With inflation remaining stubbornly high, printers may find it increasingly challenging to get a handle on their costs. Driving efficiencies has never been more important. But neither has print quality: amid stiff competition, the work still needs to stand out.
Flexo success in these market conditions is the production of print that’s both cost-effective and able to meet clients’ most exacting standards, predictably and consistently. But the complexities of the print process often stand in the way of delivering that value to brands.
The right flexographic printing plate will help you simplify your process, unlocking quality alongside a range of operational efficiencies, so you can create eye-catching work that sets you apart.
But what does that plate look like? Here are five pointers. The right flexographic printing plate…
1. Is predictable and consistent
If your team keeps finding themselves embroiled in color issues, and struggling to achieve a match to their proofs, your operation is wasting valuable press time. And that means wasting money.
The right plate will provide a simple route to consistently accurate print results, where the color proof stacks up beautifully with the substrate on the machine every time.
Rather than wasting time firefighting color issues and other problems on press, your team will be freed up to apply their skills and expertise to producing ever greater quality – and impressing your customers with the possibilities of print.
2. Is ink efficient
Printers are increasingly aware of how much is being spent each month or quarter on ink. The more you can do to reduce its consumption, the better.
The right flexo plate will offer a stable density ratio, allowing you to transfer ink correctly and consistently, and to embrace the challenging task of replacing Pantone colors with extended color gamut (ECG). With this more efficient alternative, you’ll end up using significantly less ink, safe in the knowledge that the colors will match.
A plate should also deliver the dot holding, consistency, density, and gamut you need to replace spot colors with process builds. This more efficient ink lay-down, coupled with accurate proof-to-press matching, will leave you using fewer spot colors, and achieving the effect you need.
3. Gives you the same white at less weight
White ink may account for as much as 65% of your total ink consumption, and so could easily be absorbing most of your ink budget.
There’s good reason. White ink is essential to the consistent, predictable reproduction of colors. It provides the foundation that allows the other colors to shine. And it ensures any ink printed on top will reflect light in a controlled way.
The right plate will offer you the optimized white ink performance, and the desired opacity with a lower ink film weight. If you can achieve the right opacity with the most efficient white ink laydown – and reduce pinholes without adopting the common solution of using more white – you’ll soon see a drop in your white ink consumption and costs.
With the right plates, you can get more from the white ink you use, and reduce its impact on your bottom line.
4. Eliminates on-press adjustment
When looking to cut costs, you need to find ways to be more efficient with your existing set-up. For example, the right flexo plate can help create a cost-conscious operation, by standardizing anilox and tape selection across every press run.
A standardized approach to anilox can make ink transfer more efficient, and help overcome the typical challenges of maintaining ink density and controlling dot gain.
By reducing the number of variables like this, you stand a better chance of maximizing on-press productivity, and of reducing the materials and time you’re wasting, with fewer press stops to tweak or adjust plates on jobs that share the same characteristics.
5. Lets you dial up the speed
Speed is a critical factor in print today, as printers scramble to meet client demands for shorter lead times, faster turnarounds, and greater productivity – without the quality and cost issues that come with excess ink.
The right plate will enable you to increase the speed of your presses without having to apply more ink, or more pressure. It will be able to withstand these faster runs in pristine condition, reducing your replacement costs. And it will open the door to ultra-fast make-readies, because it’s easy to calibrate and set up. All of which promises to make your print operation even more efficient.
One plate, five ways to maximize value
The right flexographic plate will help simplify the printing process, so you can deliver work that meets today’s demands for consistency, quality, and speed. And all while helping to reduce your production costs. This will leave you empowered to deliver maximum value to brands – while maximizing your own bottom line too.