Plastics Decorating - July August 2011

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Today’s decoraTing & assembly source


Building Community at Pogue Label & Screen Hot-Plate Welding Gains Speed SGIA Show Preview G7 Solutions for Screen & Inkjet Printing

See beyond the name... ...and take a lookrat our eight colorV XD070

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w Quick Print Job Change Over - stores and recalls print jobs with a Vtouch of a button. w Print Queue - automatically transitions from one print job to another. w Color RIP - uses ICC profiles for accurate color reproduction by automatically generating process color separations. w Variable Data - create image templates containing variable data fields such as: text, barcode, logos, etc. w Production Modes - supports continuous and intermittent printiVng modes. w Customized Software Solutions - can interface with an ERP system Vand/or integrate witVh existing automation workflows.

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SGIA Show Preview

The 2011 SGIA Expo will be bringing “Big Imaging to the Bayou” on October 19-21. These SGIA exhibitors may be of interest to those in the plastics decorating industry.

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Assembly Precise, High-Speed Hot-Plate Welding

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Pogue Label: Good Partner, Good Neighbor

Hot-plate welding has been refreshed with the application of current technology and innovation, with the goals of attaining precision motion control of platen surfaces, heat management and increased process speed.

Association page 23 Letter from the Chairman – Paul A. Uglum, Delphi Electronics & Safety Save the Date for TopCon 2012 Technology When is it Time to Digitally Decorate?

Pogue Label & Screen has utilized its expertise in pressure-sensitive label application and container decorating to create a niche in its St. Louis community. At the same time, the company has dedicated itself to helping revitalize an inner city neighborhood.

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Industrial markets have quickly recognized the advantages of digitally printing their products, but entering the digital market requires careful consideration of several factors.

Focus page 36 Similar Has its Advantages: G7 Solutions for Screen & Inkjet Printing

The G7 methodology for the printing of four-color images in the screen and inkjet printing processes is an important change. The G7 process offers a way to control color to achieve a similar appearance even when the substrates, solid inks, resolution and format are different.

Management Sacred Cows in an Economic Downturn

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Ask the Expert Polymer Clichés for Pad Printing

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What better time to grind sacred cows into hamburger than during an economic downturn?

Three common questions regarding polymer clichés are answered by a pad printing expert.

DEPARTMENTS Viewpoint Product Focus

Page 4 Page 14

Industry Product Marketplace Calendar Ad Index

Page 26 Page 34 Page 44 Page 46 Page 46

(Screen Printing Equipment and Supplies)

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Wow. The summer has flown by. Before we know it, fall conferences and shows will be upon us. I hope we see many of our readers and advertisers this fall. We will have booths and magazine bins at PLASTEC Midwest and SGIA Expo, and will have magazines at Pack Expo. Unbelievably, we've already begun to plan for NPE for next year. It will be very interesting to see how the Orlando location will work for the show. Through the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division, we also have just announced the site and tentative time for our next Topical Conference. Be sure to mark your calendar for June 2012, in Indianapolis, IN. We determined that Indianapolis is centrally located for plastics operations involved with decorating and assembly and would be a perfect choice for the event. We will add some new twists to the conference in 2012, so stay tuned for further details soon. This issue is packed with great articles and information. The Technology article explores digital inkjet printing for plastic parts, a Focus article explains the G7 color system, an Assembly article on hot-plate welding describes the ways the process has gained speed and precision and an Ask the Expert on pad printing answers common questions about polymer plates. This issue also contains a full Show Preview on the SGIA show, listing companies that will be exhibiting decorating equipment and supplies. This is a great reference during the show for those attending to help summarize the booths you should visit. Again, I hope to visit with many of you this fall at the upcoming shows and conferences. We continue to thank our readers and advertisers for their support of Plastics Decorating!

Jeff Peterson, Managing Editor,

July/August 2011

ISSN: 1536-9870 Published by: Peterson Publications, Inc.

2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite 101 Topeka, KS 66614 (785) 271-5801 (785) 271-6404 (fax)

Website: Email: Publisher/Managing Editor Jeff Peterson Assistant Editors Kym Conis Dianna Brodine Technical Editor Scott Sabreen, The Sabreen Group

Art Director Eric J. Carter Graphic Artists Becky Arensdorf Cara Pederson Sales Director Gayla Peterson

Plastics Decorating is published quarterly. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without written consent from the publisher.

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Pogue Label

Good Partner, Good Neighbor By Dianna Brodine

In 1998, Michael Meuser purchased Pogue Products, Inc. from the son of company founder Clyde Pogue. Initially a recycler of glass bottles, the 65-year-old company had transitioned into silk screening plastic bottles in the 1970s and was operating out of a small storefront with seven employees. Meuser, with a background in both screen printing and plastic container distribution, decided the opportunity was too good to pass up. Within the first year of ownership under the name Pogue Label & Screen, Meuser moved the growing company to a larger facility and added a second shift. With 25 employees, a corner on the contract bottle decorating market in St. Louis and a dedication to the neighborhood in which the company is located, Pogue Label & Screen is a major asset to its community and its customers. Taking on the Jobs that Aren’t Easy As its name implies, Pogue Label & Screen is a provider of both label application and direct screen printing to its clients. Pad printing also is available for decorating situations in which screen printing isn’t appropriate. As the only container decorator in the St. Louis area, Pogue supports a varied client list for both small runs within a 300 mile radius of its facility and a national client base that includes high-volume production. Pogue employees are trained on both automatic and semiautomatic screen printing equipment, adapting the machinery to the job at hand. “Our growth has put us into the high-volume automatic arena,” explained Meuser, “but we still love running our Dubuit D-150 semi-automatic presses.” Pogue’s automatic presses are primarily OMSO Novax units, including both single and multi-color platforms. Meuser acknowledged that Pogue isn’t typical in regard to both its machinery and its client base. “We really fall in the middle in some respects,” he said. “We’re not one of the big guys with all automatic machines and a high-visibility clientele, but we’ve

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grown beyond running only semi-automatics thanks to our production volume.” Even Pogue’s product mix is spread across many industries, with applications in automotive, medical, cosmetics and more. While silk screening remains a major portion of the business, Pogue has carved an impressive niche in the pressure-sensitive labeling arena. “When I bought Pogue, the trend was moving away from direct printing and moving to pressure-sensitive labeling, so we purchased a label applicator,” Meuser said. Now with four labeling lines that can handle projects on rounds, ovals, squares and closures, including one line specifically dedicated to difficult-to-apply small diameter containers, Pogue has put its resources into labeling non-standard applications that its customers can’t complete in-house, adding value to the partner relationship the company has strived to create. “We can label cylinders with a diameter of a pencil up to 2.5-gallon handleware,” he stated. “We take on the jobs that aren’t easy – spot labels, front/back applications, caps and jars. We try to find those areas where a filler or end product manufacturer will need help to be successful.” Focusing on its expertise in label application, Pogue does not print the labels it utilizes, but instead acts as a one-stop shop by sourcing the labels to multiple printers, simplifying the purchasing process for its customers. “With the number of labels that we buy and the experience that we have, we can provide labels cheaper than our customers can get them because of volume discounts and printing efficiencies,” Meuser explained. “The benefit to the customer is that they know the exact cost per bottle, without any need to order excess labels for production scrap or inventory.” Pogue’s deep understanding of the best way to set up labels for printing, as well as the overages needed for each project, have allowed the company to build successful partnerships with several label printers. Using the best printer

for each project based on project specifications, Pogue oversees the label printing process while also absorbing all of the scrap, storage and shipping costs to create a turnkey experience for the customers. The company now sells millions of labels each year. “We can offer our customers a single price for each labeled container without worrying about freight costs, inventory or scrap,” said Meuser. “They just send in their bottles and we take care of the rest.” Interestingly, Pogue is now seeing a market return to silk screening, thanks to consumer demand. Market research has shown that consumers believe a silk screened bottle is more eco-friendly than a bottle with pressure-sensitive labeling. In addition, consumer research indicates that glossier ink is perceived as ‘less green’, so Pogue has added a matte finish compound to ink for one of its customers. “I’m not sure actual data backs those assumptions, but perception is driving the market,” noted Meuser. Dedicating Itself to Community In addition to the company’s efforts in customer service and production quality, Pogue Label has been recognized both locally and nationally for its efforts in community redevelopment. In 2003, Pogue received the Award for Business Excellence from Missouri Governor Bob Holden and in 2006, it was recognized as St. Louis Business of the Year – one of 12 selected from 11,000 businesses in the city of St. Louis. More recently, Pogue was listed on the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) 100 in 2010, a nationwide list of the 100 fastest growing companies in U.S. inner cities. “That was very exciting,” exclaimed Meuser. “Pogue was nominated by the St. Louis Development Corp., and after the nomination we had to meet some pretty stringent criteria, including verification of our financial growth over a five year period.” ICIC was founded by Michael Porter, a professor with Harvard Business School, in 1994. The nonprofit organization works to support and strengthen inner city regions and recognizes businesses doing the same through its annual list, which is published in Bloomberg Business Week.

including a rural area in Illinois where a business park was under construction. Then he looked at moving his company into the south side of the city. “One of the biggest draws for me,” said Meuser, “was that this facility was one block away from major public transportation. Many of my employees rely on public transportation to get to work. I found it difficult to move to a rural area when that move would immediately have those employees in the job-seeking line.” Meuser refused to sacrifice the years of service from his staff, as well as their impact on the company. “We would have lost that business know-how and experience, and we also would have lost the culture of the company. So I paid a little more for the ground than I would have if I had moved to the rural area, but the trade off wasn’t something I could live with.” Meuser launched an extensive renovation of the inner city location, including an upgrade to facility lighting, the addition of offices and a lunchroom and a complete HVAC overhaul. “I feel very strongly that a business is a neighbor, and that includes treating your employees fairly and investing in the facility to improve the property values,” he said. “We will give up a bit on the bottom line to do right by people and make the neighborhood stronger.” One such decision was the addition of health insurance and a bonus program for employees. “In our industry, we are not at the highest end of the wage scale. We’re also the only contract decorator for bottles in St. Louis. Employees are not going to come to us with experience in this trade, but they bring other qualities that I find equally valuable – including a good track record with attendance, a willingness to learn and a dedication to our business – and I want them to feel rewarded.” Despite its willingness to invest in its employees, Pogue was not immune from the recession. “From our perspective, it was immediate and crossed all industry lines,” said Meuser. Reacting quickly,

“The awards are very nice,” explained Meuser, “although in a pragmatic way, they don’t pay the bills. However, they are reassurance that what we’re doing is right, particularly the things that involve community.” Pogue Label is located in a St. Louis neighborhood that, in Meuser’s words, has been “down for a while.” When looking for a new facility in 2005, Meuser evaluated several different areas,

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Automatic presses allow Pgoue to accommodate high-volume labeling projects.

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Pogue employed various strategies to reduce its labor costs – its primary expense – from layoffs to reduced hours to temporary pay cuts. “Our employees watch the news and read the papers, so they weren’t surprised when we initiated meetings with them to discuss options,” he explained. Pogue’s employees responded well and morale stayed very high. The company even had t-shirts printed that said ‘Tough times don’t last – tough teams do!’ “I am proud of the fact that by working together we were able to bounce back quickly, and we had our best year ever in 2010,” stated Meuser. Integrating Vertically for Growth With the recent economic downturn in mind, Meuser looked to increase the company’s value to its customers and add security for the company itself. In January of 2010, Meuser became a partner in a contract liquid filling operation called ProPack Packaging. “We added additional warehousing space to our current facility and moved ProPack in with Pogue,” he explained. “This vertical integration strategy has paid dividends by allowing us the advantage of filling decorated bottles in the next room, reducing freight costs for our customers.” Meuser admitted that his was certainly not a unique strategy, as many contract fillers have added screen printing services to their operations. However, “our research showed we could capture additional market share and increase our ability to control our own destiny by offering a one-stop decorating and fill option.” Understanding that decorators need to look upstream or downstream to become a one-stop shop, Meuser had looked at blow molding as an expansion option. However, the company’s St. Louis location is within 200 miles of a dozen blow molders. “There are a lot of molders in this area that we support, and I wasn’t excited about getting into competition with them,” he said. “Also, the capital outlay to get into blow molding can be an impediment.”

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ProPack, however, was a perfect fit and the partnership has created additional opportunities for both businesses. “It has been a real home run,” Meuser stated. “Looking at the size of our company and the clientele we have, I don’t need to support 100,000-gallon batches, but if I can support a 50,000-piece run and offer filling as well, it’s a perfect fit for us.” Increasing Its Partnership Value Added to the expertise it has in label application, Pogue Label & Screen has increased its value to its labeling partners in the form of excellent service. “Our customers consistently mention our ability to provide quick turns on their orders, and our staff understands the importance of customer service in the buying equation,” explained Meuser. When customers call Pogue, the phone is answered by a person, rather than a recording. The company’s unique position in both the automatic and semi-automatic production gives it the ability to help with a test market run of 2,000 bottles, and then run 200,000 for a full product launch. And Pogue prides itself on its ability to produce jobs that its customers find difficult. “We’re considered manufacturers, but we really stress to our staff that we are in the service business. That mentality permeates all levels of the organization,” said Meuser.

Pogue increases its worth to its silk screen customer base with a dedication to educating purchasing agents on the screen printing process during ‘bottle school’. In less than a day, Pogue employees teach the ins and outs of decorating, while focusing on the process of silk screening bottles. “Silk screening is a bit of an art form,” explained Meuser. “We describe everything from pre press to tooling, colors, setting up a press, color shifts, densities and types of inks. At the end of the day, I have a buyer who is educated about the process.” An educated buyer simplifies the process for the employees at Pogue, who encounter fewer questions when a project is sent for application. More than that, the buyer has a greater comfort level with all aspects of a project, from product design to knowing he has chosen the right partner for the job. In the end, Meuser sets the tone at Pogue Label & Screen. A committed business resident of the inner city of St. Louis and a champion of the employees who help his company succeed, he has admittedly made decisions that caused his financial consultant to cringe. His forward-thinking, neighborhoodbuilding attitude, however, has earned him the loyalty of employees and customers alike. “Business is something you do to pay the bills, but if you can have fun along the way, that makes it all worthwhile.” n

Webtech, Inc.

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Follow this QR code for a complete list of SGIA exhibitors.

The 2011 SGIA Expo (Specialty Printing and Imaging Technology) will be bringing “Big Imaging to the Bayou” on October 19-21, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. Each year, thousands of attendees from around the world meet with hundreds of exhibitors and industry experts showcasing the most innovative technology, applications and specialty imaging solutions. This three-day event features educational sessions, expert advice zones and several networking events. Back by popular demand, the Pre-Expo Business Development Conference on October 18 will feature a concentrated half-day program focused on maximizing profitability. On October 19-20, more than 20 educational sessions will be presented based on five diverse tracks: Graphics and Signage, Garment Decoration, Industrial Imaging, Graphics

Installers and Business Management. Attendees can choose a track or mix and match sessions to maximize professional growth opportunities. The not-to-be-missed Expert Advice Zones provide an opportunity to see demonstrations and garner advice from industry experts in the areas of Digital Apparel Production, PDAA Graphics Application, Digital Signage, Industrial Imaging, Printed Electronics, Screen Printed Apparel Training and Narrow Format. For more information, visit or call 888.385.3588.

A.W.T. World Trade, Inc. Booth # 2501 Showcasing a full line of screen printing equipment, parts and supplies, the following will be featured at SGIA 2011: Micro 2538 flatbed printer, Accu-Cure UV curing systems, Cameo 24 screen printing machines, Pro-Lite 2426 exposing unit, CureTex dryer and Tornado Ink Mixer, as well as the 3-D AM 180 printer and Accu-Cure UV 3-D bottle dryer.

1324 tabletop direct-to-substrate flatbed digital printer, the Syncro™ and Aero 90 pad printers and the RedStar™ MultiCup, SpaceFrame™ and ExpressLiner™ disposable ink cups.

Diversified Printing Techniques Booth # 2120 Offering a full line of pad printing, screen printing and hot stamping equipment and related supplies. Diversified Printing Techniques serves the product decorating and marking industry with solutions designed for reliability, ease of operation and durability. Now introducing the G-Cup, an innovative green ink cup that keeps equipment clean and tidy while consuming low levels of ink and thinner. Imprintor Booth #313 Providing economical pad printing systems that will create custom imprinting on plastics, ceramics, glass and flexible foams. These systems are ideal for small quantity printing, product sampling and business promotions, with a product line that includes the manual pad printing machine, ink sets, a plate burning system, art software and fixtures and pads, as well as a line of products to imprint. Inkcups Now Booth #2601 Exhibiting a complete line of pad printing and garment tag printing supplies and equipment. Featured products include the B150 benchtop pad printer for large tags, SI pad/screen printing ink for silicone, PowerJet portable inkjet printer for portable promotional products, CG ink for drinkware and the Cobalt 300 laser platemaker. ITW Trans Tech Booth #445 Offering decorating solutions for standard, custom and fully automated pad printing equipment, as well as digital inkjet solutions, supplies and rapid prototyping. Now featuring the InDecs™ series of industrial inkjet printers, the Direct Jet

The following SGIA exhibitors may be of interest to those in the plastics decorating industry:

Kammann USA Booth #152 Introducing the newest decorating machine for roll-to-roll web printing – the K61 Eco-LED, which features UV-LED curing for high-speed screen printing. Also featuring the K15 CNC for screen printing plastic and glass containers. Kammann’s German-engineered and manufactured equipment offers worldclass quality and registration tolerances. Mimaki USA Booth #745 Showcasing the following equipment: JV34-260 superwide format digital printer; UJF-3042 UV-LED tabletop flatbed printer;, UJF-706 UV-curable flatbed for industrial applications; JFX-1615 plus UV-LED flatbed; CJV30 Series print/cut wide-format roll-to-roll printer and TX400-1800 D on-demand digital, direct-to-fabric and transfer sublimation printer. Nazdar Booth #609 Providing a range of services and solutions for wide format digital inkjet and screen printing applications. Hear about a variety of inks, including the latest in LED curing ink technology at the booth, or visit the Industrial Zone to discover Nazdar’s latest products for membrane overlay, IMD and various industrial applications. Norcote® International Booth # 348 Introducing a new line of diazo-sensitized dual cure emulsions and screen reclamation chemicals. Norcote has partnered with top industry suppliers to offer high-quality screen mesh and durable squeegees. Discover these recent product additions and the latest developments in UV ink. Pad Print Machinery of Vermont Booth # 1645 Specializing in engineered printing solutions, Pad Print Machinery of Vermont will be demonstrating a variety of July/August 2011 11

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printing machines, including multi-color industrial digital inkjet, high-speed servo-driven pad printers and one- and two-color pad printers. Other auxiliary devices that will be featured include an infrared conveyor, a laser cliché maker and many leading-edge decorating technologies.

SAATI Print USA Booth #663 Highlighting its full line of high-quality textile and chemical products, including SAATI Hi-R mesh, SAATI emulsion and screen chemicals, films, Duralife cut and molded squeegees, Marabu Inks and screen-making equipment.

Plastics Decorating Magazine Booth #2626 Featuring the latest information and newest technologies in plastics decoration and assembly, including hot stamping, pad printing, screen and offset printing, heat transfer, in-mold decorating and more. Plastics Decorating also covers plastics assembly processes. Free subscriptions are available.

Spartanics Booth #329 Offering a range of automated equipment and products, including roll- or sheet-fed steel rule diecutting systems and laser diecutting machines. Discover Spartanics’ Finecut laser cutting machines, featuring software breakthroughs in laser controls. The Spartanics-Systec Fineprint cylinder and flatbed screen printing lines also feature advanced control software and servo drive technology.

Proell, Inc. Booth #1820 Offering formable matte lacquer screen printing ink systems particularly suited for interior automotive parts, including Matte Lacquer ATM 1 (solvent-based) and Matte Lacquer ATM 2 (water-based). Also offering NORIPHAN® XWR, an extremely high wash-out resistant IMD screen printing ink and NoriCure® MPF high gloss, deep-drawable UV curing screen printing ink with excellent adhesion to many substrates.

YUPO Corporation America Booth #1429 Featuring 100-percent recyclable, waterproof and tree-free synthetic paper, with attributes and properties that make it the perfect solution for a variety of marketing, design, packaging and labeling needs. Learn more by visiting www.yupousa. com or calling 888.873.9876. n


Pad Printing & Laser Engraving Equipment & Supplies


We put the PAD in pad printing. in 1965, Tampoprint founder Wilfried Philipp, invented the industry’s first silicone pad. Since that day, Tampoprint has worked continuously to perfect the methods and materials required to produce the finest pads possible.

Wilfried Philipp

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12 July/August 2011

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Telephone (800) 810-8896



American M&M 773.777.7889 The AM-180 cylindrical printer from American M&M is an economical, compact, easyto-use universal screen printer for 3D objects. This versatile 3D printer utilizes standard and optional tooling attachments to print on bottles and cans; buckets and pails; and elliptical, conical and spherical surfaces – virtually any object that lends itself to screen printing. Synchronized rotation, sharp stroke cutoff and close tolerance linear bearings are just a few of the engineering features to ensure sharp, accurate printing results from first to last print stroke. Flare, Inc. 800.903.5273 Flare, Inc. offers the FLARE S-Series, an automatic container screen printer, which is upgradable from one to five colors. The S-Series has the capability of screening up to 4,000 cylinders or 5,000 oval containers per hour. The printer is provided with dual-flame stations for pre-treatment and has a pre-registration station to orient the container in the proper position to begin the printing process. New upgrades to the S-Series include improved nose cone mounts and additional vacuum for better bottle handling and performance. A complete discharge manifold and tray unit provides better control of the container from upload through to the upgraded Fusion F450T Microwave UV curing, discharge or hand off to additional color unit(s). Flare provides support, training and spare parts for the SSeries, and all tooling is designed and produced by Flare. Inkcups Now 978.646.8980 Inkcups Now has introduced the ICN-M15 FP, a flatbed screen printing machine designed for easy decoration of nameplates, promotional products, panels, signs and other items up to 5” high. The printer features simple

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set-up and operation. It is equipped with a 4-way micro-adjust screen clamp system, a micro-adjust print head and a vertical motion tooling table that drops to assist the operator in unloading a product, helping to increase production speeds on even the most difficult parts. This heavy-duty machine can print images up to 17x12". The ICN-M15 FP was built as a highly productive and cost-effective machine with the flexibility to print a variety of plastic parts and products. Innovative Machines, Inc. 616.669.1649 Innovative Machines has unveiled a three-dimensional printing system that combines screen printing and pad printing. The patented MIT (Membrane Image Transfer) process makes it possible to print, using screen printing inks, three dimensional parts too large for conventional pad printing. The MIT process was originally developed by Exatec LLC, now owned by SABIC Innovative Plastics, to print automotive glazing. This hybrid system produces a thick coating deposit for improved opacity and durability. It also is possible to print conductive inks using this process. Innovative Machines offers custom industrial printing equipment based upon the MIT licensed technologies. Kammann USA 630.513.8091 Kammann’s K 15 - CNC is a family of newly designed rotary indexing screen printers with up to eight printing heads used for the decoration of cylindrical, conical, oval, flat plastic and glass bottles, cups, crème jars, cartridges, plastic tubes, etc., with a speed up to 5,400 cycles/hour. Variable article and screen movements are controlled by servo motors and CNC-axis. Data input of article-related parameters via modern touch panels allows the automatic adjustment of screen stroke, article rotation and squeegee movement. Once fixed in its tool (single capture tooling), the article travels through all printing stations. This feature enables users to decorate articles with multi-color patterns in perfect color-to-color registration without the need for a register mark or register lug. Other features include a highly

efficient UV system, and optional pre-treatment and camera inspection for efficient print quality control. Newman Printing Equipment, Inc. 847.803.8091 Newman Printing Equipment, Inc. has announced the improved Newman Cure-All UV 3D ultraviolet curing unit for containers. The new unit allows operators to simply place screen printed bottles, jars, cups, mugs, tubes or many other 3D shapes on the variable-speed belt conveyor. The items then pass through a unique zig-zag light shield and are instantly cured (dried). Built to use low energy and minimal space, each Cure-All unit is equipped with an efficient, side-mounted 2,400 watt ultraviolet system that includes an 8", 300 watts per inch, three power level lamp. OMSO North America 859.282.6676

resistance, making it an excellent choice for cosmetic and personal care items as well. Available in an easy-to-use 12-color mixing system, the 945UV series includes Ruco’s redesigned Ink Manager, an integrated scale/pc/software suite that walks the user through the process of mixing custom color shades to simulate PantoneŽ and other standards quickly and accurately. Systematic Automation, Inc. 860.677.6400 Systematic Automation has introduced a modular optical registration system for screen printing glass, plastic or stainless steel bottles. The first color is printed randomly or in relation to a bottle seam. Subsequent colors are printed in relation to the first color. The sensor finds the leading edge of the first image quickly using servo technology. Accuracy of the sensor is plus or minus two thousandths of an inch. This device is used with the Systematic Automation Model F-1 DC screen printer or can be used with any semi automatic screen printer. n

OMSO has announced the introduction of the ServoBottle high-speed bottle screen printer, the newest member in the family of servo technology decorating printers from OMSO SpA (Reggio Emilia, Italy). OMSO has successfully launched high-speed decorating for plastic tubes and cups and has now turned its attention to bottles (both plastic and glass). ServoBottle has servo-axis-controlled movements and can decorate with precision color-to-color registration (.015mm) objects of various shapes and/or sizes, up to a maximum of seven colors. Rotary in design, the small footprint (11 ft. dia.) makes ServoBottle especially invaluable where production floor space is tight. The modular design provides the ability to add or remove print heads, whether being screen, flexographic, digital or hybrid technology. Ruco USA, Inc. 866.373.7912 Ruco USA offers a full line of screen printing inks for plastics, including the RUCO series 945UV, specially designed for plastic bottle decorating where the highest opacity is required. The 945UV series was developed to adhere to PE and PP, plus all varieties of PET. This one-component system is lead-free and safe for toys and baby bottles. It features high chemical and abrasion

July/August 2011 15



PRECISE, HIGH-SPEED HOT-PLATE WELDING By Drew Jelgerhuis and Bill Reed, Extol Inc.

In general, the conventional hot-plate welding process has not kept pace with technology advancements that other widely used plastics joining processes have experienced. Hot-plate welding is known as a robust joining method which can produce strong, leak-tight assemblies in complex geometries, but the lack of sophisticated process control, minimal data acquisition capabilities and the typical slow cycle times associated with the method have relegated the process to the list of ‘least desirable’ joining method in the minds of many engineers. Extol Inc., an equipment manufacturer located in Zeeland, MI, has refreshed this dated process with the application of current technology and innovation in the Rapid Conductor series hotplate welder. The goals of attaining precision motion control of platen surfaces, heat management and increased process speed were the primary objectives of the undertaking.

3. Heat – The components are held at this position (termed ‘melt time’), allowing heat to conduct into the material, even though displacement has stopped. 4. Open – During this phase, the components are removed from the heated tooling and the heated platen is retracted. 5. Seal – Components are positioned to bring the semimolten weld joint surfaces together to form a welded surface. 6. Cool – Components are held at a position allowing the welded joint to cool and the re-solidification of the material to occur. 7. Unload – Welded assembly is removed from tooling.

Introduction A brief review of the traditional hot-plate welding process and related tooling design should prove helpful in the comparison of today’s precise, high-speed welding technology. The Process Hot-plate welding, as the name implies, involves a heated platen with heated tool ‘inserts’ and two opposing press platens comprised of non-heated tooling. The heated platen is designed to have interchangeable tooling inserts to accommodate the specific welding configuration of the parts being assembled. The temperature of the heated tooling is adjustable; a temperature range for contact hot-plate welding is approximately 350 - 900°F. The press tools also are interchangeable and are designed to precisely align and support the parts being welded. The machine design may be configured to function in either the horizontal or vertical orientation. The Process Phases Hot-plate welding has the following phases: 1. Load – Components are placed in precision, non-heated locating fixturing which ensure adequate support and accurate alignment. 2. Melt – Both components are automatically positioned to make contact against the heated tooling. The melt displacement is controlled.

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Figure 1. Traditional hot-plate weld tooling depicting a two-place set assembling two halves of a Tank on the left side and a small Fill Neck detail on the right.

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Making Precise, High-Speed Hot-Plate Welding a Reality It requires far more than the addition of servo-driven platens to achieve both precision and speed. Control of the key parameters of force, velocity, distance and heat require advanced hardware implementation and significant software sophistication. The ability to precisely control the key process variables allows for true process optimization and verification, cycle time reduction and considerable machine set-up simplification. Interesting and helpful features such as heated-platen ‘stir’ and ‘stutter’ offer additional control for difficult applications. Control of Force True control of the force exerted on the components during the heating and sealing phases of the weld process is critical. To optimize weld strength, precise force control is necessary. Traditional hot-plate weld tooling does not allow for control of – or the gauging of – the sealing pressure applied to the components. Traditional Hot-Plate Weld Tooling A brief discussion of traditional hot-plate weld tooling is necessary to recognize the control limitations. Figure 1 (at left) depicts a traditional hot-plate weld tool set. This package includes press tooling (shown at top and bottom) and the heated tooling (center). Notice the yellow details; these are rigid, mechanical stops. This is an important characteristic of traditional hot-plate welding. These stops are used to limit how far each part is displaced into the heated tooling; the same stops on the press tooling then are utilized to control the final seal position. It is necessary in traditional hot-plate welding to design these stops into the tooling to control the travel of the platens due to the limitations of hydraulic or pneumaticallycontrolled machinery.

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Figure 2. Force vs. Weld Time Graph


 p. 19


During the initial heat/melt phase, both depicted parts make initial contact with the heated platen with modest force. At the final melt position, the force drops off for both machines as both stop advancing the parts into the heated tooling. During the open phase, the force on the components is zero (notice the open time is greatly reduced with the Rapid Conductor). During the seal phase, the initial low force contact builds in both machine configurations. Without tool stops, the final position is achieved with force that is consistent and measured. With traditional welding, the contact of the integrated tool stops determines the final position; the press force then is partially transferred through these stops and subsequently, the force applied to the weld joint drops, resulting in the sealing force transmitted to the parts at an unknown value. This is problematic due to the significance of seal force – as recognized in all welding technologies. This critical controlling parameter must be programmable and measurable to attain optimized and consistent results. Traditional-style mechanical stops have no place in today’s demanding manufacturing environment. Closely related to the relevance of force control is the distinct advantage in controlling velocity of the platen movements, especially during the seal phase. Controlling the rate in which the force is applied and at which the final seal dimension is achieved has been shown to dramatically improve strength and seal qualities in many applications. Control of Heat… and the Heated Surface One detail that hasn’t changed in this process revolution is that heat is still required to melt plastic! To achieve consistent weld quality and to reduce cycle time, this heat needs to be presented in an isothermal manner. Without isothermal control, the heated tooling may possess temperature variation, which could cause extended heat times and potential part damage due to excessive exposure to the proximity of the heated platen. A robust thermal control system is required. Traditional hot plate welders provide one or two heater zones. At a minimum, Extol implements five individually programmable heater zones in the heated platen with as many as nine zones on the larger welders. An additional element required for precise hot-plate welding is that of a very rigid and dimensionally stable heated platen. Conventional hot-plate welders typically secure only one edge of the heated platen, which results in unmanaged expansion and dimensional inconsistency. Spatial consistency is defined as “the managing of thermal expansion while rigidly securing the heat platen.” Spatial consistency allows for tight tolerance part welding and the consistent welding of complex geometry surfaces.

20 July/August 2011

A fully supported heat platen is required to control thermal expansion by designing for growth about the center of the heat plate and to eliminate cantilevering of the heat platen, thereby preventing deflection and assuring consistent contact pressure. Extol has implemented a proprietary design using a 2- and 4-way locator slide arrangement, which compensates for thermal expansion while maintaining central positioning. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Rapid Conductor Heat Platen Spatial Compensation Design Control of Speed Having considered force and heat, let’s discuss control of speed. Speed is the final ingredient for precise, high-speed hot-plate welding. It’s not just speed, but the right speed at the right position… referring to feed rates, acceleration and deceleration. As compared to pneumatic or hydraulic actuating methods, the servo motor drive allows for closed loop feedback and control of acceleration and velocities. This control enables the process to be precisely tuned for a given application. Servo controls tied to a graphical user interface provide simple, touchscreen programmable capability of key process variables. Examples of Features Tool designs no longer require mechanical stops. This reduces design time, material cost and assembly time. Programmable positioning of the servo-controlled platens eliminates the antiquated and tedious process of shimming the stops, too. An example of the value of the right speed at the right position is when one of the press platens would require traveling a greater distance to the heated tool than the opposing platen. To present the parts to the heated surface at the same time, independent platen control offers unique speed control; in this case, two different velocity rates will be used to ultimately present the parts to the heated platen simultaneously. Additionally, on occasion one part surface may require longer heat/melt time than the opposing. Once again, independent platen movement will allow for staggered motion to occur while ultimately minimizing open time by coordinating press movements so that the melt times end simultaneously. Fast, controlled motion of all three platens results in a minimal ‘open time’. This is significant. Extol strives to keep open time

Perfect for pad-less printing From in-plant opertions and large commercial printers serving industrial clients to innovative sign shops, Mimaki provides the cutting-edge equipment you need to take advantage of emerging and growing plastics printing markets and more. Markets that include functional and decorative printing done as the manufacturing process. Giving you more optuions per square incuh because more is wuhat we do.

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 p. 20

ASSEMBLY 1. Engineered thermal control of +/- 5⁰ F across the heated tool 2. Open time of 0.6 seconds 3. Robust, precision press and heat plate guidance provided uniform and ample seal force. 4. Welds resulted in near parent material weld strength (detailed data withheld due to competitive nature). Success was based on an isothermal platform, a very rigid machine structure, concise programmable set-up capability and impressive speed. Figure 4.

to less than one second. Minimal open time is good for cycle time, but the true benefits are in minimizing the exposure of the semi-molten weld joint to the environment and the related joint cooling. Minimizing the cooling duration naturally reduces the amount of heat required to push into the joint in anticipation of this cooling. Studies have been conducted with certain resins proving a reduction in weld strength as open time increases. Fast platen movement speeds are impressive, but could be detrimental to the quality of the weld if not equally well-controlled for deceleration and velocity transitions. Minimizing open time while controlling seal displacement is critical. Without precise control of deceleration at the beginning of the sealing phase, the molten film thickness will be displaced to the outside of the weld rib. When this molten film is not retained at the center of the weld, a ‘colder’ weld occurs and results in weaker joint. (See Figure 4 above.) Case Studies These two case studies describe how precise, high-speed hot-plate welding can overcome traditional hot plate welding limitations and alternative process liabilities. Case Study, Polysulfone (PSU) Welding Polysulfone is very difficult to hot-plate weld; usually the process is not even considered when PSU joining applications are evaluated. Flash control advantages over vibration welding were the primary motivation of this evaluation. Based on extensive testing, it was determined that a seal force ten times greater than comparable amorphous polymers is required, and the force must have an even distribution of +/-5 psi across the component surface. The open time of the weld process must be less than 0.8 seconds. The heated tooling must be 700-800⁰ F +/-10⁰. The results achieved are as follows:

22 July/August 2011

Case Study, Weld Stacking Products designed with multiple weld sub-assemblies typically require multiple setups using traditional welding. This case study involved a pharmaceutical filtration product which required fifteen consecutive welds to complete the final assembly. Precise positional control is required due to stack up variation and multi-position feedback. The flexibility and precision control offered by the Rapid Conductor allowed for multiple weld positions within one machine set-up or recipe. Each weld position was precisely programmed to achieve dimensional and force control repeatedly. With the use of consecutive positional control, the final assembly was hermetically sealed and well within design tolerance. The cycle time achieved was radically faster than traditional hot-plate welding and did not require multiple setups. In addition to eliminating multiple setups, this method prevented potential contamination and the incurred cost of ‘work in process’. Conclusion Precise, high-speed hot-plate welding is a reality. The joining method should be considered as a robust, viable and technically sound plastics joining process. n [Note: The related topics of heated insert materials and nonstick, wear-resistant coatings advancements, and the acceleration separation relevance in preventing material sticking are matters intentionally not covered in this paper but are certainly worthy of specific review and discussion in a future publication.] Extol has a 25-year history of plastics joining experience as a custom equipment manufacturer. The servo-driven Rapid Conductor (brand name of Extol servo-driven hot-plate welder) is the culmination of over 15 years of designing and manufacturing custom, high-speed hot-plate welders. For more information, visit



Letter from the Chairman One of the primary purposes of the Society for Plastics Engineers and our division is education. Education is a lifelong endeavor and in these days of the internet and faster and faster development cycles, it is all the more critical. It is important to remember that not all data available is up-to-date or sometimes even correct. One of the advantages that SPE conferences bring is reviewed papers presenting the most recent innovations and developments. Two upcoming opportunities to hear the latest innovations are SPE EUROTECH this fall and next year’s ANTEC. EUROTECH 2011 is a joint conference with Equiplast and will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from November 14 to 15, 2011. For the first time, the decoration and assembly division will have several papers as a part of this conference. The next major conference will be SPE ANTEC 2012, held at the Orlando County Convention Center, Orlando, FL, from April 2 to 4. This will be a joint conference held with NPE International Plastics Exposition, so it will be a great opportunity to see all aspects of plastic manufacturing and decoration. SPE is seeking papers for this conference on the subjects of:

• Trouble Shooting • Innovation • Cost Reduction These are all topics that we can apply to our product designs and manufacturing, enabling us to be more competitive in the years to come. This also is a great opportunity for you to present your innovations and improve the visibility of your companies. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please visit the SPE website at The site gives information on how to write a paper, as well as a link to the submission site. Manuscripts are due by October 18, 2011.

If you want to be ahead of the curve on technologies in plastics decorating and assembly, please consider joining the SPE Decorating and Assembly Division by contacting SPE or me directly at paul.a.uglum@ Paul Uglum Delphi Electronics and Safety Chair SPE Decorating & Assembly Division

Save the Date for TopCon 2012 The Societ y of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Decorating & Assembly Divison’s Topical Conference (TopCon) has tentatively been scheduled for June 5-6, 2012, in Indianapolis, IN. Don’t miss this two day educational extravaganza featuring the latest information on trends and technology to advance the fields of plastics decorating and assembly. Manufacturers will be showcasing their latest products and solutions at the Supplier Trade Fair. Highlights from TopCon 2010 included presentations on surface modification, green solutions in pad printing, laser making, in-mold decorating, chrome plating, welding of bio-plastics, ultrasonic welding and more. What’s in store for 2012? Submit a paper for consideration or visit SPE’s website for the latest details at n

July/August 2011 23



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SPE Issues Call for Papers for ANTEC 2012 Conference T he Societ y of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has issued a call for abstract and paper submissions for the SPE-ANTEC 2012 Conference. The submission and review process will be conducted online at, and the deadline for submissions is October 19. Plastics industry professionals who submit papers will have a choice between two tracks: technical or commercial. The technical track will include more traditional papers, which addresses new technologies and techniques currently in development in the plastics industry. The commercial track will speak to commercial applications of technologies and techniques, which can be similar to a case study. ANTEC, the world’s largest plastics technical conference, will co-locate with SPI’s NPE2012 on April 2-4, 2012, in Orlando, FL. To submit papers or learn more about the conference, visit For more information, call 203.740.5452 or email Lesley Kyle at Real-Time Solutions at PLASTEC Midwest For the latest developments, technologies, products and services affecting primary processing machinery, computeraided design and manufacturing, production machinery,

materials, molds and mold components, automation technology and more, PLASTEC Midwest, September 20-22, McCormick Place North, Chicago, IL, is the plastic industry’s premier regional event. PLASTEC Midwest provides attendees the opportunity to talk with suppliers that understand their industry and are ready to discuss product specification, design and process challenges. In addition to a wide array of products and services on display over the three-day event, Innovation Briefs (complimentary with admission, located in the resource hall) presents the newest industry tools, technologies and fresh ideas to help attendees accelerate their projects to the next level. Delivered by industry experts, these concise and informative presentations take place all three days and cover a wide range of topics. For more information on PLASTEC Midwest, registration or exhibiting, visit www.plastecmidwest. com. While at PLASTEC Midwest, visit the Plastics Decorating booth (#1879) for the latest issue of Plastics Decorating. Americhem Celebrates 70th Anniversary Americhem Inc., Cuyahoga Falls, OH, is celebrating 70 years of providing innovating products and solutions to the plastics and synthetic fibers industries. Sylvester S. Caldwell founded what was then known as The Caldwell Company in Akron, OH, in 1941, and the company supplied fillers and additives to the additives to the rubber industry. In 1959, following years of research, product development and diversification, the company changed its name to Americhem Inc., under the leadership of President Richard H. Juve. Since 1965, the company has been headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls where it has become one of the world’s largest custom color and additive concentrates manufacturers. “At 70, we reflect on our founding and appreciate the hard work of our employees, the trust of our customers and the drive for excellence that has been a part of our culture. We look to the future with excitement as we continue to innovate and deliver new solutions to our global markets,” said Rick Juve, CEO. Americhem has planned numerous events throughout the year to celebrate with its global employees and customers. For more information, call 330.929.4213 or visit ISP Launches New Adhesives and Sealants Website International Specialty Products Inc. (ISP), Wayne, NJ, has launched a new website, where adhesive and sealant formulators can gain comprehensive information about the company’s broad portfolio of performance-enhancing chemistries. These chemistries include those for elastomers, polymers, solvents and other productions for applications such as tile mastics, pressuresensitive adhesives, glue

26 July/August 2011

sticks and more. The website features details such as product properties, performance parameters and applications, a menu of starting formulations, background information on regulations, such as the European Biocides Products Directive, and details about ISP’s technologies such as acrylates, water-based rheology modifiers, solvent-based SBRs and more. Explore the new website at For more information, call 973.629.3174 or visit RISO, Inc. Awards 14 Scholarships for Underserved Young Adults RISO, Inc., Danvers, MA, a manufacturer and distributor of high-speed inkjet printers and digital duplicators, has teamed up with the Foundation To Be Named Later to provide 14 college scholarships to underserved young adults in Boston. RISO and the Foundation, which created the scholarship in 2010, have presented more than $45,000 in scholarships, in addition to the mentoring that the Foundation provides and the stateof-the-art laptop that RISO provides for each recipient. The scholarship was created and named in honor of Hall of Fame baseball journalist and youth advocate Peter Gammons. For more information, call 800.663.3031 or visit Serigraph Receives Print Competition Awards Serigraph, Inc., West Bend, WI, received multiple awards for outstanding achievement in the Annual Premier Print Awards, the graphic arts industry’s largest and most prestigious international printing competition. The Premier Print Awards recognizes those responsible for the creation and production of outstanding print communications. Serigraph won an Award of Recognition and five Certificates of Merit for its innovative

printing entries. Serigraph’s winning entry in the Special Innovation category was produced using several unique decorating technologies, including Serigraph’s patent-pending Aveta™ technology, proprietary technologies Reflex and Liquid Ink, along with flocking. Aveta enhanced the graphics by creating a clear 3D image on the lenticular surface. Reflex enhanced

July/August 2011 27

 p. 27


the graphics with definition, contrast and an illusion of depth through texture, while Liquid Ink gave the bottle a wet look and flocking drew eyes to the textile feel of the copy. Serigraph also received a number of Certificate of Merit awards, which honor technical excellence in printing. For more information, visit or call 262.335.7200. AkzoNobel, Soliant Announces New Marketing Manager AkzoNobel Specialty Plastics, Soliant, Lancaster, SC, has announced the appointment of Doug Goldstein as marketing manager for Film and Coatings. Goldstein will focus on supporting growth initiatives for current markets and will develop new markets for AkzoNobel’s Soliant brand paintfilm and bright film (chrome alternatives), clear outdoor durable laminating films, new “Softfeel” and “3D” films and AkzoNobel liquid performance coatings. Goldstein has an extensive coatings background that includes

28 July/August 2011

working as global market manager at Exopack Advanced Coatings, formerly Rexam Custom. For more information, visit Sun Chemical Appoints Group Managing Director for Northern Europe Sun Chemical, Wexham Springs, UK, has appointed Greg Hayes as the group managing director for the Northern European region. Based in the UK, Hayes will lead Sun Chemical’s business in the UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries, as well as its global digital inks business and the Sun Branding Solutions packaging design services business. He also will coordinate the screen, circuits and industrial inks business across Europe. Hayes brings 25 years of industry knowledge and experience to the position. He recently worked as the general manager, EMEA for PPG Packaging Coatings, at PPG Industries Europe Sàrl. Hayes also has served as chairman of CEPE Can Coatings Group and as a board member of PPG Industries Europe Sàrl. For more information, call 973.404.6159 or visit n



When is it Time to Digitally Decorate? By Craig Smith and Darlene Putz, Innovative Digital Systems, LLC

Remember the days when a customer asking for custom decorated parts or components needed to order them by the thousands or more? Now, order sizes are getting smaller, while deadlines are shorter. With digital printing, industrial printers can meet the needs of today’s market. Beyond the Basic Advantages of Digital Printing Industrial markets have quickly recognized the advantages of digitally printing their products. The basic – and well-known – advantages include fast turnaround time, minimal changeover time and rapid sampling and prototyping, thanks to the ability to change artwork via computer. Small sample runs can be run back-to-back with large quantity projects since screens and plates aren’t necessary. With quick-curing UV inks, no solvents are involved and there is no time-consuming ink mixing, reducing ink waste. Tooling costs are low, since digital printers do not use clichés, pads, plates or rollers, providing more cost and time savings. In addition, digital printers have a relatively low investment cost, considering the flexibility offered with custom printing, leading to a rapid return on investment.

cannot ignore this strong market segment. With the ease of online ordering comes the expectation of quick turnaround for product deliveries. Personalization opens up new markets to a company with existing product. With the ease of changing artwork, this can take an existing product line to a new level, adding value that increases the bottom line. Inventory No one wants to keep a stock-pile of decorated product on shelves waiting out the 80/20. That 80 percent may sit for months or years, eventually to be considered scrap. Many times in manufacturing the same component is sold to a variety of customers. The components then need to be identified with individual company specifications and branding. There was a time that there were no other options – now there is digital printing. The bottom line is that everyone wants what they want now, without commitment – on demand.

But there are advantages to digital printing that go beyond the basics. These include sustainability, customization, reduced inventory and an increase in quality. Green Green is a very popular color these days. The digital printing process has distinct advantages in this area. If companies are serious in applying green solutions in their decorating processes, digital printing should be considered. There is very little waste and numerous recycling programs for consumable items. The process gives a company the ability to produce in its market area by keeping the on-demand decorating jobs inhouse and still allowing the necessary outsourcing of parts. The ability to decorate in a selling target area equals savings in transportation costs and that also has a positive and green environmental impact. Personalization We have seen an explosion in personalization in the past year. The younger generation is very focused on personalization. This generation is computer savvy and the Internet is its comfort zone. The über popular online shopping is its wheelhouse. Placing orders online and uploading personal graphics is second hand – you

Think outside the Box Digitally printed personalized cake box

July/August 2011 29

 p. 29


High-Quality Graphics Many markets are moving toward less packaging and more direct product decoration, which increases the need for highquality graphics. With digital printing, the imaging comes from the computergenerated artwork and is sent directly to the printer – plug and print – resulting in high-quality print with excellent drop placement accuracy printing CMYK, white and clear when needed. Direct digital printing offers high resolution of up to 1200x1200dpi, compared to 300dpi with traditional pad printing or silk screening.

– and whether or not it will adapt to the future needs of your company. The digital world is still an emerging market that is ever-changing, with new developments occurring on a regular basis. A company should have all of the solutions for digital printing, including access to major print head manufacturers, ink development (don’t settle for a one ink fits all solution), in-house printing, testing capabilities, software and good technical support. Step Two. Evaluate the product and the printing expectations. Can your product be decorated with the digital process? Are there any printing difficulties to overcome? Don’t over-engineer a printing solution – be practical with the limitations of the digital printing process

Entering the Digital Print Market Step One. First and foremost, pick a company with experience that can offer you a total decorating solution for your digital printing. Expertise in overall product decoration allows for a smooth transition from your current method of decoration to digital printing. Look at how a digital integrator addresses future developments

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Proell Mirror Inks

Visit us at 1 SGIA 201 ns New Orlea – 21 9 October 1 0 2 Booth 18 Mirror Ink M1 – high gloss standard ink Mirror Ink M2 – high gloss, scratch-resistant after jet drying – 8 Colorants for mixing colored mirror shades Mirror Ink M3 – highest gloss, good printing properties and easy processing – excellent resistance to humidity Mirror Ink FSI – for first surface decoration

Proell offers four solvent-based mirror inks for specialized screen printing applications. Colorants for blending with mirror inks or highly transparent color shades to be back printed with mirror inks are also available. The Mirror Inks M1, M2 and M3 are used for second surface decoration of transparent plastics and films (PC, PMMA, rigid PVC, pre-treated PET films) and glass. While drying, the metal pigments are aligned parallel to the substrate’s reverse side. Viewed through the transparent material from the first surface, the pigments create a mirror like effect. Proell mirror inks can be used for area printing as well as for fine line printing. Depending on the optical surface condition of the transparent films and plates, mirror inks can attain a quality near that of conventionally produced mirrors.

A range of highly transparent mono-pigmented color shades is available for the NORIPHAN® HTR ink system. These color shades can be backed with Mirror Ink M1, M2 or M3 to create sophisticated mirror color effects. Effect pigment inks are our passion. Besides the mirror inks, a broad range of Rainbow Inks, metallic, pearlescent, chameleon and 3D inks is available.

The newly developed Mirror Ink FSI (First Surface Ink) is suitable for printing mirrors on the first surface of the substrate. Surface like chrome effects can only be produced on high gloss surfaces. In comparison with second surface mirrors, the gloss level is slightly lower, but on dark high gloss surfaces, impressive chrome effects can be achieved.

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ď ´ p. 30


to your application. Ask questions: how is this digital process more cost-effective and what is the value added? Step Three. Once the product evaluation is done, if your product is a good direct digital candidate then ink selection is critical. In this step, you should provide enough substrate material for ink testing. Testing can determine the proper ink set for adhesion, durability and resistance for your particular industry standards. Step Four. Your environment will require some pre-planning before launching into digital print. How much floor space needs to be dedicated to this decoration process? Is the environment clean enough for the digital printing process? Is the environment climate-controlled? What type of labor will be used (manual versus automation)? Step Five. Which type of digital printing equipment is right for your application? Ask yourself what type of throughput is needed now and in the future? There are small tabletop printers and large format flatbed printers which can be manually loaded with parts or set up for automatic loading. For much

32 July/August 2011

quicker printing output, there are high-speed single-pass and custom high-speed printing systems that integrate into the manufacturing process. These systems can be set up for inline production printing, off-line printing or integrated into work cells. The printing work cells easily can be ramped up for expansion should the work demand increase. Using modular work stations can help assist in growing the digital printing operation as new digital printing advancements are introduced into the marketplace. Digital printing is growing by leaps and bounds, with numerous advantages over traditional product decorating options. However, the industrial aspect of digital printing must be carefully mapped out, with consideration given to all of the variables. n Innovative Digital Systems, LLC, provides industrial printing turnkey solutions as an integrator of digital technology and a manufacturer of high-speed digital single-pass and custom printing systems, and also is a servicing dealer for Mimaki. For additional information, contact Darlene Putz at 704.882.5985 ext.106, via email at or visit



International In-Mold Labeling & Decorating Conference & Exhibition November 16-17, 2011 – Hyatt Regency, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Mark your calendar for - The unique concurrent conferences for the in-mold industry, covering in-mold labeling for FMCG’s and in-mold decoration for OEM’s. The conferences feature a joint conference exhibition and networking program. For more information visit

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- Official Opening Exhibition - Keynote Presentation - IMDA Meeting - Cocktail Reception & IMDA Award Ceremony

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Program November 17 In-mold Decoration Conference

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NAZDAR Releases New 4200 Series UV Graphic Screen Ink NAZDAR, Shawnee, KS, has released the new 4200 Series UV graphic screen printing ink. A breakthrough product that withstands some of the toughest finishing and shipping requirements of the graphics market, the 4200 Series resists edge chipping, ink flaking and substrate shattering. The substrate range for the 4200 Series includes treated corrugated plastic, styrene and coating paper/board, making it extremely versatile. “The 4200 Series’ versatility and performance characteristics will allow printers to reduce their ink inventory,” according to Richard Bowles, vice president and general manager for NAZDAR. For more information, call 913.422.1888 or visit Newman Printing Offers Automatic Silk Screen Printing Machine for Containers Newman Printing Equipment, Glenview, IL, has announced the NEWMATIC automatic silk screen printing machine for containers. A simple walking beam transfer system provides fast change-

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34 July/August 2011

over of sizes and shapes to be printed with minimal parts. Standard right-to-left roll ramp feeds bottles, jars, tubes, cups and many other 3D objects for flame pre-treatment, silk screen printing in register and Fusion UV ultraviolet instant curing in-line. Direct screen printing offers advantages over labels, including ink adhesion, low unit cost, fast size changeover, no label inventory and low set-up costs for small runs. For more information, call 847.803.8091 or visit Two-Color Pad Printing Machine Available from Inkcups Now Inkcups Now Corporation, Danvers, MA, has introduced the ICN-2200PS, a two-color semiautomatic sealed cup pad printer with the Pad Slide, a heavy-duty dual position pneumatic mechanism. The Pad Slide simplifies part fixturing and assures flawless second color registration. It also enables a very fast two-color print cycle, facilitating high-volume production. The ICN-2200PS has a membrane touch control, making it simple to program all set-up features, including pad stroke, pad delay, ink mixing and ink pick-up frequency. This pad printer easily is retrofitted in the field with the eight-station part carousel transport system, accommodating increased productivity or automation demands. For more information, call 978.646.8980 or visit SunGEM™ Effect Pigment Expanded for Use in Automotive Industry Sun Chemical Corporation, Parsippany, NJ, a subsidiary of Sun Chemical Group in the Netherlands, has introduced weather-resistant grades to its SunGEM™ pealescent effect pigment line, making this latest extension of the product range applicable to the automotive industry and other exterior coatings formulations. Automotive designers can choose from 10 bold pigment shades of intense high chroma color and pearlescent luster, exhibiting deep tones, rich hues, excellent opacity and sparkle, along with magnetic alignment properties that bring three-dimensional effects to coatings and end use applications. Shades include light silver, gold/taupe interference, orange, deep violet, rich blue, gold/turquoise interference, green, rich gold/green interference, dark silver and cherry red. For more information, visit

Bayer Offers New Materials for Waterborne, Soft-Touch Coatings Bayer MaterialScience LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, has released wateremulsible Bayhydur® polyisocyanates and Bayhydrol ® polyurethane dispersions for the formulation of waterborne soft-touch coating systems. These coatings are used in numerous consumer products, such as the casings of laptop computers, telephones and MP3 players. However, a major area of application for soft-touch coatings is the automotive industry. Soft-touch coatings have low gloss levels, are very resistant to abrasion and scratching and are available in a number of colors and effects. Automakers use them on consoles, steering arms, arm rests and door trim, among other components. The most recent breakthrough in soft-touch coatings is resistance to suntan lotion and DEET. Soft-touch coatings, until now, had not been able to pass stringent specifications tests for chemical resistance. Bayhydur® polyisocyanates and Bayhydrol® polyurethane dispersions pass the test, translating into a viable option for automotive OEMs. For more information, call 412.777.3983 or visit FUJIFILM Dimatix Launches DMP-5005 Materials Printer FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, a wholly owned subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corporation, has introduced the DMP-5005, a large format, non-contact, f luid deposition system capable of jetting a wide range of fluid types using the FUJIFILM Dimatix 16-jet, 1- or 10-picoliter user-fillable cartridges for product and process development and up to five sequentially operating 128-jet, 1- or 10-picoliter printheads with up to five different functional fluids. The DMP-5005 has a printable area of 500x500mm and maintains a positional accuracy and repeatability of ±5 microns and ±1 microns respectively. The printer uses a temperature-controlled vacuum platen to accurately resister, maintain and thermally manage substrates during printing. These substrates include plastic, glass, ceramics and silicon, as well as flexible substrates ranging from membranes, gels and thin films to paper products. For more information, call 408.565.9150 or email n

July/August 2011 35



Similar Has its Advantages

G7ÂŽ Solutions for Screen & Inkjet Printing

Reprinted with permission from SGIA Journal, Fourth Quarter 2010

By Bruce Ridge, Nazdar Consulting

A Method to End the Madness In January 2010, the SGIA Congress of Committees voted to recommend the G7ÂŽ methodology for the printing of 4-color images in the screen and inkjet printing processes. This is an important change for two reasons. First, screen and digital printers have never had a 4-color printing method that accommodates the unique substrates and durable inks used in these processes. Second, this is validation for the early adopters of the G7 process and confirms that they made a good decision to invest their time and money into learning and practicing this methodology. Mike Ruff of Nazdar Consulting is one of those early adopters. He has promoted the methodology for four years through Nazdar, and for three years as the prepress instructor in the SGIA process color training seminars. As a consultant, Ruff was successfully practicing a modified method of generating curves for screen printing (called the hybrid curve). He would generate a curve similar to the method used by offset printers, but would modify it by using a combination of dot gain and density measurements in order to compensate for the extreme color variations that common screen printing substrates would bring to a 4-color print. The hybrid curve also compensated for highlight dot loss, as well as increased solid ink density levels that are common in these processes. The G7 color control method was developed by Don Hutcheson, an independent color management consultant. For years, scanner operators like Hutcheson would balance the color in an image by targeting the neutral grays and apply this same color control to the whole printing process. This method balanced a 4-color image to targeted levels of gray in the quartertone, mid-tone and three-quartertone areas in an image instead of targeting levels of solid ink density and dot gain on a pure white substrate. This was a revolutionary change in the accepted color control practices that had dominated all 4-color printing for more than 30 years. At this point, the G7 methodology was designed for and used only by offset lithography printers. Ruff thought that while the G7 process may be working great for offset litho, he knew it would help the screen and inkjet printers even more. Within the Nazdar Consulting group, they

36 July/August 2011

were constantly trying to overcome the variation in the substrates that were not close to being white, like a proof, and the durable inks that were made with pigments different from the pigments and dyes used in non-durable proofing systems. It was not unusual for a printer to match the solid ink density on the proof and the dot gain in the tonal areas and still have a print that was different in appearance when compared to the proof. The G7 process offered a way to control color to achieve a similar appearance even when the substrates, solid inks, resolution and format were different. This was something that would benefit both screen printers and wide format inkjet printers who were fighting constantly over these differences.

Figure 1

G7 methodology is fast becoming the chosen method to control 4-color images on press in all the commercial printing processes. The G7 process is managed by IDEAlliance, which also manages the other well-known print specifications: SNAP, GRACoL and SWOP. IDEAlliance gears G7 training classes to the offset lithography printer, though there have been inkjet and screen printing G7 training classes. IDEAlliance enlisted the expertise of Ray Greenwood at SGIA to create the screen printing training segment for their G7 Certification Program. In order to implement a color control system that departs from accepted industry practices, changes have to be made, some of which are easier to make than others. When printers see the improved efficiency and speed to color, they start to appreciate that change is necessary. However, some of the basic practices are the most difficult to change. The G7 color methodology is

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 p. 36


based on the concept of achieving a similar appearance, not a complete match. For years, the craftspeople in the printing industry have made the claim that they can and will “match” a color or a proof in the print reproduction process. According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, “match” is defined as a thing equal or similar to another. “Equal to” is different from “similar to.” This becomes an issue when the buyer expects “equal to”, and the provider expects to deliver “similar to”. It also is likely that the person that promised an equal to match (sales) is not the same person that has to actually deliver the goods (production). The person that is reproducing the match will eventually come to the conclusion that the result he has is as similar to a match as he can get, given the constraints of time, materials and equipment.

Using (L*1, a*1, b*1) and (L*2, a*2, b*2), two colors in L*la*b*:

Source Gaurav Sharma (200l3).Digital Color Imaging Handbook (1.7.2 ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 084930900lX

Figure 2

Match and Similar Appearance The concept and tradition of matching color in printing applies to the process of reproducing one specific color (a “spot”

color) and to the process of reproducing full color photographic images. It is common for a printer to be asked to match a spot color such as Coke red, FedEx orange or any of the Pantone Matching System colors (see Figure 1 on page 36). These are colors that give printers very specific targets to hit, reproduce or “match.” It is much easier for the eye to compare one solid area of color to another solid area and perceive subtle differences. This is why color tests are based on solid color comparisons. There are several ways to develop numerical and visual tolerances for a specific color. Tolerance is defined by MerriamWebster (online) as: “The allowable deviation from a standard, the range of variation.” Once we start talking about tolerances, we have already conceded to a deviation from the target. Then, the issue is how far from the target is acceptable. There are two primary methods printers use to define tolerances when reproducing a spot color. The most common method is to use a deviation number or a delta e number to quantify the difference. A delta e number is figured by a mathematical formula that compiles several different characteristics of a color as compared to the target color and summarizes those differences into one number. Usually the basis of this system is that a delta e of 1 or less is visually undetectable by most people. This formula is based on research on how most people see color (see Figure 2 above). The second method is to create actual color samples with slight deviations from the target color (See Figure 3 on next page). This visual system is much more time consuming to generate, but is more accurate in comparing the color being reproduced and for the individuals that are approving the color. No matter which approach is taken, it is common for spot colors to be reproduced on the same media or substrate using the same inks that will be used in production. This brings these color reproductions much closer to “matching” the original.

38 July/August 2011

In these cases, the tolerance is almost more important to represent the deviations that will take place during the course of the reproduction run, and these will occur. When matching a full color (4-color process) image, there is usually only one target or proof to simulate or reproduce and that one image contains hundreds of colors. It is much more difficult for the eye to isolate one color within that image to determine if it is similar to the given proof. Isolating and comparing one specific area in a full-color print to the proof can be done. For example, think of a print where a sweater needs to match a real sweater in color. While you may be able to match closely the sweater color, it may be difficult to get the flesh tones accurate in a process like screen printing where color adjustments on press are global. To achieve that, all 4-colors would need to be printed exactly in order.

ments of the print such as substrate, ink, resolution and format do not match up. This is important for cross-platform printing applications and is the final untapped element in delivering maximum efficiency to the color reproduction process by targeting neutral gray values in the primary parts of the image. If color images are separated and balanced based on achieving a neutral gray within an image, it makes sense to make press adjustments to achieve that same gray balance within an image. This way, the image content will be similar even if the substrates and inks are different. This is the basis of G7 color control and the reason G7 makes so much sense for screen and inkjet printers to implement. n Bruce Ridge, director of technical services, has worked with Nazdar in product management, product training and sales. He began and facilitated the Masterprint Color Training Program, which has been presented to more than 2,500 printers in North America. He now manages the Nazdar Ink Division’s technical service department, where the focus is to provide worldwide technical support for the Nazdar inks made for screen, inkjet and narrow web flexography printing. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and is a member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology (ASPT). He can be contacted through email at



Another obstacle is that the proof or target is likely made from different components as the print. Not only are the key color building blocks rarely the same, the ink, media/substrate, resolution, dot type, gloss level and format will all likely be different. These differences make it nearly impossible to “match” the proof. This example demonstrates a situation where it is most practical to strive to achieve a “common appearance” with the proof. Adopting a New Practice The G7 method of color calibration is a better method for screen printers to target print to proof, because the focus moves away from “matching” the proof with solid ink density and dot gain or tonal value increase targets. The G7 methodology’s goal is to achieve a “shared” or “common appearance” when comparing the print to the proof or print to print when using diverse printing methods. Using the concept of a “common appearance” will help to achieve an acceptable proof or print quickly when all the ele-

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July/August 2011 39



Sacred Cows in an Economic Downturn By Ed Rigsbee, CSP

What better time to grind sacred cows into hamburger than during an economic downturn? The sacred cow protectors in your organization experience lowered resistance when times are not so good. It is much more difficult for them to defend the pet projects, products and services that have reached their sunset when placed under the tight economic microscope. If You are a Sacred Cow Defender… Upper level decision makers pay especially close attention to questionable activities in an economic downturn, organizational restructuring or during a merger. If you have even a faint indication that you might be a sacred cow protector, this is the time to realize that everyone will be attacking your pet sacred cow. Ask yourself if this cow is worth your career. Might it be time to let go? To help you work through the process of either defending or letting go, consider the following: • Why should this cow continue? • Who cares most about this cow? Why do I protect it? • Which market or stakeholder segments does the cow still serve? Is this cow still profitable? • Is this cow worth the organizational resources necessary to sustain it? Has this cow reached its sunset?

If You are a Cow Grinder… This is the moment you’ve been waiting for — it is time to rid your organization of that outdated, resource-sucking albatross that has, in your opinion, been dragging everyone down. While this is a good time to bring out the meat grinder, you’d better be smart about your actions. This is not the time to pretend you are a bull in a china shop, but rather take a methodical approach to getting that cow into the grinder. First, you must remain aware of the fact that most sacred cow protectors have their identify and self-worth complexly entwined with the cow that they protect so ferociously, much like a momma bear protecting her cub. And you do not want to get between them! How do you help an iron-clad mind to open up? Perhaps oil and leverage will do the trick? • The oil relates to the idea of slipperiness verses friction. The iron-clad mind is the friction and you become the oil that helps movement. Your job is to help the protector see that there might be new or better ideas, products and services that might possibly… maybe… perhaps serve the market or stakeholders better than the currently protected cow.

40 July/August 2011

• Leverage relates to an outside object or force that allows ease of movement for heavy or stuck objects. Needless to say, the stuck or heavy object is the cow protector. The outside force could be higher authority or replacement product/ service. Higher authority needs no explanation. Replacement however is formidable subject. Where or what could the cow protector use as an alternate crutch for channeling their passion? Grinding Cows • We’ve always done it, our customers expect it and so we should continue to do it. This is an area that can be overcome by numbers, metrics or measurements. It is difficult for a person or department to defend something that can be proven to no longer be performing. • The “not invented here” attitude can be a challenge when offering alternatives to the cow you want to grind. Leading the cow protectors to their own discovery of a replacement generally works well. The price that you, the cow grinder, must be willing to pay is to relinquish an ego boost and the credit for being the cow grinder. • For most things there is a season. Even sacred cows that are only approaching their sunset must be examined closely. The challenge is in letting too many old cows run the pasture. If in your organization there are a number of cows that are nearing their end of usefulness, all your organizations resources are being allotted to refreshing and keeping alive old cows rather than allowing innovation and discovery of new and profitable, non-commodity products and services to take their place. You can swim with the sharks in highly competitive regions or head for the open waters of innovation and creativity. So what’s a reasonable person to do? If you are a cow protector, be certain it is worth protecting. If you are a cow grinder, be sure that cow’s sunset has arrived. Grinding cows simply for pleasure or self-adulation is not an acceptable reason to flick the switch and start the grinder. The magic for your organization is for the leaders to have the wisdom in understanding and recognizing the difference. n As a nationally recognized speaker on partnering, Ed Rigsbee has helped organizations of all sizes to build successful internal and external collaborative relationships. He has authored three books and over 1,500 articles helping organizations to take full advantage of their potential. Contact Rigsbee, find additional (no charge) resources and sign up for his complimentary weekly Effective Executive eLetter at Copyright © 2010 Ed Rigsbee

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Polymer Clichés for Pad Printing By John Kaverman, Tampoprint

Q: What purpose does the line screen serve in cliché making? The line screen serves three purposes: to support the ink cup’s doctor ring, to control the volume of ink and to give the ink some resistance. To support the ink cup’s doctor ring so that it doesn’t “dip” ink out as it passes over the image area. Most manufacturers use magnets to create the hermetic seal between the ink cup and cliché. When the magnet force is too great, the cliché can be pulled off the base plate, causing defection and ultimately resulting in uneven doctoring and inconsistent ink film thickness. The line screen helps minimize this by supporting the doctor ring as it passes over the image area. To control the volume of ink within the etched image. It is not advisable to alter exposure times in an attempt to make the etch deeper or hold more ink. The proper way to adjust ink volume is to alter the lineage of the screen. Typically, 120 line/cm is used for the vast majority of images. For large text and images, 100 line/cm is used. 80 line/ cm screen is used on extremely rare occasions, such as when the operator is printing over an extremely rough or porous texture. To give the ink some resistance to the physical forces of the pad during pick-up. The pad should “roll” outward from its point or ridge as it is compressed onto the surface of the cliché during image pickup. If pad location and compression are not optimal, the force of the pad can “squish” ink in the direction of the roll within the image area. Line screen gives the ink some “traction” so it can better resist the forces of the pad. Q: Why is it important to post-expose and dry my cliché prior to set-up? Post exposure hardens all of the little dots resulting from the line screen exposure, as well as the bottom of the etch. Unfortunately, it is too common for operators to skip this step when in a hurry, thus compromising the physical integrity of the dots and resulting in almost immediate image quality issues and a much shorter cliché life.

42 July/August 2011

Drying removes residual water and developer from the polymer film. Even though the light source in post-exposure generates some heat, that heat usually isn’t sufficient to completely dry the polymer. When relative humidity is extremely high (over 75 percent), taking the time to dry clichés before reuse also is a good idea. In either case, allow the cliché to cool down to room temperature before production. Q: Why can’t I just buy denatured ethyl alcohol from a hardware store instead of buying it from my cliché supplier? For most alcohol-washed polymer cliché materials, the developer should be 98-percent pure denatured alcohol, with the denaturing agent being 2-percent kerosene. From there, the user is typically advised to dilute 15 percent or so with distilled water. Hardware and home improvement chains buy their denatured alcohol solvent in bulk. It may or may not be properly denatured, and/or it may contain as much as 40 percent water (from an unknown source). In short, even though the stuff from a supplier costs more initially, and costs even more to ship, it still is less expensive than remaking clichés due to poor development. Even if using water-washed cliché material, it still is recommended to use distilled water instead of tap water, since municipal water contains chlorine and other additives such as fluoride, which can cause problems in development. n

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