by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Q: Do you see any change in these proportions over the next few years? Yes. What’s happening now is that the world is slowly moving toward the American trend where fl exo is the dominant process. In the entire world, fl exo is now about 55 to 60 percent. UV fl exo within the total market is 60 percent in the U.S. Europe is some- what behind and Latin America is coming up very fast. What’s interesting is that UV fl exo was developed in Europe, with North America originally much slower in picking it up. Europe’s applica- tion of UV-curing technology now leads the world. We are always very reluctant to use UV curing for environmental and other reasons. Q: What’s contributing to the growth of narrow-web flexo across the globe? Some of the world’s major behind-the-scenes proponents, such as DuPont, are key players in enabling fl exography and making it viable. We have seen a significant shift toward non-paper mate- rial, something like 20 percent of all self-adhesive labels. Flexo is a much better process for printing on fi lmic materials. The whole growth of the digital design and prepress side has enabled the quality of the dots and reproduction to advance very rapidly. The move toward computer-to-plate technology has allowed the pro- cess to be sped up and is also more environmentally friendly. The press technology has also changed dramatically with the develop- ment of chill rolls and UV curing. In addition, there are break- throughs coming in direct-engraving plates and food-compliant inks and coatings. Quality metallic inks are also being developed. Standardization of process colors has been a tremendous ben- efi t to the fl exo market. All of these things combined are quan- tum leaps that have moved the process forward and completely overtaken others. One thing that is also moving very rapidly is digital printing. We estimate 14 percent of all new narrow-web presses being installed worldwide are digital. It’s not as many as fl exo, but it’s still higher than anything else. That has come mainly from two manufacturers. In Europe, there is also an explosion of narrow- web inkjet technology being launched. On the other hand, fl exo presses have come a long way. Servo Q: Do you perceive digital print technology as a true threat to flexo’s position as the dominant process? Up until now, digital presses have been signifi cantly slower in output than fl exo. What is being launched is a new generation of presses that will almost match fl exo. That takes away one of the bar riers to digital. It also means the kind of run lengths that are viable moves from the 20,000 to 30,000 unit range to 50,000 to 60,000. In many print shops, a job comes in, goes through the same prepress procedures regardless of whether it is digital or fl exo, and if the fl exo presses are busy, it goes on the digital press. Usually, the manufacturer will run off a few days’ supplies until a fl exo press can come free. It also happens the other way around when customers who often do long runs request a much shorter run. Depending on the length, this job may not be viable on a fl exo press, so the digital one is used to meet that requirement. - is really a digital direct drive, so even a conventional press is run digitally to a degree. Quick-change cassettes, cylinders and other technologies make changeovers much easier. Nowadays you can’t take two hours to makeready a press. This is a challenge being taken on by all of the fl exo press manufacturers to compete with digital. Q: Let’s talk about end-use products. Can you give us a snap- shot of the label market? Worldwide, 90 percent of all narrow-web converters are pro- ducing self-adhesive labels. On average, 30 percent are producing glue-applied. In-mold labels are relatively tiny—somewhere be- tween 8 to 10 percent. Sleeving (shrink or otherwise), on average, is 12 to 13 percent, but that’s misleading because we are not sur- veying flexible packaging printers who are not narrow-web. www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g AUGUS T 20 0 8 F LEXO 3 1 Usage of UV flexo by region. Usage of flexography by region. Usage of CTP by region.
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008