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FLEXO Magazine : August 2013
Technologies & Techniques Configuration Strategies How to Customize Your Ci Press for Your Applications By Tom Jacques Flexible packaging converters today have a wide variety of options with which to customize their presses, in order to increase productivity, reduce waste and insure finished product consistency. The main options most often requested are video camera systems, auto registration and auto impression systems, vis- cosity and/or pH control systems, slitter options, in-line units to add value, such as additional flexo, rotogravure and other units, or in-line coaters and laminators. More recently, 100 percent inspection systems are becom- ing more popular. Their cost will fall over time, as the volume of these systems sold and installed grows. Increasingly, the presses are becoming ever more automated, where the op- erator does a lot of production monitoring via computer and workflow systems. Deciding on options in which to invest requires in-depth knowledge of your core market’s needs, as well as the ability to anticipate what other market segments might need in the future. To minimize the upfront investment, a number of converters choose the modular route of getting provisions for the future installation of value-adding options on a central impression (CI) press, that can provide their own return on investment (ROI) later, when the demand justifies it. This kind of flexibility is a good balance between buying all the options upfront and seeing how future business develops down the road. OPTIONS & OPPORTUNITIES • Presses are becoming ever more automated, where the operator does a lot of production monitoring via computer and workflow systems • Modularity of the designs allows systems to be customized to individual production processes • Standard functions for 100 percent print inspection provide the operator with an optimum overview of the production at any time, to assist in analyzing and rectifying errors, and thereby ensure maximum production performance and quality • Flexible sensitivity settings put an end to false alarms, so that particularly critical areas can be monitored closely, while insignificant areas can be ignored • Viscosity control systems can help deliver high precision printing and color consistency when used properly • Slitting options range from a basic razor slit, which is fine for most applications, to rotary shear slitters for paper and laminate applications • By having a good handle on both current and potential customer needs, print converters can make good choices about how to configure a new flexo press for the maximum productivity and the quickest possible payback 100 percent print inspection system. 56 FLeXO AugusT 2013 www.flexography.org Press Buyer’s Guide