Crazy for Combos
The printing possibilities on combination presses has a variety of end-users looking for more out of their applications.
by Sean Riley, Associate Editor
THE WORD IS now out on combination printing and customers are clamoring to their converters for more mileage out of their package printing. They want packaging that leaps off of store shelves and contains as much color, style, and information as is possible to produce.
Combination narrow web presses have been at the forefront in fulfilling these needs quite well, but printers have found that their customers are insatiable when it comes to the combo process. Buyers from new markets want bigger and bolder applications complete with every bell and whistle that present day printing can provide. And they want it yesterday.
"The next logical market to embrace combination printing is the mid-web carton and packaging arena," according to Ed Dedman, SICPA North America product manager for Labels & Plastic Cards. "As users of folding cartons, semi-rigid packaging, and standup pouches seek to capture new market share, the addition of rotary screen, foil stamping, etc., can provide a new "look" for these items."
You want fries with that?
In the past couple of years, press suppliers have reached the point where they can now offer a plethora of options along a combo press. Where once it was considered cutting edge to offer flexo and offset capabilities on the same press, the sky is the limit for today's combinations. Presses that incorporate wet offset, waterless offset, and flexo, like RDP Marathon's decade-old High Quality LG-200, are no longer exceptions, but the rule. Because of this, RDP, for example, has continued to streamline its combination capabilities, according to President and CEO, Eric Short.
"RDP Marathon has been able to fully integrate the controls and makeready of the various print processes into one press control system, the Smart Set 2000," Short says. "The recently released Optum-plus management software allows for press management, which includes all press components and print processes into one data collection and management system."