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FLEXO Magazine : March 2013
plates, film, or lengthy setup time, the is- sue becomes a matter of job length. For a print job over 20,000 units, flexo is still the go-to process. Although, if the print job requires different content or designs on a single run—because of the lack of plates—digital can perform that task relatively easily. But, not to be outdone, the digital method is also versatile. It is able to print onto a number of materials includ- ing vinyl, removable vinyl, translucent, reflective, polyester, lexan, magnetic, and void stock. Digital printing is seeing some seri- ous headway and flexo press manufac- tures are reacting. A whole new genera- tion of high performance presses that were recently introduced, are designed to handle a wide mix of production runs at high quality levels. Furthermore, there is a growing consensus that hybrid installations—involving one or more digital presses running alongside exist- ing flexo presses—may be more than just a passing fad. DIGITAL IN ACTION Roy Bohnen, proofing account man- ager, Epson, believes that many digital presses will be attractive to certain printers at first. The questions for digital printing will revolve around cost and the needs of a printer—for now. “ While the digital presses are indeed slower, they are intended for short run or fill ins, where additional copies are needed without having to go back on press,” Bohnen explained. “As a proofing device, for one example, digital presses will most certainly be seen next to traditional presses,” Bohnen continued. “ T he next challenge is to find a digital press at the right price.” The Epson SurePress is one such press that has short-run , digital label offerings with pre-and post-press options that can be tailored to meet various needs and budgets. The Epson digital label press capitalizes on Epson’s ac- claimed MicroPiezo® ink jet technology to create output with smooth grada- tions and incredible color quality. The SurePress also delivers on substrate versatility. With no pre-treatment or top coating required, a variety of standard off-the-shelf substrates can be used at variable web widths up to 13 -in wide. By working with indus- try-leading manufactur- ers on every aspect of digital label production, from color management to media and finishing options; Epson offers a new, open approach that will make the adoption of digital short-run label printing easier and more profitable. While Bohnen admits that digital presses are for certain market segments, it’s only a matter of time before the industry real- izes the specific applica- tions and speed of these presses in certain areas. “ We will certainly see digital applications next to flexo presses. These machines make great www.flexography.org march 2013 FLEXO 55