Many years after the leap made by flexography with the introduction of digital plates (LAM), we are now seeing how the development of new concepts in prepress and system mechanics are definitely driving this printing system to be a real alternative to gravure in practicaly all applications, since is able to deliver similar quality level or even better, but with its own additional competitive advantages.
A couple of years ago, after an interesting discussion with the staff of an important flexible packaging converter, my perception was that our sector has been witness and beneficiary of this great evolution, but also victim of its own acquired defects after so many years working without an accurate procedure due the difficulties to implement a printing standard in this system.
What I mean is it seems that there is a misunderstanding about all these innovations in front of the today´s new challenges in the flexography industry…, so much so that there is the trend to spend efforts, time and money in to invest “right now” in new tools before have understood what is exactly happening on press in order to define which of these tools are exactly needed and how they must be implemented to assure the performance that they can certainly generate.
In fact, it seems that there is a wrong approach about which is our real target in flexo. I’m not sure if the reason of that is because something regarding the last innovations has not been fully understood by the market or simply it has not been correcly explained by those who are promoting their advantages, me included.
The true (my true) is that we are not trying to print “as well as” rotogravure or offset in flexo (because this is not our main priority) and these innovations are not mainly designed to get this. We must print high quality, of course… but “quality” is something more than print at 175 lpi with full tonal range… The real meaning of “high quality” in flexography should be to assure sucessfully all the customer requirements being consistent work by work…, keeping in mind that we must do it aligned with our needs of sustainability, cost saving and profit.
“It´s not only about innovation, it´s also about attitude and approach”.
Miguel Ángel Beltrán · firstname.lastname@example.org