May 2007 Issue


’Round, ’Round, Get Around …

What hath computer-to-plate (CTP) wrought? Consider “in-the-round” imaging or ITR. The term refers to digitally imaged, continuous polymer printing sleeves that arguably are the future of flexography, and that already are opening up a number of attractive opportunities to printers and end users. Flexo sleeves not only work well with less expensive substrates, such as tissue, napkins, and paper towels, but provide excellent lay-down of solid and metallic inks. Advances in flexo sleeve technology are yielding similar opportunities in markets traditionally dominated by other processes—paper or foil gift-wrap (rubber flexo or gravure), folding cartons (offset or gravure), and shrink sleeves (gravure). In compiling

Advantage: VDP

Variable data in packaging comes in a variety of forms resulting from an assortment of needs. In some cases, the variable data might be beverage labeling indigenous to a geographic area or other targeted marketing materials. In other applications, the variable data comes in the form of 2D or traditional bar coding to help protect a brand against counterfeiting or diversion. And, in still other cases, the variable data exists as alphanumeric coding to authenticate promotional purchases. Digital presses are the engines used to print variable data. “Digital print engines are the most compatible with variable data as they are designed to manufacture data-driven

Bottoms Up

Beverage labeling is hot, or maybe cold, but either way it represents one of the real dynamic segments in package printing. If a labeling method or configuration exists, you’ll find it on a beverage container somewhere. Whether it’s pressure-sensitive, shrink-wrap, cut-and-stack, wraparound, glue-applied, thermal, or even the package itself in the form of a pouch, you’ll find it being used to help sell a liquid refreshment of some type. What makes beverage labeling so robust? Nick Van Alstine, president of Macaran Printed Products says the reason is simple. “Beverages are really high-profile. They’re a part of our everyday life, and visible pretty much

Contract Converting Meets Customer Demand with Precision Custom Slitting and Fast Turnaround

GREENVILLE, Wis.—Contract Converting’s recent addition of a Kampf lightweight, film winder has expanded the firm’s technical capabilities. The company’s capabilities include duplex/center surface slitting, two-drum surface slitting, film winding, and roll doctor winding. With Web width capabilities in excess of 80 inches, and slitting as narrow as 2 inches, Contract Converting provides custom slitting for almost any requirement. In addition to custom slitting and 24-hour turnaround for shipment of orders, several leading pressure sensitive manufacturers utilize Contract Converting as a slitting and rewinding distribution center for their customers’ orders. The company’s personnel help to ensure every customer’s order is packaged, labeled and shipped

Hot Stuff

Something old, something new, something borrowed … When it comes to technology evolution, this old wedding custom has some meaning. Older technologies don’t just disappear as soon as something new shows up. Many times the old and the new coexist and complement each other for sometime. Even if and when the old guy gets put out to pasture, the new technology is usually better off because of something it “borrowed” from the wise old technology. Well, thermal printing (including direct and thermal transfer) is one of those older technology arenas that is feeling the “heat” from the new kids on the block, like inkjet

It’s Evolution, Baby

Innovation and embracing change is the name of the game when it comes to release liners; at least that was the word at the Global Release Liner Industry Conference in Chicago, March 28-30, organized by AWA Conferences and Events. At the conference, Todd Schweigert, director of marketing for Loparex, explained how films are driving release liner opportunities—growing at 5-6 percent annually. He also discussed which films represent the “right substrates” for liners in labelstock, composite, industrial, tape, graphic arts, medical, and hygiene markets; choosing coatings; and features of silicone adhesives. Derrick MacDonald, director of films product management for Avery Dennison Fasson Roll North America

MAN Roland Shows How Environmental Sustainability Also Sustains Printers’ Profits

WESTMONT, Ill.—MAN Roland is taking the lead in informing the graphic arts industry that environmentally sound practices are not only good for the planet, but are good for business as well. In a new educational campaign that is driven by advertising, public relations, direct mail, and a how-to guide, MAN Roland is providing printers with an action plan that they can use to improve the environmental sustainability of their operations, while winning new customers. “Whatever your thoughts are on climate change, one fact is certain: The less resources and energy we waste, the more our economy will expand,” says Vince Lapinski, CEO of MAN

PAT Technology System Uses Xaar 1001 Printheads, Wins Best of Show at On Demand

Boston, Mass.—Xaar joined in the celebrations as PAT Technology Systems’ innovative VarstarT sheet-fed digital UV Coater finishing system won a ‘Best of Show’ Award at the On Demand Conference and Expo last week. The On Demand Awards recognize companies that are at the forefront of innovation and leadership in the digital imaging and document solutions industry. Launched in October last year, Varstar was the first system to implement Xaar’s 1001 printhead, the first offering from their hybrid side-shooter (HSS) inkjet platform. The result is the world’s first commercial digital varnishing coater producing “on-the-fly” flood and spot coating, textures and special effects in a single

PIA/GATF’s Education Awards of Excellence Call for Nominations

Pittsburgh, Pa.—Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) is seeking to honor a dedicated teacher and an industry trainer from the graphic communications field. Nominations for the Education Awards of Excellence are due June 1, 2007. The Education Awards of Excellence were established by PIA/GATF in 1984 as a way to recognize that the success of graphic arts education and training programs depends heavily on the motivation, enthusiasm, and leadership of those dedicated to teaching. Nominations for both academic educators and industry trainers are often merited by the following selection criteria: 1. A distinguished educational service provided as a direct result of

Respecting the Needs of the Trade

Short-run printing is a reality today for any package printer, and a converter’s ability to adapt to this reality will go a long way toward customer retention. Being able to offer customers the option of shorter runs is the equivalent of offering them a new product—such as a new substrate, a specialty ink, or the ability to soft proof. However, integrating the shorter jobs into conventional press runs can be a challenging proposition. On the one hand, no one wants to turn down business, but on the other hand, fitting the shorter job in between two longer runs means more planning and makeready. Profecta

The New Face of CMM

Q: How do you expect this year’s show will compare with previous shows? A: PennWell [has] extensive expertise in show management and marketing that we are using to reinvent CMM and restore it to its industry dominance of years ago. In addition to the industry consolidation and difficult economic situation that has plagued the converting industry, CMM endured a series of owners that were not trade-show focused companies, but every exhibitor and attendee we talked to said they wanted us to revitalize CMM and that the industry needs this show. Our focus has been on getting running equipment back on the floor and bringing

Trendsetter — Tom Polischuk

The package-printing industry is unique in many ways. It’s a well-established industry that has a little bit of everything, and too much of some things (like competition if you’re in certain segments of the market). It has its fair share of growth segments and some that are in decline. It has some huge areas, such as pressure-senstive labeling, that are holding their own and even growing at tolerable rates, while other large segments, such as cut-and-stack paper labels, are in a slow decline. It also uses dynamic new techniques, such as shrink labels, that incorporate state-of-the-art technology to provide state-of-the-art consumer appeal. Within package printing,