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FLEXO Magazine : June 2008
FTA TODAY project successful by clarifying the scope beforehand as well as the tangible and intangible benefits for your business," he said. U di Arieli of EFI followed by addressing global optimi- zation, with a focus on the function of MIS systems. He highlighted several myths about such technology, and subsequently debunked them: · MIS solutions should focus on cost account- ing. "Throughput is far more important than job costing or cost ac- counting. Increasing throughput increases profitability without add- ing resources." · The customer always comes first! "The key is to implement software capable of predicting impact so you know the outcome before you make a decision." · Greater productivity and efficiency in a cost center equals higher profits. "Equipment speed only translates to profitability when the impact of the performance can be carried through- out the production process." In a talk on unveiling customer ex- pectations, Diego Lanchuske, Mid-West Packaging, said CPCs wanted products released to market faster, with fewer resources used, and longer product life- cycles, while improving product quality. "Every product equals a new standard," he stated. Meanwhile, sales departments are looking for more revenue per project, faster ROI, and shorter product lifecycles. Jeff Feltz of Mark Andy took the stage next to compare the advantages and disad- vantages of buying new versus used ma- chinery, and at the same time weighed the option of upgrading existing equipment. While upgrading equipment was a lower investment that leads to higher margins, it results in necessary downtime and does not improve operating costs. Still, it can be used to cost-effectively add new capabili- ties, such as RFID insertion, extra stations, UV capabilities, cold foil and more. New equipment offers economic benefits as- sociated with the latest technology, makes a great marketing tool, and can come with tax benefits, but requires greater invest- ment and may take time for operators to adapt to. "Platform presses can offer multiple print processes capabilities in and unlim- ited number of combinations of printing process possibilities," said Denny McGee, MPS America LLe. "They can be reconfig- ured and often this can be done without breaking the web." He added, "Without doubt, flexo continues to be the technol- ogy of choice for the North American label converter," McGee said, but he noted that "rotary screen has a standard and accepted offering." As well, he insisted, "Offset con- tinues to make inroads," and "Gravure finds applications on narrow web style combination printing presses when greater opacity is required or metallic inks usage comes into play." CUTTING EDGE TALK Observing that it is bet- ter to find an approximate answer to the right problem than find a precise answer to the wrong one, Timothy Gostick of MacDermid Printing Solutions spoke on direct write imaging, which combines the exposure and imaging process. His talk opened up the Emerging Technologies Session, chaired by Jason Barrier, Printpack Inc. This is achieved via a new polYmer that can be processed with UV light. Flat top dots, he claimed, are vulnerable to over exposure. Digital round dots have a fair share of pros and cons. But the dots produced with di- rect write technology have a broad shoul- der with a fine tip, giving the best of both worlds. DuPont's John S. Locke, Ph.D., said that printing should be a simple process, but it is not-dot relief, dot structure and surface energy of the plate all come into play. He showed attendees comparisons between a traditional flexo plate and one with a less smooth surface. The complex plate surface showed better solid unifor- mity, increased density and reduced pin- holing. The findings, he stated, were noth- ing new. "A lot of these learnings were taught 3S years ago." A collaborative study on EB inks and digital plates (both solvent and thermal) was reported jointly by Bob Mullen of Sun Chemical and Rick Marsh of DuPont. The quest: to find out if there was a way to reduce flexo's inherent environmental footprint and also produce gravure-level - JUNE 2008 FLEXO www.f I exog ra p hy.o rg