Causing the real problem are runs that are too long for digital but too short for profitability.
Today’s web offset presses offer capabilities that can turn marginal short-run jobs into sustainable, profitable ones. With high productivity and fast, low-cost plate production and make ready, web offset is far more able than flexo to address short lead times and run lengths.
Print quality reinforces the case with greater colour control and a standardised process, as does the ability to handle a wide variety of substrates, including those as fine as nine microns at high speeds.
Add in variable sleeve technology and numerous options for integrating flexo, gravure and even digital stations – such as the Goss Sunday Vpak – and the result is a ‘hybrid’ solution combining all the economical and quality advantages of web offset without any compromise on processes such as coating, which flexo and gravure are inherently good at.
The traditional flexible packaging sector is under great pressure; there is no doubt about that. Accurately identifying and addressing the causes of this pressure is what will differentiate those who preserve their margins. It’s is an exciting market with a bright future for those able to embrace the challenge.