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FLEXO Magazine : November 2012
Plants & Processes Adding a New Dimension to Corrugated Workflows automation is Increasing the efficiencies of Packaging By larry Moore Corrugated printing’s workflow is different from many other packaging market segments, where output is created and printed as two-dimensional (2-D) end- products. When it comes to box making, a converter deals with the graphics of a project, while thinking about its struc- ture as well. Perhaps not so coincidentally, many corrugated trade shops and converters have been late to adopting automated workflows. • Maybe it is because people have been comfortable de- veloping boxes and cartons manually • Perhaps it’s because until the quality of flexo improved dramatically, over recent years, many shops still worked on simple, spot color designs; rather than complex multi- color or process graphics and found no need to get more sophisticated Whatever the reason, both the nature of workflows, as well as the adoption of automatic workflows have changed. DIMENSIONAL DESIGN & GRAPHICS Core to corrugated is the creation of the structure. Comput- er assisted design (CAD) solutions make the process much easier than it used to be. Designers can create designs from scratch, building each panel and flap. They can also import existing designs from a software library, or the company ’s own library. These templates can be parametrically created, so that designers can use the basic designs and resize them for their own needs. This saves the time involved with always building some- thing new. At times, designers will import a 3-D design of existing products that will be placed in a box or container, fit the package around it—including protective inserts—and build the design. STRUCTURED & DYNAMIC • Sun Graphics is using automated prepress production software, design plug-ins, a flexo digital imaging system with high definition flexo, structural software and a digital finishing table • Automation and integration throughout the workflow is reducing cycle time, improving quality and driving down costs of production • Plug-ins increase efficiencies and help to decrease problems • Mounting of plates is consistent and accurate • Jobs are produced faster, material is saved, and customers are happy sun Graphics’ antioch facility is the company’s Digital Plate/color tech center 44 FLEXO noveMBer 2012 www.flexography.org