In the run-up to Christmas and with the summer rush behind them, many printing businesses start giving thought to how to invest their new capital budget for 2018. The last year has seen many changes and emerging trends that are transforming the face of the printing industry. Greater levels of automation, quick Job switch facilities, faster presses and greater cost effectiveness for digital print are just some of the changes that are taking the industry by storm.
Maybe you have felt the effects of these technologies indirectly by coming up against competitors armed with the new equipment, or you may have seen some of the new kit demonstrated at one of this year’s trade expos? Whatever the reason behind your interest in new flexo press technology, there has never been a better time to invest, with the price of new technology dropping in real terms and business finance still being extremely cheap.
Here is a brief guide to choosing the right type of flexo press for your 2018 investment.
Understand Your Business Requirements For The Next Five Years
One of the biggest mistakes we see time and again is businesses investing in a flexo press for their current needs. It is important, of course, for a new press to comfortably accommodate your needs, as this is often one of the driving factors behind the desire to upgrade your capacity.
However, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If you’re going to invest in a new press, do so with the next five years’ growth in mind. Look not only at the volumes of work you are likely to take on, but the kind of orders. What trajectory is your business travelling in? For instance, many printing businesses are finding they are taking on a greater number of short volume print runs. If this trend applies to you, a straight up traditional flexo press may not be the best choice, as they are not known for their flexibility or cost effectiveness on short print runs. You may wish to go Servo or entirely digital, or invest in a hybrid digital inkjet press with flexographic features.
Choose The Right Hardware
Once you understand what you want your press to achieve, you can shop around for the type of equipment you want. You can start your search online, or you may want to visit one or more of the printing industry trade shows that take place throughout the year. At many of the leading exhibitions, manufacturers such as ourselves have working models of the latest presses at our exhibition stands, allowing you to see for yourself how they work. Once you have narrowed your choices take time out to visit the manufacturers showroom, trial your live jobs and compare performance against your production benchmarks. Not only is it important to choose the right type of printing press for your business goals, it also needs to fit in with your business infrastructure. For instance, a press needs to have the right footprint to fit in with your workshop, and be manageable by your current team. There is no point investing in a press only to find you must expand to a new location, or hire another two people.
Choose The Right Manufacturer
As important as knowing what sort of press you want to invest in, is where you plan to buy it from. Remember, a new flexo press is a significant investment. A high spec press could set you back £200k or more. When spending that amount of money – whether upfront or as part of a credit plan, you want the peace of mind that you have all the support you need to make the most of your new equipment and that you are covered if something goes wrong.
We therefore strongly recommend buying a new press, as opposed to a refurbished model, and that you purchase from an established manufacturer or Agent with Proven track record for support. Always invest in a Press from recognised manufacturer. Some Far Eastern & Asian manufacturers are no doubt very good, but in our experience, it is very difficult to verify the quality of what you are buying. It’s difficult to be sure which elements of the process are outsourced, and if so to whom. Always consider after sales support which may also be a problem when dealing with a manufacturer the other side of the world. How dependable is your installation or telephone support service going to be, for instance, when there is a time zone difference and language barrier? Many new machines with latest technology will have options for internet service support for diagnostics & programmable upgrades.
Find Out More About Advances In Flexographic Printing
Despite the advances in digital printing technology, flexographic printing is still alive and well. In fact, recent hybrid technologies & servo drive systems have seen a renewal of interest in flexo presses, enhancing their traditional strengths (such as cost-effective large print runs) and minimising their weaknesses (such as long change over times for short runs). Learn more about the latest generation of flexo presses in our Ultimate Guide to Flexo Printing. The e-book contains sections on print run management, inks, automation and other topics. Click here to download a free copy.