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Folding carton press advancements

Nov 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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Recently I had the opportunity to test several new large-format — 57-inch and larger — presses going into the folding carton market. The test results as well as productivity measurements, and even print quality measurements, were impressive. I found that the data begs the question, “Is it worth keeping an old press or rebuilding it?”

Here is a short review of the press results:

  1. Dry solids: Even and virtually no visible streaks.
  2. Wet solids: No streaks.
  3. Image fit: As good, if not better than, on 100-lb. coated paper.
  4. Ghosting: Unbelievable, hardly visible, Delta E of 0.01.
  5. Streaking: None visible to the eye.
  6. Print quality: As good as 100-lb. coated paper.

Keep in mind that we were printing 0.012 and 0.024 SBS board.

The quality of cartons is increasing dramatically as the demands for productivity have jumped. Thus, rebuilding older equipment is, to me, difficult to justify. Operating a press at 8,000 iph today is just not good enough — we need to operate at 15,000 iph and higher. What surprises me is that the new presses actually print better at higher (even full) speed. This is a definite change from the past.

In addition, many of the advances available can dramatically improve color consistency.

I consider it most difficult to justify rebuilding older folding carton presses.

Raymond J. Prince, NAPL partner consultant, is a leading expert in pressroom technical and operational issues. Contact him at (605) 941-1492 or