Feeling the pinch? Tighter control can ease the pain

QuadTech solutions for in-line, CI flexo presses address profitability

Stephan Doppelhammer, market manager for packaging, QuadTech

Modern marketing trends in all areas of packaging are increasing the pressure on flexographic printers. Whether you print flexible packaging, folding cartons or corrugated products, the pain-points have multiplied – shorter runs, faster turnarounds, more accurate color and increased quality demands have all contributed to squeezed margins.

While waiting for plate suppliers to develop plates that are faster and less expensive to produce (which they will), there are a number of things that can be done to improve press performance and profitability.

Profitability comes, in part, from repeatedly delivering quality products to customers on time, and this can be achieved by systematically controlling every stage of production and eliminating bottlenecks. Maximizing press and other equipment usage is also a key factor to profitability.

Start at the beginning

QuadTech Inspection System
The QuadTech Inspection System utilizes the most sophisticated defect analysis in the industry to provide true 100% inspection on 100% of your print or non-print product, web or sheet, 100% of the

Ensuring the efficiency of the prepress department is the first step. It may not even require capital investment, just the systematic deployment of best practices. Once plates are on the press, a verification system using an approved digital artwork reference, like QuadTech’s PDF Verification, will ensure that errors like missing or mis-sized image elements, incorrect content and other faults are detected before waste is run.

Achieving color targets quickly and accurately with an in-line color management system using L*a*b* and Delta-E values will ensure that consistent color is run for each color, on every press and even in different locations. The job information and color targets can be stored for use on repeat jobs.

Closed-loop solutions that are capable of registering varnishes, lacquers and cold-seal adhesives and front-to-back registration as well as colors can prevent expensive waste. The QuadTech Autotron with ClearLogic provides such assurance and can maximize output. Once the job is running and perfect register has been achieved, there are still a host of process faults that can arise. A web viewer (like the QuadTech Web Viewing System) will provide real time viewing of the moving web.

Getting the most from your press

QuadTech PDF Verification
QuadTech PDF Verification is a dynamic software application that automatically picks up differences
and irregularities that inspection systems can’t

For complete assurance, a 100% web inspection system that inspects 100% of the web 100% of the time, will detect process and random faults as well as color variation, mis-register, and mis-prints and alert operators so that remedial action can be taken. Using a QuadTech Inspection System, defect information is automatically sent to QuadTech’s optional Data Central reporting tool for analysis by quality control personnel – who can decide whether copy needs to be removed. That information is then sent to the rewinder. The system controls the rewinder, running it at optimum speeds between areas where defective copy is to be excised.

Some packaging converters put inspection systems on their finishing lines so that they can inspect the output of multiple presses. This is a false economy. Inline (on-press) inspection systems detect errors immediately, allowing the printer to take instant corrective action. Not only does this prevent material waste, but maximizes valuable press time as well.

Solutions like these, available from QuadTech for in-line and CI flexo presses, address the major factors that impact margins and profitability; the immediate results of such systems also mean that there can be a rapid return on investment. As the packaging markets change, packaging converters need to improve both efficiency and quality control to keep and obtain high-value customers in a sector that is becoming increasingly commoditized. By being a converter that never delivers defective copy, consistently achieves accurate brand colors and can maintain competitive pricing, your future looks bright.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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