Big and Better
Package printers are reaping the benefits from productivity enhancements that are built into today's wide-web flexo presses.
BIGGER IS BETTER! That's a motto that suppliers of wide-web flexo presses wish all package printers would adopt.
But bigger also conveys images of heavier, more cumbersome, and slower—all qualities that today's nimble, agile manufacturers can't afford to be. And they don't have to be—because today's wide-web flexo presses are getting better and better in many ways that make them "lighter on their feet."
Steven F. Lekan, director of business development for Comexi America, gives credit to flexo printers for helping drive the positive changes. "Flexographers are known for their willingness to embrace and adapt to new technology. This desire to strive for being better has given the incentive to machine builders to consistently develop new technology to satisfy the demand."
While there have been numerous advancements in flexo press technology in the last several years, Lekan stresses the "aggressive push towards efficiency and operator performance" that has occurred most recently. The end result is increased production with reduced waste. "It is not uncommon to hear that new press performance can replace as many as three or four older presses," he says.
Many of the recent improvements in wide-web flexo press technology fall into the category of press controls and peripheral equipment. The objective of many of these enhancements has been to either reduce waste (which can accumulate real quickly on wide presses) or to improve the handling of the larger machine components. In either case, the net result is increased productivity from faster changeovers, and set ups, and start ups.
As an example, Lekan points to a pre-register system from Comexi that puts all print stations in register within three revolutions of the central impression (CI) drum. "Prior technology relied on the operator or optional features in a video camera that was tied into the deck controls," he says. "The result is minimal operator intervention and minimum waste."