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FLEXO Magazine : August 2013
printed labels and packaging. When this happens, it reduces and even eliminates the need for duplicate decorating meth- ods, affording the plant the opportunity to actually expand its capabilities and cut its costs. Again, when analyzing the right strategy for the operation, it comes down to what makes good production sense for the job, as well as what the customer is willing to pay for. CONVENTIONAL WISDOM Enough on digital printing and those ICTs that are part of it, this purveyor of conventional combination printing equip- ment wants to speak out on ICTs as they are being used today on narrow web flexo presses and/or combination printing presses. Let's go through and explore what is available today for the use on the conventional narrow web press. Today you can pick your printing process or any combina- tion thereof and you can marry a multitude of ICTs to your conventional line. For narrow web printers, flexo remains the dominant printing process. Other options are out there. For example: Variable repeat narrow web offset presses have created a small yet growing niche for the press builder. The ability to change over offset presses with sleeves vs. the hard cassette designs of old, combined with the quality levels possible with offset, can make it a choice today. It was not 10 years ago. Offset affords reduced plate costs. Narrow web gravure presses have been focused on long- run applications, where cost of the gravure cylinder can more easily be justified by infrequent graphic changes. Today, given the costs associated with the new narrow web servo press technology, a narrow web printer needs to take the time to work through options when evaluating presses and ICTs. More expensive solutions, may in the long run, be the least expensive way to market. ICTs for conventional printing presses follow: Rotary Screen is available as an add-on process that can be dropped into a print unit, or screen units can ride on an overhead travel rack, allowing for easy repositioning. When employed on a rail, the printer does not lose a flexo deck to the screen process. Cold Foiling has grown in popularity, as has the availability of foil materials. Cold foil units can be permanently positioned on press, or remain movable on an overhead rail system. Hot Foiling remains a favorite for specialty applications where edge definition, sharpness and smoothness of lay, are a key. Cast and Cure, one of the newest members of the ICT fam- ily, is a process, patented by Breit Technologies LLC, that can be added to any narrow web press and requires an unwind, rewind and a curing source. The process entails laminating casting film to a wet UV or EB coating that is in contact with 46 FLEXO AUGUST 2013 www.flexography.org