The ONE Blog
Kodak Flexo Forum reveals that technology advances enable Latin American printers to meet growing needs
- March 13, 2017
Advances in flexo technology are making it possible for packaging printers to achieve the quality that brands demand while allowing them to benefit from the versatility and cost effectiveness that are inherent with a flexo solution.
Attendees to the recent Kodak Flexo Forum in Cancun, Mexico learned from guest speaker Daniel Osorio, a leading flexible packaging industry consultant, the benefits of the latest flexo advancements, including those pioneered by Kodak.
Osorio stated that flexo’s inability to compete with gravure regarding quality and consistency has historically made it difficult for packaging printers to transition the most demanding jobs to flexo but recent advances are changing that story.
“Flexo has many benefits compared to rotogravure,” Osorio told the audience of Kodak’s flexo sales team, technical teams and channel partners. He cited, among other reasons, shorter runs at efficient costs, lower press equipment investments and faster prepress turnaround times.
This is of prime importance in a region where flexible packaging is growing at a staggering compound annual grown rate (CAGR) of 12.2%. Many leading brands like FritoLay, Bimbo, Arcor and AmBev are increasingly focused on introducing innovative products to meet growing consumer demands, achieving global consistency and creating cross-media campaigns to preserve the integrity of their brand.
Osorio, owner of DANIR, an extrusion and flexography consulting company, also outlined several trends that translate into opportunities for flexo solution providers. One area where flexo printers struggle is meeting the brands’ needs for brighter printed whites, cleaner, saturated colors and the exact replication of design files. However, Osorio said he had personally witnessed instances where Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX System has helped printers to address these specific challenges, setting it apart from other flexo solutions.
Growth in the highly competitive and expansive snack food market, which in Mexico and Brazil is growing between 5% and 7% each year, is driving a need for flexo printers to increase line counts and make greater use of expanded color gamut (ECG) printing. These are two top opportunities for flexo printers in Latin America, Osario said. As flexo printers make greater use of process printing (using anywhere from 4 to 7 process colors), strive to exactly replicate design files, reproduce the full tonal range necessary to achieve life-like quality and add depth to imagery, they require technical solutions that enable them to achieve an extremely high level of color consistency. Kodak was the first to introduce “digital flat-top-dots” to the industry and a highly differentiated film-based platemaking solution, which allows for more precise and consistent results. While the market has followed Kodak’s lead and moved to flat top dots, it is unable to replicate the advanced technology represented by Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX Thermal Imaging Layer (TIL) that drives an unprecedented level of predictability and repeatability.
Osorio explained that ECG is beneficial to packaging printers for a variety of reasons as it reduces costs for the brands by leveraging process colors rather than spot colors. In addition, it increases productivity within the shop by minimizing press downtime from the reduced number of ink changes that are necessary which keeps the press running longer and reduces waste.
For flexo printers, ECG has been a challenge for a variety of reasons, not limited to color consistency –limited achievable gamut, insufficient densities, ineffective line reproduction and registration issues are just a few. As more brands recognize the opportunity to reduce costs and bring products to market quicker by replacing spot colors with process colors, the multi-faceted benefits of the FLEXCEL NX System make Kodak technology an ideal choice for ECG printing.
As packaging printers in Latin America work to help brand clients achieve their goals, it’s clear there is great opportunity in the region for flexo, for flexible packaging printers to grow their businesses and for the adoption of Kodak’s advanced flexo technology. For more information on the Flexcel NX technologies visit www.kodak.com/go/nxtechnology.
The Forum moves to Europe next. Stay tuned for more.