Flexo Press Economics.

Author:Hrinya, Greg

Aflexo press is one of the most substantial investments a label converter will make. With flexography playing such a dominant role in the North American label market, choosing the right press can literally make or break a business.

It's no secret that there are a multitude of factors that must be considered when selecting a press. Converters must assess pricing, return on investment (ROI), make-ready, service and support, spare parts availability, technical specifications, comfortability with a manufacturer and more. Perhaps most importantly, the press must satisfy- the requirements of the individual converter. It sounds simple, but one manufacturer's press might satisfy one converter's needs more so than a competing OEM.

With each press increasingly becoming configured to the individual needs of the converter, the complexity of the flexo process also increases. The ability to successfully navigate rote functions, such as changeover times, must be considered with more complex needs.

According to Perry Lichon, president of Retroflex, converters must consider whether they need a press for longer or shorter runs, the inks (water-based, solvent, or UV), substrates used, coatings and colors required, and countless others. "Determining the affordability of a flexo press invokes many variables and considerations,"says Lichon. "Realistic answers to your questions will help a flexo press supplier determine the equipment and features that are required. In general, the cost of a new flexo press is a very affordable way to meet nearly any printing need."

As technology has evolved, so too has the investment process--specifically for flexo. Waste reduction, for example, can be one facet of the process that lowers a label printer's bottom line. "Presses today are more technologically advanced than ever before, which means they are easier for operators to run and lessen the amount of human error that can affect the press run." explains Andre Blais. national account manager, Heidelberg-Callus USA. "Flexo presses are running more efficiently and providing higher throughput. As converters are being pressured to lower costs to their customers, they are also facing price increases from their suppliers for materials, inks, plates, etc. With more efficient production, converters can produce more in a shorter period of time--helping lower their costs and giving them more press time to sell."

As Chris Baldwin, director of sales and marketing at Omet Americas, notes, there are a number of factors that affect price. The price of the machine is just one number that goes into the cost-benefit analysis.

"When looking at how affordable a new press is, more has to be taken into consideration than only the price of the press," he explains. "You have to determine how much waste can be reduced, whether the new press can replace multiple presses in your shop, can new press operators easily learn to operate it, and whether or not this investment can attract new business due to higher quality...

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