April 2004 Issue


Beyond Darth Vader

Beyond Star Wars' use of lasers, package printers are using two main types of lasers to engrave cells into anilox rolls. by Joy English, Assistant Editor THROUGOUT OUR LIVES, we are constantly fascinated by things that light up. We capture fireflies and "ooh" and "aww" at Fourth of July fireworks. Laser light shows are a big attraction at amusement parks and even science museums, where rays of light dance to funky background music. But these beams of light energy can be very powerful and very useful tools in various industries. In the package-printing industy, lasers are being used to engrave anilox rolls for

Damage Control

The key to a high-performance, flawless flexo printing plate is time—imaging time, processing time, and drying time. by Kate Sharon, Associate Editor EMERIL LAGASSE IS a thorough chef who doesn't take shortcuts when preparing his mouth-watering cuisine. He never skips over the most tedious of cooking chores, and he never forgets to "take it up a notch" or add a "bam!". As flexo platemakers take it up a notch to meet today's demands for faster turnarounds, shortcuts can quickly spoil the key ingredients consumer product companies need most to build their brands: accurate and consistent color. The platemaker's role is more important than ever

Digital Printing--Coming on Strong

The role of digital printing is starting to take shape in the package-printing industry. by Tom Polischuk, editor-in-chief DIGITAL PRINTING FOR packaging is out of the starting blocks. It's new; it's exciting; it's expensive; and it's here to stay. As with any new technology, some are jumping in and some are watching from the sidelines, waiting to see if it's right for them. Kevin Karstedt, president of Karstedt Associates, a consulting firm for the consumer product and package-printing industries, is in close touch with the movement of digital printing into packaging. He easily rattles off a number of recent installations including a range


Eat, drink, sleep, live: drupa 2004 by Joy English, Assistant Editor AS MESSE DÜSSELDORF GmbH prepares for drupa 2004, taking place May 6-19 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, it is making every attempt to make sure attendees are eating, drinking, sleeping, and living drupa. To do so, it has initiated "drupacity Düsseldorf." Manuel Mataré, drupa project manager, explained, "In an effort to enhance the 'feel good' factor, Messe Düsseldorf is putting in place an extensive service network together with numerous partners from the hotel, restaurant, retail, and art and culture areas who will stage attractive special events and activities exclusively for drupa."

Here's the Proof!

New digital proofing technologies streamline a critical process in the prepress workflow. by Marie Alonso, Prepress Editor ALL THE BUZZ in proofing is soft proofing, color calibration, and digital proofing for the packaging environment. And it has been for several years, but with increasing fervor, collaborations, and software enhancements. Companies aspiring to take leading positions in their respective specialties are joining the progressive package-printing leaders in deploying the latest, most sophisticated digital proofing technologies available. Electronics for Imaging (EFI) has truly redefined itself, acquiring Best Color in order to gain a strong hold on the digital proofing market. Today, it is strongly marketing its

Slimming Down

For narrow-web press manufacturers, slender is the way to go. by Joy English, Assistant Editor IN THE UNITED States, it seems as though almost everything comes in super-sized proportions, from french fries and sodas to trashbags and toilet paper. But increased numbers do not necessarily equate to increased value. Narrow-web press suppliers will agree. They are offering converters a "super-sized" value, without the extra inches. And converters looking for short-run flexibility with quick changeovers are finding that narrow-web presses are opening the door to increased flexibility and more options. Narrowing the field Narrow-web presses, generally less than 24˝ wide, are making short-runs and

The Amazing Shrink Inks

Shrink substrates are popular for packaging, but they wouldn't be anywhere without the high-performance powers of shrink inks. by Kate Sharon, Associate Editor INKS USED FOR shrink applications have to be capable of going above and beyond the call of ordinary ink duties. Shrink inks have to adhere well to film substrates, hold color despite heat, maintain a certain coefficient of friction (COF), and—most importantly—shrink. "[Shrink inks] need to have superior adhesion, flexibility, be fairly heat resistant because heat is involved in the process, and [be made with] pigments that won't change color or fade with heat application," said Ed Dedman, market development

The Root of the Problem

A troubleshooting guide to coatings and adhesives. by Kate Sharon, Associate Editor COATINGS AND ADHESIVES are the unsung heroes of the packaging world. They protect a package and its goods, while making it look and perform exceedingly better than it would otherwise. But when a problem arises in the application or formulation of a coating or adhesive, those protective, enhancing, and functional substances can be the sole reason for a job's rejection. To get to the root of such costly issues and for ways to prevent them, packagePRINTING recently asked industry suppliers for their advice. Coatings Coatings play a very critical role in

Top Flexible Packaging Converters

A singular focus on sleeve labels, from design through application, is at the heart of SleeveCo's success as a flexible packaging converter. SHRINKING IS GOOD for SleeveCo—that's what they do best. Since the company's inception in 1988, this Dawsonville, Ga.-based flexible packaging converter has been completely dedicated to sleeve labels, both shrink and stretch. This singular focus on sleeve labels is what makes the company distinctive, says Martin Wilson, vice president of sales and marketing. He also says it's the reason why SleeveCo has been able to work with some of the world's largest and most innovative consumer goods companies on many