One-time, from-the-ground-up press designs aren't package printers' only route to acquiring a unique'specialized' printing and converting system.
By Susan Friedman
It's a doozy of an order, a real profit-boosterhundreds of thousands of impressions and multiple reruns during the next few years, but nothing currently on the pressroom floor can print and convert it the way the customer has specified. Is this a signal to recruit a supplier to build a one-of-a-kind specialty press? Not always.
Chris Faust, marketing manager, Comco International, says specialty press purchases are indeed often motivated by the end-user's need to put a value-added, printed product on the shelf that draws attention and can't be duplicated by the competition.
Job descriptions for today's specialty presses are getting longer and longer. "There is no such thing as a typical job for a specialty press," says Mitch Dudek, director of sales, Propheteer International. "It may require marrying multiple webs, adhesive coating, applying fragrance or applying a booklet or product to the web."
Certain segments of package printing continue to harbor a higher frequency of specialty requests. At Kidder, for example, specialty projects are common for any package construction requiring multiple in-line processes, such as front- and back-side printing, coating or laminating, as well as processes unique to the customer, in various combinations, relates Cory Heiden, director of sales and service.
Nilpeter builds specialty presses most often for customers with large groups of similar labels, such as wine labels, coupons, or high-end health and beauty labels, reports President John Little, who adds that these presses typically can perform many processes on one platform.
Custom vs. specialty
The engineering capacity for one-time-design, specialty presses still resides at a number of manufacturers. Interestingly, however, suppliers appear to have formed a bigger fan club around building customized presses based on a proven, standard design.