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FLEXO Magazine : June 2008
INDUSTRY INDICATORS MARQUARDT: Consistent, cost effective, desirable results- nothing more, nothing less. Printers need to bring us new technol- ogy as an industry leader without having us-the customer-lead them into new technology. RUSSO: Making a realistic commitment to reproducing graph- ics when reviewing artwork. I want my printer partners to con- tinue to help me find solutions that will enable us to reproduce difficult graphics. SANEL: I expect nearly offset quality printing without gear- marks. I expect ink on press to match drawdowns. And, I like to see creative solutions to presenting problems without excuses. I lived and breathed flexography for seven years as the prepress man- ager at CCL label, so I know all the tricks that printers use on the customer to get them to sign off. I definitely expect the printers to have fingerprinted each press in the shop for making sure that separations are curved correctly. THOMPSON: Honest, open and responsive communication about achievable results, based upon provided designs is a must have. I want printers to offer options and alternatives to manufac- turing methods to achieve desired results, even if it means com- bining offset and flexography to attain the best possible results. What I look for from every printer is: · Consistent and repeatable production results. · Faster, more responsive and cost efficient manufacturing. · Teaching and guiding the designers. · Utilization of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, methods, technologies and procedures. Q . Has flexo improved its performance in reproducing certain . design elements? DUTTER: Flexo's abilities to hold smaller minimum dots and improve blends are definitely starting to pay dividends. MARQUARDT: Smaller finer dots have made noticeable quality improvements over time. RUSSO: Process images hold better color and tighter register than in times past. SANEL: Four color process and high solid white sub printing on clear substrates is helping flexo to win new advocates. I once con- verted offset printed paperboard to flexo, which went unnoticed at the consumer level. THOMPSON: Process images, highlight tone reproduction and tonal ranges are getting better and better. Q: What design elements does flao still struggle with? DUTTER: Consistent color in process areas is one challenge. Maintaining registration is another. MARQUARDT: Reducing hard lines is still an issue when the dots gain right at the edge of the drop off. Use of hybrid screens has helped, but not fixed the situation. RUSSO: Vignettes are a cause for concern. Surprisingly, we've had issues with solid PMS colors. SANEL: Reverse printing solids on small text and trapping can be problematic. Screens lighter than 10 percent in value are a chal- lenge. Color matching, if not handled properly, can be an issue. THOMPSON: Trapping of certain solid line colors, thickness of traps, size of minimum copy, prepress to print representation and fine registration, all need attention paid to them. Q: Dqine the role of printer in the design of a paclcage? DUTTER: We always prepro major projects with the designer, separator and printer. We gain input on all aspects of the project and hit them before they cause an issue MARQUARDT: Printers need to stay positioned at the leading edge of flexo print technology, and offer solutions to difficult de- signs to the customer. RUSSO: Provide guidance and provide constructive feedback. We have a job that, after review with the printer, we are going to separate at 100lpi versus 1201pi. This is due to the degree of dif- ficulty we saw during the pre-production meeting. So, you see, we are listening in on the customer side. SANEL: I always try to get the printers involved late in the de- sign phase, but still before we have a locked down design. This is to manage expectations on both ends and to get an idea on which design elements might pose a challenge when going to press. It is a great help at production time not to surprise the plant manager. Another way to manage this is to have the chosen printer run the sales sample job in anticipation of the actual production run. THOMPSON: Designers hold the key to accurately represent- ing producible packages. The printer needs to have input into what is possible, based upon his capabilities and his platform offering. They are important in setting expectations and assisting the un- derstanding of the limitations of what is possible, based upon the client's design and desired results. Q . De.fine the role of the prepress provider in the design of a . package? DUTTER: Like every printer, I expect every prepress provider to stay informed on new technologies. MARQUARDT: Prepress should guide the development pro- cess with the customer, taking into consideration the press gamut and press profile limitations. Before a design is finalized, prepress should review and confirm the print potential back to the customer. JUNE 2008 - www.flexography.org FLEXO