November 2006 Issue


Apples and Oranges

Gravure printing has long been known for its high quality. According to Dean Hoss, president and CEO of Pyramid Global, in his “Why Buy Gravure” presentation at the Packaging and Label Gravure Association’s (PLGA) ninth operational conference, gravure print reproduction translates into better product appearance. Versus flexography, gravure offers higher resolution print, consistency across the print web, and repeat print-run consistency. “Gravure’s quality is hard to beat. When it’s done right, when the engravings are proper, it’s there,” says Jim Lepp, executive director of the PLGA. However, the increasing use of flexographic printing and its lower cost of production has, over time, created

Beyond Automation

Not all printing workflows are created equal. Different market segments demand different things from their respective workflows, depending on the needs of the customers they serve. Highly automated prepress workflows are well-established in the world of commercial printing. But if page production is one thing, package production is quite another. Most workflows account for basic production steps including trapping, screening, imposition, and color management. However, packaging workflows differ from commercial workflows in that they reflect the variety and complexity of the end product: corrugated boxes, folding cartons, bags, labels, shrink sleeve foils, POP displays, and metal cans—and the print disciplines used to produce them.

Doctoring Blade Selection

Several factors contribute to long doctor blade life. Coatings, proper setting of the blade, and properly selecting a blade for your application/press will go a long way toward prolonging the life of the blade, as well as other press components such as anilox rolls. Considering the plethora of coatings and materials available to printers, blade selection today goes far beyond simply considering price. According to Perry Lichon, president of Retroflex, “While blade materials should be judged by their ability to doctor, they should also be judged for ease of handling, blade life, impact on roll wear, and overall cost.” According to Anthony Foley, vice

Everywhere You Turn

Chicago was a busy place during the second week in September. The city hosted Labelexpo Americas 2006 with its 450+ exhibitiors and more than 13,000 visitors, many of whom gave the show a distinct international flare. Along with a steady flow of traffic during the four-day event, the show featured a wealth of significant new products introduced to the label printing market. The following rundown presents a brief review of some of the highlights. Lots to see Avery Dennison announced the acquisition of RF IDentics, a start-up company with technologies and manufacturing assets to enhance its RFID product offerings. UPM Raflatac reviewed its plans

Eye Catching

Every day, people walk the aisles of stores. No matter what they are looking for, somewhere during their shopping trips metallic glimmers are likely to catch their attention. Thousands of products sit on store shelves, but the ones that are likely to stand out the most in the competitive world of packaging are those adorned with foil. To achieve such an alluring look, package printers must make effective use of the hot foil stamping process. What glimmers is gold Brand owners know that adding hot foil stamping to packaging will elicit a second glance from consumers. “The primary reason to use expensive, shiny materials

Globalization — Editor’s Notes

Sunny Orlando, Florida was the setting for the TLMI’s Annual Meeting, held this year as a joint meeting with European brethren from FINAT. This meeting is always a highlight of the year for those converters and suppliers in the tag and label industry. The four-day meeting always seems to be a perfect blend of business meetings, interesting and informative sessions, awards presentations, and social gatherings (including that not-so-bad, four-letter word—golf). Credit for this year’s meeting starts with Meeting Chair Michael Kelliher of FLEXcon and his Co-Chairs, Ferd E. Rüesch of Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG and Calvin Frost of The Channeled Resources Group, and extends,

High-Tech Hero

Many a superhero has relied on the power of advanced equipment—such as Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, Green Lantern’s power ring, and Captain America’s shield—to help perform their extraordinary feats. For today’s narrow-web printers, technical heroism is often required to meet print-job demands, and advanced equipment can also hold a pivotal role in “saving the day” for a customer. At Rotocolor Inc., playing the hero—through a willingness to go where other printers won’t—has helped the 16-year-old flexo printer become master of its own unique corner in the narrow-web universe. “We find a way to get it done when everyone else says, ‘We can’t do

Security: You Either Get It or You Don’t

Converters that print labels for pharmaceutical applications can look forward to long, prosperous, and booming businesses if they stay on top of the prevailing issue in pharmaceutical labeling today—security. “Security has been a hot topic of discussion in the pharmaceutical industry for a few years now,” says Robert Ryckman, vice president of sales and marketing, CCL Label Healthcare Group NA. “Many reported cases of counterfeit and diversion are well documented and that will continue. There is a slow, steady movement toward adding security features to the packaging within the industry.” Counterfeiting and diverting continue to challenge pharmaceutical manufacturers to come up with new and

Static Control

Static control and web cleaning are tied together at the hip in the package-printing arena. Moving webs and sheets generate static, and static attracts dirt and other unwanted vermin. So, to consistently supply high-quality product, package printers must pay close attention to the static/contamination Medusa twins. This area also warrants additional attention due to a couple of hot topics in the world of package printing—the increasing use of film substrates and the coming of static-sensitive RFID electronics. Plastic films generate and hold static charges a lot better than paper substrates (more snakes in Medusa’s ‘do) and the relatively expensive electronic components in RFID

To UV or Not to UV. . .

UV inks are commonly used in package-printing applications. So much so that Don Duncan, director of R&D, Wikoff Color Corp., thinks it’s about time to rephrase how we reference ink categories. In referring to water-based and solvent-based inks, he says, “I use the phrase ‘so-called conventional’ because UV inks are now so common that they are no longer ‘unconventional.’ We need a new word for the mixture of oil-based, water-based, or solvent-based inks that UV is replacing. How about ‘old-technology.’” The term “old technology” might not fly (Duncan admits that it’s “a little over-the-top”), but the point is well made. UV inks are firmly