April 2002 Issue


Breathe Easy With Environmental Controls

IN 1967, THE ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Air Act (CAA). Twenty-three years later, the Act was amended, requiring the EPA to set national ambient air quality standards; six Titles were added, including primary standards (to protect public health) and secondary standards (to protect public welfare). Today, most packaging plants that print, laminate, or coat with solvent-based inks and coatings are subject to various levels of these air regulations. One potential area of concern for packagers is using hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), says Steven Rach, senior account executive at MEGTEC Systems. He explains regulations, referred to as Maximum Achievable Control Technology

Fresh Twists for Flexible Packaging Converters

Flexible packaging players continue to regroup in order to ensure future growth. by Susan Friedman, Editor Though consultants say consolidation activity in the packaging industry is slowing, the face of the flexible packaging industry continues to be changed by mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. In packagePRINTING's annual Top Flexible Packaging Converters Survey, such past participants as Duralam, Pac One, and Rex Int'l are now part of larger players' umbrella portfolios. And International Paper's flexible packaging division, sold to Exo-Tech Packaging LLC in 2001, is now called Exopack. Of the estimated $19 billion flexpack market, more than $14 billion in total sales is represented in the

Keeping up Appearances

Learn prepress and on-press practices for ultimate aesthetic appeal using UV/EB and aqueous coatings and adhesives. by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor Energy-cured coatings/adhesives When not matched with the right inks, coatings and adhesives carry the potential for poor visual performance, especially in the case of energy-cured products. Complementary coating/adhesive and ink formulation is therefore an essential first issue in identifying the source of print flaws. SICPA Eastern Region Technical Manager Dave Steele lists the most common signs of improper coating formulation as deriving from poor wetting or poor adhesion characteristics. If the coating being employed is printed over an ink containing excessive silicone,


Though UV flexo threatens widespread letterpress longevity, suppliers and printers insist it will survive. by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor JUST HOW FAR along is the industry's migration from letterpress? And will UV flexo-fondness lead to the complete disappearance of the letterpress label? In an informal poll conducted on the pP Web site, while many respondents predicted letterpress would be phased out within ten years, a majority believed the process would always be in use. For Ko-Pack International customers, the primary letterpress investment has been additional equipment for capacity, notes Sales Director Gerry Nigg. He believes letterpress presses will benefit from incorporation of


Can the industry adopt a common language for the approval process? by Terril McConnell, Prepress Editor In his national best seller, "Cultural Literacy, What Every American Needs to Know," author J. D. Hirsch argues our society may be suffering from a serious "failure to communicate." Not that we lack the means. The problem, proposes Hirsch, is that we don't necessarily know what to say to one another when we do connect. Hirsch explains public school systems have de-emphasized rote learning, the 3Rs, and literary classics in favor of more innovative and individualized studies on everything from basket weaving to brake shoes, graduating several generations

Streamlined Artistry

The highly evolved and standardized process of offset platemaking still leaves some room for improvement. by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor THE SOPHISTICATION OF existing offset platemaking processes has not encouraged complacency among equipment suppliers. On the contrary, rising competition from flexo, as well as increasing adoption of CTP and DI practices, have fostered a more innovative path to better plates and processing. Science bests art In offset platemaking's struggle with art versus science, it seems the latter won several years ago. And that is a good thing, contends Richard Butler, product development manager for Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. (Graphic Systems Division). "Really, what