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FLEXO Magazine : March 2013
One on one Consulting State of the Art Technical Center for training & trials Shrink Sleeve Equipment to make production easier Look or f our NEW stea ing & m C soluti Q ons c mings ! o oon Ryback and Ryback Incorporated Shrink Sleeve Equipment • Consulting • Technical Center RYBACK R Y B A C K Sleeve Maker • Narrow Web Kit Wick Holder Curl Tester • Layflat Ruler Consulting for: Printing • Laminating • Converting Manufacturing & More Unbiased Trials Small Orders • Test Runs • Training te Ge mor info at processed on a cutting machine that will cut individual labels into stack sizes based on the needs of the customer. THINNER SUBSTRATES Raw material suppliers today are more attentive to a customer's needs than ever before. This is shown in shorter lead times and more flexibility with their customers. The latest trend in the raw material market is the ability to deliver pre- primed materials for the digital printers. The material is coated with a primer to allow the digital ink better adhesion to the materials. In the past a converter had to coat material, which led to a bottleneck in the printing department as a press would have to stop running production labels in order to coat materials needed for the digital press. Material manufacturers are also making material from 40-75 microns. For many years, the industry standard was 50 micron PVC and PETG. The market now is moving toward PETG shrink sleeves. The price of PETG is more than that of PVC, however, converters are solving this problem by down- gauging the PETG to 45 micron. By using a 45 micron PETG, the MSI pricing is almost the same as 50 micron PVC. DISTORTION SOFTWARE The majority of shrink sleeves in the market today have at least some artwork that needs to be pre-distorted. Artwork is pre-distorted in order to make the finished shrunken design match the original artwork the graphic artist created. De- pending on the artwork and shape/size of the container, the artwork may have to be distorted up to 80 percent. When art- work needs to be pre-distorted, there could be an additional charge for this service, plus any additional work an in-house graphic designer will have to do to match the original design. Currently there are two different ways to pre-distort artwork, either manually or with pre-distortion software. To manually distort artwork the prepress operator will shrink a printed grid, with set sizing dimensions, onto the container. A typical grid size is 5 mm X 5 mm, with a 0.20-in line width. The operator will then measure the shrunken grid for a percent- age of difference and adjust the artwork manually based on this measurement taken from the shrunken grid. This method is extremely time consuming and costly for new converters, as they will have to reprint the artwork each time any distortions have been made. The easiest way to pre-distort artwork is by using software. Today 's distortion software uses one of two ways to deter- mine the distortion. The first method is using a simple outline drawing of a bottle and then using distortion software in order to build a 3D model for the bottle to use for distortions within Adobe Illustrator. The second option is to use a camera or 3D scanner to replicate the actual bottle and then import that im- age into the distortion software. The camera/3D scanner option is typically used for odd shaped (non-cylindrical) containers. Once the drawing or photographed image is imported into the distortion software, the operator can then select specific parts of the artwork to distort, based on the shape of the container and customer requirements. Once the distor- tion is complete, the operator can then select specific parts of the artwork to distort, based on the shape of the container and the customer 's requirements. Once the distortion is complete, the operator can email the customer a " virtual" image so the customer can view artwork on the container. The customer can approve the " virtual" sample and the next step is to make a single printed sample to shrink onto the container for the customer. SAMPLE MAKING Single or one-up samples can be made by printing a small amount of material and then running it through the seaming production process to create a solvent seamed sample. This is a costly process due to the fact that production equipment must be used for a one-up sample. Today, more and more converters are choosing to use a sample maker to create solvent-based one-off samples. This tool is a simple desktop unit that allows the converter to print a sample label and then cut the label to make a one-up solvent www.flexography.org MARCH 2013 FLEXO 43