tried and true press platforms—the traditional stalwarts, so to speak—can be targeted for service-life extensions, via a rebuild or retrofit. On page 36, we look at the process followed by one original equipment manufacturer, then discuss poten- tial benefits to cost-conscious printers/converters and delve into the battery of tests devised to ensure the upgraded machine meets all specifications. Customization is an option. Upgrades and retrofits can include the addition of printing stations or in-line converting options, like a RFID inlay, cold foil, or quick change die cut station. The idea, as always: increased capabilities can build and better the business. MELDING TECHNOLOGIES With efficiency and productivity in mind, automation—particularly ideas like auto- mated register, viscosity control, impression and setup systems—borrowed from the wide web world, are being modified for narrow web applications. Merging of these technologies, as outlined on page 48, has moved into the mainstream. Label printers/converters are taking notice. Many say it’s changing their game. Hands-free operation, coupled with push-button control is making the operator ’s life far easier—and boosting ROI too. Production options and print capabilities are expanding. Run times are up. Waste is down. Similar scenarios are playing out in flexo pressrooms where digital technologies are being integrated with traditional offerings. Short runs, samples, prototypes and proofs are serving to showcase the compatibility of two technologies that were once seen as strictly competitive, but are now seen as complementary. The piece on page 54 hones in on the practice and its merits. FAST ENTRY All of these improvements to press platforms, as well as man/machine interfaces have enhanced flexibility on the production floor; so much so that introduction of new capabilities occurs more frequently and at a faster pace than ever before. Whether starting up a shrink sleeve enterprise, as discussed on page 40 or optimizing film’s performance through corona treating (page 46), FTA Member Label Printers (see directory, page 26), are expanding their horizons, adding to their toolsets, embracing advancing technologies and generally becoming quite adept at exceeding expectations. Clearly, these narrow web printers exhibit open minds that allow them to pursue wide options. 6 FleXO march 2013 www.flexography.org FTA TODaY FTA Board of Directors FFTA Board of Trustees Greg Platt FTA Chairman of the Board Southern Graphic Systems Jim Nelson FFTA Chairman of the Board Great Lakes Packaging Corporation Lon Robinson III FTA Chair-Elect Tension Corporation Dan Doherty FTA/FFTA Treasurer Prairie State Group Danny Christianson FFTA Vice Chair, Scholarships Farnell Packaging Ltd. Eric Jones FFTA Vice Chair, Project Evaluations The Label Company Allen Marquardt FTA Vice Chair, Education/CPCs Kimberly-Clark Corporation Michael Reinhardt FFTA Vice Chair, Solicitations Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation Hank Welter FTA Vice Chair, Printers/Converters Exopack Mark Cisternino President Flexographic Technical Association Jason Barrier Printpack John Crammer Best Label Jack Fulton Printron Peter Hartman FLEXO Magazine Editorial Advisory Committee Richard Cervarich DuPont Packaging Graphics Catherine Haynes All Printing Resources Jean Jackson Praxair Surface Technologies Brad Keys Staples Print Solutions John Meyer Color Resolutions International David Nunez International Paper John Paine C-P Flexible Packaging Paul Wilson Encore Washington Ltd