It's a Smorgasbord
Today's narrow-web presses provide a wide range of options for highly flexible and productive package printing.
PRINTERS IN THE narrow-web, product-decoration business are asking—and being asked—to do more and more for their customers at virtually every turn. Competition is fierce at all levels of the supply chain and successful companies are doing everything they can to protect their existing business, while expanding into growth areas. Many times, these efforts require new technologies and capabilities.
Manufacturers of narrow-web printing presses are responding to the needs of their customers by providing a sophisticated array of features on their press offerings. The results of these efforts can be seen in the incredibly flexible and productive machines that are available today.
One of the overriding industry trends cited by Jon Guy, president of Gallus, Inc., is the elimination of the "'human error factor' from the printing equation. [It] is the removal of variables to production—automating to eliminate human error through a digital workflow process, which builds consistency and repeatability."
What this is leading to, says Guy, is the eventual integration of the press into a digital workflow. "The major benefit that a completely digital workflow provides is it enables printers to complete a job with consistency when the brand owner requires them to break up the job into smaller runs instead of one big run."
The need to improve workflow and profitability for its customers led Aquaflex to introduce Lean Manufacturing Principles in 2000. "We have seen this concept take root and prove its value," says Mac Rosenbaum, vice president of Aquaflex/F.L. Smithe Machine Company, Inc. "Today printers are acutely aware that workflows and process improvements have a direct impact on their bottom line."
Rosenbaum reports that the Aquaflex ICT® Instaprep press was specifically designed to be "lean friendly." "By enabling off-line job set up and clean up, our patented ICT system helps printers get more productive hours out of their press—that means a faster ROI and a better bottom line," he says.