The flexographic printing linkage processing production line has been increasingly used in folding carton processing, and has become the fastest-growing printing processing method, which has brought tremendous momentum to the development of the carton processing industry. Even in some areas where the carton processing market is growing the slowest, there has been a greater development.
Some processors still do not think that post-press processing such as die-cutting, waste removal, and forming processing is a vital part of flexographic printing production. However, only the carton that has been die-cut, waste-discharged, and formed can have actual packaging and transportation properties, and it can be regarded as a truly practical packaging. Imperfect finishing actually makes perfect printing meaningless.
There are still many factors restricting the processing efficiency of carton processing plants. For example, whether to use sheet paper or roll paper to feed paper, whether to use circular die-cutting or flat die-cutting, to use online die-cutting or off-line die-cutting, etc., will directly affect the production capacity of the entire factory. The interests of the enterprise and the ability to serve customers.
Comparison of sheet paper and web processing
In the carton processing industry, the processing technology of single-fed paper feeding, multi-machine offset printing, and flat die cutting is still occupying a large market share. The process flow is:
Paper roll-single sheet-pause-printing-pause-rushing-pause-die cutting-pause-waste discharge-processing the carton
From the perspective of capital investment and labor cost, if we still operate a carton processing factory in this mode, we will definitely face tremendous pressure.
Therefore, if the existing sheet-fed carton processors want to stay ahead of the competition, they can only take two approaches: one is to achieve the highest possible production speed with the existing equipment; the other is to achieve mass processing Low-cost production, such as combining multiple cartons of different specifications for processing.
High equipment investment costs, time-consuming printing and live conversion, and the difficulty of managing multiple sets of processing equipment at the same time, especially the difference in speed matching between printing and post-press processing, are continuously reducing single-fed offset printing + flat die cutting The proportion in carton processing.
The typical flexographic printing connection processing flow is the mode in which the web material enters the printing part directly, and then the processed finished product is output from the other end. The process flow is:
Paper roll-printing + die cutting-finished carton
Obviously, this production method reduces capital investment, die cutting consumption and labor input, and shortens the time it takes for finished products to reach customers. This is very different from the multiple processing procedures in the processing of single paper cartons, which are repeated on and off the machine.
After realizing this difference, and considering the requirements of the processing period, the following results can be compared: offset printing requires 5 sets of printing equipment, while flexographic printing requires only one set of printing equipment; offset printing requires 6 processes, The flexographic printing process only requires two procedures; the offset printing process ultimately requires 10 to 12 workers, while the flexographic printing process only requires 2 to 3 workers. The pros and cons of manufacturability are obvious.
Comparison of round die-cutting and flat die-cutting
Whether it is a sheet-fed or web printing method, if it is equipped with a flat die-cutting, there will be some defects in the processability of the subsequent processing. Therefore, the choice of die-cutting technology has become the second most important determinant in carton processing.
Although the price of the round die-cutting die is still higher than that of the flat die-cutting die, the gradual decrease in the price of the round die-cutting die and the gradual improvement of its reliability have made its popularity continue to expand. So far, more and more carton processors have realized the superiority of the circular die-cutting processing method, which is mainly reflected in the higher average processing speed and the similar consistency of the processing technology (rotary printing + circular press Round die cutting), lower investment and recognition of simple and quick preparation.
From Table 1, it is easy to see the cost advantage of the circular die-cutting method. In terms of equipment investment, the price of one flat die-cutting machine is enough to buy multiple round die-cutting machines. Although the price of the round die-cutting plate is slightly higher, its investment can be postponed. Only when the special carton processing order is actually received, the mold needs to be purchased. Furthermore, the modern circular die-cutting plate has been manufactured so accurately that most of the pre-press preparation work is completed in the mold processing factory. Waiting for the preparation work to cease to exist in printing companies, printing companies only need to use a thin piece of double-sided tape for gluing the plate, which actually reduces the cost.
Of course, the most important of all factors is still production efficiency. Compared with the linkage flat die-cutting process, the production efficiency of the round die-cutting process is much higher. After successfully adopting new methods such as reducing cutting blanks, the success factor of carton processing and production is the number of processing per unit time, that is, how to improve production efficiency. Although the combination of flat-bed die-cutting and web printing technology also has a higher processing speed, the higher equipment maintenance costs, the difficulty of die-cutting and waste removal, and the difficulty of registering make the actual processing and production capacity incomparable. Circular die-cutting processing.
Of course, circular die cutting is not a panacea. Large-format printed small carton processing and production using flat die-cutting technology still has advantages, and in some aspects it even exceeds the processing capacity of narrow web + round die-cutting technology.
It should be noted that there are many types of circular die-cutting processing equipment, which requires considerable knowledge to make a successful choice.
Solid die-cutting plate and magnetic die-cutting plate
The solid die-cutting version of steel alloy has been the most important die-cutting version used in circular die-cutting for the past 20 years. In the past, die-cutting plates were expensive. Considering that carton processors should continue to maintain their competitive advantages, the price of molds has been significantly reduced in recent years, almost to the point where carton processors no longer need to consider too much. The mold manufacturing process has also been advanced to the point where it can be delivered within a few days (whereas it used to take several weeks, or even a few months for large molds), the processing precision of the mold is getting higher and higher, and the mold delivery All the die-cutting preparations have been completed before delivery.
Although the mold manufacturing process is continuously reducing the cost of molds, for some carton processors and certain production conditions, the physical die-cutting plate still has some shortcomings. In order to make up for this as quickly as possible, mold manufacturers have accelerated the development of flexible die-cutting plates, that is, magnetic die-cutting plates. It uses a magnetic roller to fix the die-cutting plate.
The development of magnetic die-cutting plate is very rapid, the main reason is its low price. The price of a magnetic die-cutting plate is only about 25%-30% of the price of a physical die-cutting plate. Through the application in recent years, the magnetic die-cutting plate has established its position in the processing of ultra-small carton boxes. Especially when the carton manufacturer is not sure whether a certain carton can be mass-produced, it can be applied to the trial production of carton samples, test products, etc. Generally speaking, if carton processors can reasonably calculate the production volume of less than 8 million cartons per year, they can use magnetic die-cutting plates. When the annual output is greater than 8 million cartons, they can use physical die-cutting. The version is more suitable.
Two differences should be noted here. First, most of the die-cutting processing of magnetic die-cutting plates requires an auxiliary process or a waste box, which is different from the physical die-cutting plate processing. The solid die-cutting plate has been equipped with an integrated pin-type waste discharge part, so it has advanced features in simplicity, reliability and processing speed; second, the magnetic die-cutting plate cannot be reground after the die-cutting blade is passivated However, the solid die-cutting plate can be repeatedly ground 3 to 5 times after the normal die-cutting blade is passivated. This is the reason for choosing different die-cutting plates with the processing quantity of 8 million cartons as mentioned earlier.