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FLEXO Magazine : July 2014
substrate, the software just as quickly creates the necessary white ink plate. Special visuals, such as watermarking and dimensional effects, are also done with a single click. Vignetting metallic col- ors into process colors—virtually impossible with conventional design software—can also be done with just a few mouse clicks. In many cases, the cost of the design software is recouped with just one fairly complex metallic job • Prepress Labor If files are not properly prepared for production, prepress houses or label converters must spend additional time creating print ready files. The need for this extra effort not only increases cost, but may change the original intent of the file, thus necessitating more time for additional reviews and proofing • Substrate Flexibility Typically, label designers must decide early in the design process whether to utilize metallic substrate or me- tallic inks. But the nature of the design software used in this proj- ect allowed the decision to be delayed, enabling job estimators to compare the relative costs of the two substrate approaches. Once the final substrate is selected—metallic or paper with ink—a sim- ple file conversion produces the necessary files. Typical design programs require separate designs for the two situations • Inks Run on a flexo press using a conventional design, the job described would require 15 metallic inks plus CMYK. The com- pany was able to eliminate 14 different expensive metallic inks, together with all the wash up and registration issues that accom- pany a job of this type. Also eliminated were inventory issues and what surely would have been 14 partially used ink cans with little prospect of future use. This example required only silver ink and CMYK (See Image 3) • Plates Running the job on a flexo press using conventional design would require a total of 44 printing plates, regardless of whether standard or metallic substrates were used. Instead, only five plates were required to simultaneously produce all the colors and special effects on the four different SKUs (See Image 4) • Press Labor Using this method, press labor was significantly reduced. While actual pressrun time was essentially the same, eliminating 14 washups alone (assuming that the job could be run in the exact sequence required) saved considerable press- room labor. Added to those savings is the time spent bringing the various colors into exact registration. Finally, using fewer plates and colors not only reduced costs, but also made con- trolling the job on press easier • Substrate Eliminating the many colors required in a traditional setup eliminated a great deal of substrate, which would be wasted just achieving proper registration. With metallic substrate, these savings often add up quickly Planning & Profiting Label printers have long concentrated on wringing savings from their processes by improving workflow, automating and pitting one suppli- er against another. But real savings are often available by simply going back to the beginning of the job and planning it well. Helping clients and prospects understand how they can save themselves money by designing with the pressrun in mind often leads to happy, repeat customers. We hear a lot today about printers becoming print service providers and guiding design is where service often starts. Progressive converters like Model Graphics are educating brand clients to think beyond conventional printing processes. Increasing the number of metallic colors and decorative effects available, while reducing the number of inks and plates, creates a win win situation for both the label printer and the label customer. n About the Author: Dennis Mason is the president of Mason Consulting, a firm specializing in technology issues in the printing and electronics industries. He may be reached at dennis@ masonconsulting.com or via www. masonconsulting.com . Color-Logic is the developer of the Process Metallic Color System—an integrated color system for printing metallics and special effects. The Color-Logic software and printing process is available for flexography, lithography, most digital printing processes, inkjet, screen printing and gravure. A license is required to print using the system. For more information, go to www.color-logic.com. Image 3. Ink comparison Image 4. Plate comparison 58 FLEXO | JULY 2014