June 1998 Issue


Be Your Own Best Customer

Thermal-transfer printed bar codes are a quality control and workflow enhancement tool for a converter's own operations. By Ann Marie Cook, Weber Marking Systems In an average day, a pressure-sensitive label converter will produce countless rolls of pressure-sensitive labels for its customers. The labels may be attractive, process color labels for prime applications; or they may be custom or stock product identification or shipping labels for secondary applications. The label designs and applications will vary, but a large percentage of these unique products will have one element in common: bar codes. Though converters manufacture labels for bar coding every day, some still don't

Exploring Middle Ground

Press suppliers discuss the "why" behind buying into mid-web technology. What do press suppliers believe is currently the most compelling argument for package printers to consider mid-web technology? Industry insiders' responses reveal potential benefits for narrow- and wide-web traditionalists, though the definition of mid-web can vary for each segment. Hans Heuchert, President, AapexX Corp., Hot Springs, AR A mid-width press makes it possible to be profitable with short runs. The capital expenditure is much lower. The press is much easier and faster to set up—as fast as 4 minutes, 30 seconds for a 4-color letterpress, and 9 minutes for a 6-color flexo press. The

Moving Beyond Black

Black thermal transfer ribbon's popularity suggests a steady industrial applications stronghold, although the color spectrum is widening. by Susan Friedman With a bar code or other variable data as a calling card, thermal transfer printed packaging commonly carries identification, shipping or tracking information. Thermal transfer's sharp, crisp output has made it the on-demand printing method of choice for newer bar codes that can be read from a distance, and improved compliance labeling, states René Gallet, thermal products manager at Printronix, Irvine, CA. A similar following in higher-end package printing remains to be seen. Thermal transfer speeds of six to eight inches per minute remain

Sizing Up Software

Functional specialties can help tailor prepress software to flexo, offset and other package printing processes. By Susan Friedman With commercial offset prepress needs nearly down pat, software suppliers' focus on package printing continues to intensify, with heavy emphasis on flexographic particularities. "Because flexography and offset represent the biggest installed base of printing presses, they are the biggest arenas for more specialized prepress software," comments Alex Hamilton of Computers & Communications Consulting. Ray Fennelly, applications manager at Contex, links flexo software growth to the process' steady transition from art to science. Package printers seeking process-specific software won't always find "Just For Flexo" stamped on the