Post-press takes centre stage

This article was first published in the March 2021 issue of Australian Printerby Graffica director Neil Southerington

For printers looking at getting into the booming packaging market place, the printing part is the easy bit! Just like display, the packaging design and concept is becoming extremely important as it impacts a customer’s decision making process.

However, this part is often out of a printer’s hands, but what they have to know – just by looking at the layout – is what finishing is required.

Is it a simple die-cut and straight line glued carton? If so, most post-press carton finishing companies can do this competitively if it turns out to be a 4/6 corner glued job as the outsourcing options reduce and the cost gets higher.

Depending on the complexity of the design, the die forme cost will vary significantly. Then, there is stripping; if a carton is printed 16 up, with windows that need pushing out, and it is die cut without stripping in-line, there could be many hours of manual labour to do this at a high cost. All these facets of post-press finishing need to be taken into account before even quoting the job.

Cylinders and clam shell die cutters are old school, very slow without stripping abilities and the latter dangerous for the untrained hand. On the other hand, modern die cutters are fast, safe easy to operate and able to strip in-line.

We find that our Century semi-auto die cutters in the 1300 / 1450 / 1650 / 1850 / 2100mm sizes are proving very popular with five machines installed in Melbourne and Sydney, one on the way and two currently being installed.

These machines have and will be replacing other outdated machines, but still retain the advantage of being able to process carton board corrugated and plastics. The Century semi-auto die cutters are suitable for both display and packaging work.

One of these machines with a person operating it will do the work of four clam shell cutters with four people and many cutting tables. As such, this is one lucrative area of business within the industry with relatively low cost entry costs and a fast ROI.

Printers have to be aware of what the post-press job requires for it to be finished properly, and in a cost-effective manner. They have to question themselves, for example, if the stock needs to go through a folder gluer with cold glue. Getting the expertise of a specialist finisher could be the way forward for a business new to this space, at least initially.

In addition, the speed of delivery is important and outsourcing all over the place is fraught with danger. Businesses either need to stick with a finishing supplier that can do all that’s required in house, or buy their own equipment and stick within the range of that equipment.

When looking to move forward and future proof, businesses need to be aware that minimum orders and long lead times are no longer acceptable, especially as run lengths undoubtedly continue to fall and the box buyer wants the products on time, and doesn’t want to waste his own space storing boxes they are not ready to use.

In the corrugated carton area, this is already available as we sell a range of fully automated box makers with a set time of under a minute and tool less, and glued in-line. Jobs of five, 50 or even 500 are now a reality.

Century products are supplied in Australia by Graffica and include a range of flatbed die cutters for carton board and corrugated from 800mm wide through to 2100mm. The larger 1650, 1850 and 2100 machines do not use gripper prongs, so a wide variety of stock can be processed.

The Century machines are available in full auto and semi auto.

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