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FLEXO Magazine : September 2013
CHART 3: PRESSROOM ISSUES & FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE ALL RESPONSES % Rarely % Sometimes % Common % N/A Prepress/Design 16.8 73.4 8.8 0.9 Plate/Platemaking 27.2 65.0 7.0 0.9 Anilox Scoring in Press 35.4 58.4 5.3 0.9 Anilox Cell Plugging 23.0 71.7 4.4 0.9 Anilox Cell Wear 23.2 68.8 5.4 2.7 Anilox Damage in Handling/Storage 32.7 54.9 10.6 1.8 High Plate Wear 15.9 77.0 5.3 1.8 End Seal Leakage 24.1 48.3 17.9 9.8 Doctor Blade Wear 21.4 66.1 10.7 1.8 UV Ink Spitting 24.3 33.6 3.7 38.3 Print Quality 17.1 72.9 9.9 0 Color Variations/Changes 11.5 78.7 8.8 0.9 Excessive Downtime for Cleanup, Turnaround 14.3 66.9 17.0 1.8 Diecutting 24.3 36.0 4.5 35.1 Ink Runability 24.3 69.3 4.5 1.8 Registration 26.4 66.4 5.5 1.8 Web Guiding/Tension 33.0 56.9 3.7 6.4 Material Costs/Availability 19.1 66.3 10.0 4.5 Substrate 13.9 74.9 8.3 2.8 Labor Costs/Availability 24.1 64.8 8.3 2.8 and of that group, one in four companies had a roster of more than 250 employees. The bulk fell into two groups: Slightly more than 60 percent described themselves as flexible packaging printers; slightly more than 40 percent as TLD converters. Of that audience, 8.9 percent also printed bags/sacks and 8.2 percent engaged in folding carton converting. The most commonly used press was the in-line narrow web press at nearly 45 percent, followed closely by the wide web central impression press at 42.5 percent. Interestingly, the digital press came in third at 18.5 percent. Among inks, water-based was used by 65 percent of all re- spondents, solvent-based by 61.6 percent, UV by 27.8 percent, digital/ink jet by 6 percent and electron beam (EB) by 1.1 per- cent (See Chart 4). In the flexible packaging market, solvent commanded a majority share with more than 70 percent and in the TLD sector water came in first place with 58 percent. CHART 4: INK TYPES USED Ink All Responses Flexible Packaging TLD Water 65.4 % 54.4 % 58.1 % Solvent 61.6 70.2 28.8 UV 27.8 26.4 33.6 EB 1.1 0.9 1.0 Digital/Inkjet 6.0 4.9 7.6 The maximum linescreen used by flexographic printers/ converters varied according to specialization. TLD printers use higher linescreens than flexible packaging printers (See Figure 3). They indicated that they did not use linescreens less than 100 and a greater percentage of them use line- screens greater than 200. At this point, not many printer/converters are printing elec- tronic components, expanded content labeling or other value- added components that enhance the function of a package. The survey revealed that more than 71 percent are not doing it at all, 21.3 percent are at 5 percent of their printing opera- tion, 2.8 percent at 10 percent, 3.7 percent at 20 percent and less than 1 percent of those that responded have more than 20 percent of their operation devoted to added components. PATH FORWARD To a seasoned veteran of the flexo industry, much of the information gathered in the FTA Printer/Converter Process & Technology Survey 2013 may seem obvious or already under- stood. But in a time of rapid evolution, the responses provide a solid foundation on the state of the industry. The intention of the survey was to provide valid information on the current use of existing technologies and adoption of leading manufacturing practices in order to help guide the research and development efforts of the flexo industry 's suppliers. It is antici- pated the findings will also provide direction to FTA in planning for future educational programs, webinars, magazine articles, and Forum and Technical Conference programs. Results supplied a large amount of data across many dif- ferent aspects of the industry. This report is merely the first effort to understand it. As the SLC learns more from these results, it will continue to report its findings to the industry. 34 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2013 www.flexography.org