Modern flexography printers are the most advanced and reliable of printing technologies on the market today. Today’s flexographic printers can print up to 200m of product per minute, far faster than other printing technologies. As well, there are a range of inks that can be used with flexo-printing machines, including UV, solvent and water-based. These characteristics are what make the flexo-printer such a highly versatile and practical piece of machinery.
You may be considering the purchase of a flexo press for your own business. If this is the first time you’re considering such a purchase, you will discover you have dozens of choices of model available to you. Not only that, but these machines are now also made by manufacturers in several countries. So how do you go about ensuring you get the right flexo-printing machine for your needs? It really boils down to three important questions.
1) Is Flexo The Most Financially-Feasible Option?
The first question to ask before you even begin your search for flexo-printers is whether this technology is the best option for you in terms of cost. This kind of equipment can cost a considerable amount due to the size and complexity of some machines. The best way to determine what kind of budget you will need for the machine you want is to consider those factors which have an influence on the cost.
For example, the level of sophistication can vary from press to press. Some machines are almost completely automated. However, these highly-automated machines will also cost more to purchase. The same is true of the number of colour options; the more colours that are available, the higher the cost.
The drive system of a flexo-press is another determining factor. Here too, the level of automation comes into play. Presses having a full servo drive have more sophisticated components and are able to monitor themselves, as well as adjust automatically for things like print speed, register and tension. Non-servo drives, on the other hand, do contain some simple automation, but are operated manually on an open loop system.
There are also additional options which you can purchase for your press. These include conveyor systems, web cleaners and video inspection systems, all of which can add significantly to your overall cost. All should be carefully considered to see whether they are actually needed before deciding to add them to your purchase.
On average, a new flexo printing machine for sale with six colours can cost between £150,000 and £295,000, with specialist presses running up to or more than £600,000.
2) Should You Buy New?
In cases where the cost of a new flexo-press is prohibitive, there is an alternative, which is to purchase a refurbished or second-hand press. However, you should carefully consider whether this actually does offer better value, or if the apparent savings are illusory.
The first thing to consider is the technology of the used machine. Will it be able to offer the same options and energy efficiency, as well as the same level of print quality that modern machines can? If the technology is obsolete, you may be better off with a new press.
Purchasing a second-hand flexo-press is a lot like purchasing a used car; it may have mechanical or technical issues that may not be apparent at the outset, but may rear their heads a few months into ownership. For your business, this can mean significant risk in terms of meeting client project deadlines. In addition, if replacement parts are not available for your desired machine, one breakdown can mean a lot of money wasted.
Finally, your refurbished press needs to be upgradable. If it isn’t, your machine will soon become that much more obsolete, putting you further behind your competitors.
3) Is A Cheaper Manufacturer Really Better?
The country where a flexo-press is manufactured makes a big difference to its cost and quality. These days, there are many options for low-cost manufacturers of flexo-presses.
Countries like Taiwan, South Korea and China all offer new flexo printing presses at lower costs than Western manufacturers. The quality of these machines will vary quite widely and you are unlikely to find any new technology or original designs. In fact, most of the Far Eastern printers we have seen appear to be reverse-engineered copies of older British and American presses.
The UK remains one of the leading markets for the manufacture of flexo-printing equipment. UK companies were the first to develop modern flexo-printing techniques and continue to innovate. European and American companies also produce excellent flexo-printing equipment.
The Ultimate Guide To Flexo-Printing
At the end of the day, the flexo-press you choose should be able to offer you long term value for money. It should not only operate reliably and efficiently, but should also leave room for future upgrades. Selecting a British manufacturer like Focus Labels ensures that your machine is designed and built to the highest standards by highly-qualified engineers.
More information about the latest flexo-printing technologies is included in our free Ultimate Guide to Flexo-Printing. Download your copy today to access professional advice from our experienced engineering team.