Well, I ran out of room in the article for the experts’ thoughts on the future. It turns out five pages weren’t nearly enough for a feature article on flexo innovation. It’s my fault, really, as the topic is way too broad. We usually sharpen our focus for our features, breaking processes down to cover – individually – flexo inks, flexo plates, flexo prepress, flexo presses, and so on. Attempting to lump each element into one article was definitely a challenge, especially working with so much content. Contributors were eager to be a part of it and spoke extensively on their respective areas of expertise.
Throughout my conversations, I often had to steer the topic back to flexography, as the words “hybrid” and “digital” kept coming up. Clearly, both will play major roles in the future of label printing. But again, that wasn’t what the question was about. This leads me back to the future, meaning that question I asked and the answers I never got around to revealing in the article. It’ll make for a standalone feature one of these days, perhaps on the L&NW website. For now, though, here are some snippets of what folks had to say:
“Flexo’s future continues to be bright and filled with innovation. The solution of the screen, plate and anilox, brought together by advanced software technology, will offer genuine cross-market consistency to brands, improving quality, delivering consistent results while also reducing waste and ink costs. Flexo printers will be able to deliver more consistent print across jobs, substrates and countries, allowing them to compete and win work from gravure and digital.”
“The industry will continue to adopt more and more automation, in every way. Operation of the press has been simplified. In the electronic prepress world, software is more intelligent. Those tasks that previously were done manually are now done automatically. You don’t need a computer science degree to develop a workflow system. And, those that are created can be operated by anyone. It’s the same with automated platemaking. You don’t need highly skilled operators in the plate room. You are assured consistent, high-quality results without having to do much work.”
“As an owner of sophisticated flexo presses, you gain some advantages – namely that you are prepared for ‘The Internet of Things’ and gain a solid foundation for expanding your offering to the market within narrow web printing…Our expectation is that more converters will see a golden opportunity to invest and propel themselves into The New Tomorrow.”
Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.
Steve Katz, Editor