As companies compete to have the latest competition, promotion or advertising slogan on their products, print manufacturers are being pushed towards increasingly short runs, where inevitably set up times and material wastage become more and more important.
With technologies moving so fast, digital has become the ‘buzz word’. Digital press technology is consistently moving forward in terms of quality and speed, enabling it to compete more and more closely with conventional print technologies; whilst also enabling greater workflow integration and Just-in-Time production systems.
Flexographic press manufacturers are now forced to raise their game and bring in new technologies targeting set up times and waste. Waste can be cut down by the use of servo technology; using servos for pre-register is one example of how material waste can be minimised during set-up. The ergonomic design of new generation print heads allows for quick colour and tooling changeovers, rapidly reducing set up times and increasing productivity.
It is widely recognised that whilst the capabilities of digital print are improving, it still cannot replace flexo. A number of systems have been developed to run inline with digital presses to allow printers to continue to run conventional offline finishing equipment. These systems are designed to allow for the flexibility of digital systems whilst providing output in conventional formats used on offline machinery.
One of Edale’s existing customers, in the pharmaceutical industry, has recently purchased their second Edale Gamma, a dual servo flexographic printing press designed for the finest quality print coupled with high speed changeovers, minimum downtime and minimum wastage. The latest installation incorporates Edale’s brand new inline web fed flatbed die cutting system, FDC-510, which will be launched later this year. The company has already reaped the benefits of producing runs as short as 1,000 cartons without the need for costly rotary tools normally used on web fed presses – making smaller jobs much more profitable.
Steve Jordan, Edale’s Technical Director for an article in the ‘Tech Talk’ section within Packaging News magazine.
26 July 2012
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