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FLEXO Magazine : January 2014
spires there, with borders being tight- ened and exchange rates fluctuating at unprecedented rates. Canada has an abundance of new equipment, enough to service not only its population but also that outside of Canada. Having a significant amount of capacity and the ability to ser- vice other heavily populated areas is something I would consider to be unique in my experiences with other global partners. BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY The most significant advancements in flexo continue to be prepress coupled with the ability to change over jobs and reduce waste. This is a direct result of shorter printruns. Because of this, clients want and need fewer products in the short term. They may be purchasing the same amount over the full year, but for each shipment they want the mini- mum amount. Servo/sleeve press technology has been present in our equipment since 2000 and the continued advancements of these presses would be the ability to quickly change over from job to job— transitioning from Job A to Job B in the shortest amount of time with a signifi- cantly reduced amount of waste. Servo positioning systems have come along at a rapid pace with press organizations developing different registration and im- pression systems within their technology. In the narrow web market, that same ability to change over quickly is vital be- cause narrow web printers are compet- ing with the digital market, where users can transition from job to job within inches of each other. STAYING RELEVANT It’s critical that Canadian flexo users adopt the new technologies that are being developed, because ultimately they will be competing against them. For current markets that are presently producing jobs that require one half or three quarters of a day setup, that can now be reduced to just one hour. This is significant in enabling them to produce more in one day and to expand the market segment they are working within. They are eager to not only get into that technology, but remove some of the older press technology from their facility, so they can focus on very quick changeovers, increased efficiency and cost savings. Looking at new developments in our industry that motivate me, I’m going to go back to the quick change options. Not only are printers able to change the print decks at a significant speed, but they also have the ability to change die cutting stations on inline presses. Even if a printer can change a printing head very quickly, it doesn’t want to be bogged down by other processes on the press. OEMs are looking to expand the capabilities on the press, so that every- thing is quick change. For the flexible packaging market, this means taking impression and registration settings off press by using auxiliary pieces of equipment to measure what is required to happen on press. For an organization to completely adapt to the changing technologies, this means a culture change. On many different levels, an organization would have to be prepared in scheduling and prepress—including plate making, con- sistency of printing variables, a mount- ing department staffed with equipment and personnel. n About the Author: Canflexographics President and CEO Kelly Roberts has been with the corporation for more than 15 years and is responsible for new technology and product research, supplier recruitment and selection of key industry partners. In 2013, Kelly proudly accepted his nomination as a member of FTA’s Board of Directors and also holds the position of Board Member and Industry Liaison for the Canadian Flexographic Training Committee. He is the past chair of the Technical Innova- tion of the Year Award with FTA and served as a judge for the annual Print Excellence Awards. He currently serves on the FTA Board of Directors and FFTA Board of Trustees. www.flexography.org JANUARY 2014 FLEXO 23