Combination presses continue to gain popularity. See what the experts say is the right combo for your shop.
By Chris Bauer
PACKAGERS can be on top of their market's mountaintop one day, just to find themselves outdated the next, with newcomers climbing up quickly. Competition for niche markets can be fierce, and you must have the equipment to win the battles for survival. This fight goes on in the package printing industry, as new packages demand new production methods.
According to Mark Herrmann, president and CEO of Comco, "We are part of an industry in transition. Today's printer is being asked to create more dynamic packaging faster, with higher standards of quality than ever before." To meet these demands, many plants are turning to combination presses.
Up until five years ago, J.R. Cole Industries (JRCI) of Charlotte, NC, was strictly in the flexo printing business. About that time, the company, which sits at number 71 on packagePRINTING's 2000 Top Tag & Label Converter ranking, was looking to make its mark in the clear label market for the wine and spirit, beverage, and personal care industries. But by offering only flexo, its chances were not good.
"We just weren't a factor in those markets beforebut we are now," boasts Hollis Cobb, special projects manager. 1995 was the year JRCI turned to Nilpeter to set up the first of two combination presses the shop now utilizes to serve the clear label market. One Nilpeter combo includes seven-color letterpress, four-color screen, hot stamping, laminating, and diecutting. the other combination press, also from Nilpeter, features seven-color letterpress, with three screen colors mounted on top of the press, which are able to be moved to accommodate the needs of a job. This gives JRCI flexibility, Cobb says, which is key when receiving jobs from clients.