February 2000 Issue


2000 Top 25 Diemakers

Feeding the Beast On the surface, the 10th annual survey of North America's diemakers shows an industry growing its revenues. Beneath that facade, however, are individual companies struggling to remain technologically and financially in the black. by David Luttenberger, Consulting Editor Trends identified and either feared or embraced during the past several years continue to shape the cutting edge of the diemaking industry. Technologies that turn the craft of diemaking into science; more efficient, less manually intense and cost-effective machining and rule processing capabilities; and, industry consolidation continue to be harbingers of further change in a segment already deeply enveloped in transition. "A

Fluid Movements

Suppliers trace popular and pending doctor blade usage trends. By Susan Friedman The smooth, even business of ink metering isn't without its grayer areas. Yes, flexo printers have long been heavily loyal to doctor blades, particularly chambered systems...but metering roll applications still remain. And yes, gravure printers still favor trailing blade configurations...but reverse angle's potential hasn't faded away. Here, suppliers explore the sometimes uneven ink metering terrain. Flexo: chamber-made? For many flexo printers, the decision to use doctor blades instead of a two-roll metering system has been pretty, well, cut and dry. "There are not many scenarios where a two roll system will out-perform

Where Materials and Minds Meet

Coating and laminating in-line takes a few imaginative turns. By Susan Friedman For package printers, the basic equation for in-line coating and laminating installations—flexographic printing plus flexible packaging—remains the same. At the same time, though, active "additions" for coating and laminating are on tap: more applications, more accuracy and ease-of-use, and, likely, more creative retrofits. In 1999, in-register cold-seal adhesives received a good deal of in-line application buzz, but now other uses are angling for attention and elbow room. Hans Deamer, senior vice president at Windmoeller & Hoelscher, confirms in-line coating/laminating's continuing importance, and cites additional layers of growth within the flexible packaging arena.