Top Tips For Preparing for Labelexpo Europe
Labelexpo Europe 2017 is fast approaching. It’s a good time to take stock of the efficiency of your labels and packaging converting operation. Is there room to improve your operating efficiency? Could quality be boosted even further? Can these things be done while improving profitability?
Our experience says that for most operations, the answer to all three questions is yes. Labelexpo Europe provides a unique opportunity to educate yourself on the latest technologies and solutions that are available to help you address these things. And Labelexpo Europe is a great place to see many of them in action.
So how best to proceed?
Before You Go
Take the time to assess your operation and identify any gaps you find in operational efficiency, quality or the ability to produce jobs profitably. Document these gaps with as much quantification as possible. This will be the baseline against which you can measure the potential or actual improvements investments can deliver.
Make a list of the suppliers present at Labelexpo Europe who are likely to have solutions that can close these gaps. Map out a logical pathway through the show to ensure you are able to visit all of them.
At the same time, be sure to allow yourself time to explore new areas of opportunity you might not have considered. And don’t forget that this is a terrific opportunity to network with your peers to gain insight into how they have addressed moving their businesses forward.
Areas of Opportunity
There are several areas of opportunity that apply to most firms, even if they have taken significant steps to improve operations. It seems that there are always opportunities to do even more. Consider these:
- Improve Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE). Downtime is deadly. Take a page out of the Colognia Press book — the company went from about 20% uptime to more than 50% uptime by simply changing out its plates and platemaking system. “With the flexo plates we were using, we had excessive stop times to clean or replace plates,” says Bohdan Holona, manager of desktop publishing. “For long-run jobs, this meant half of the time to produce the job was downtime. Now we can run a full 10 kilometer job without stopping. We even ran a 22-hour job with one set of plates, no stops, and very consistent quality from beginning to end. It’s been amazing!”
- Consider implementing fixed color palette printing. By shifting to a process printing approach using up to seven ink colors, you can minimize the need for acquiring, managing and storing a large inventory of spot color inks. Using a fixed palette of inks means even more improvement in OEE, as makeready and job changeover times are significantly reduced, since there is no need to wash up the press between jobs. Plus, using a fixed ink palette also makes it easier to run combo jobs. Of course, process printing with up to seven colors requires plates that deliver precise registration and clean ink transfer to assure excellent quality in the highlights and midtones while still delivering required ink laydown for solid areas.
- Find a partner willing to invest in you. Unfortunately, there are too many suppliers in the marketplace that consider a sale to be “one and done.” To truly transform your business, you need to find suppliers that have demonstrated they truly partner with their customers. This is where talking to your peers can be helpful. If you are interested in a particular supplier, ask for references, and then follow up with them. You’ll quickly find out whether customer experiences live up to expectations.
Asahi Photoproducts will, of course, be at Labelexpo Europe. You can find us on Stand 5A34. We hope you will make us a stop on your journey to better performance and improved profitability. We especially want to show you how our flexo plates are different. Not only do we have a plate type for just about every application, but most of them feature Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer, a unique plate technology with low surface energy that is specifically engineered to transfer all remaining ink to the print substrate. This delivers stunning graphical quality and improves overall production efficiencies. And these plates are ideal for fixed color palette printing.
See you at the show!