Cores, Shafts, and Chucks in a Digital World
Package printing is moving in the direction of digital, but what impact will digital printing and functions have on the building blocks of material control? Industry insiders offer their opinions.
THE WORD "DIGITAL" is fast becoming commonplace in the package-printing industry. From fully digital presses to digitalized finishing processes and prepress functions, there's something digital about nearly every part of package printing.
Within this digital realm, some elements of the printing process haven't gone hi-tech, including cores, shafts, and chucks, right? It's not a cut-and-dry issue, according to experts.
Some industry insiders, like Larry Taitel, owner of Convertech, don't think cores, shafts, and chucks are affected at all.
"No, the role of cores, shafts, and chucks remains the same," he said. "Any web-fed operation needs to firmly hold and control the rolls at the unwind, rewind, laminating, and matrix locations. Digital technology is changing job set up and run sizes, not eliminating web-fed operations."
Mike Flannigan, regional sales representative, Tidland Corp.—a manufacturer of air shafts—agrees. He said, "I don't see a significant impact on air shaft design or implementation as a consequence of digital printing modulaties."
Of course, there's another side to this viewpoint. But while other experts think cores, shafts, and chucks are impacted by this digital revolution, they say it has more do with how the equipment is manufactured than how the digital functions affect them on-press.
"In all web processes, continuous roll quality is an important part of web stability, production quality, and end-product quality," said Jeff Damour, engineering manager, Converter Accessory Corp. (CAC). "Shafts and cores are similar to a building's foundation. If the foundation is poorly constructed—not level or out of square—the entire building suffers. As the building goes up, the impact of the defects increase. The same is true with rolls. If the core or shaft is of poor quality, the roll may be defective.