The current situation and development of flexograp

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The current situation and development of flexographic printing in China as a new technology, flexographic printing has occupied 40% of the European packaging printing market and 60% of the American market. In the late 1980s, flexographic printing technology entered China. At present, China has introduced more than 180 large-scale wide width flexo printing production lines and narrow width flexo printing production lines. However, these devices have not brought much benefit to investors in China as a whole. In view of the infinite utilization potential and universality contained in graphene, one third of the equipment is idle, another third is in half load, and only a few production lines have full production tasks. At present, flexographic printing occupies only 3% of the market share in packaging printing in China

the main reasons for the twists and turns in the development of flexographic printing

1. limitations in technology

compared with offset printing and gravure printing, the advantages of flexographic printing are: relatively less investment; The equipment structure is relatively simple; Easy to operate; High production efficiency: water ink, alcohol soluble ink and UV ink are widely used, which is conducive to environmental protection

however, at this stage, flexographic printing has insurmountable defects compared with offset printing and gravure printing: the ink transfer method is limited by the number of lines of the embossing roller, the adjustment is more complex, and it is not easy to be compatible. Therefore, the line level part and the field line part are often separated for plate making, which increases the cost. Due to the greater flexibility and softness of flexographic plates, they are easy to deform after being pressed, resulting in poor ability to restore the original. The fineness of flexographic printing is now 136 lines/inch or 150 lines/inch, while offset printing and gravure printing are familiar with 175 lines/inch printing, and the restoration of the original is extremely excellent. In addition, in some color gradients or absolutely, flexo printing also has insurmountable defects

2. packaging design does not adapt

the differences between oriental culture and European and American culture make their packaging obviously different in design style, which also affects the development of flexo printing in China in the short term. Europe and the United States emphasize the strong visual impact caused by concise color blocks and lines, while China's packaging industry has been dominated and influenced by gravure and offset printing for a long time, focusing more on realism and using a large number of realistic level patterns. To catch up with the printing quality of offset printing and gravure printing with flexographic printing, it is bound to be difficult for end users to accept. Therefore, flexographic printing is less accepted in China than offset printing and gravure printing

3. cost gap

because gravure printing and offset printing have experienced a development process of more than 20 years in China, and the equipment and materials have been localized, both the equipment investment cost and the cost of plate making and post-processing have decreased greatly. High quality flexo printing machines, plates, plate making equipment and materials need to be imported, so the cost is basically the same as that in Europe and the United States. However, the cost of offset printing and gravure printing in Europe and America is higher than that of flexo printing, which is also the reason why flexo printing develops so fast in Europe and America. However, the cost of gravure printing and offset printing in China is lower than that of flexo printing, so the price competitiveness of flexo printing in China's packaging market is very weak

4. Use gap

people's understanding of packaging printing still stays on gravure printing and offset printing, and the acceptance of flexographic printing in the packaging market is not high

flexo printing uses water-soluble ink, which is conducive to environmental protection, especially in food, beverage and other packaging. But now gravure printing has also widely used water-based ink and alcohol soluble ink. In addition, China's attention to environmental protection is relatively low at this stage, the market is depressed, and the final customer requires that the cost be reduced again and again, so the selling point of environmental protection is also weak

based on the above points, I believe that gravure printing with low cost, high quality and high printing resistance will occupy the absolute dominant position in China's packaging printing market for a long time; Although offset printing has high quality and low price, its production efficiency is low, and the stability of color is not good enough, so it will be limited in application; At present, flexographic printing can only play its advantages in the production of large quantities of products

how to change the current embarrassing situation of flexographic printing

first of all, equipment suppliers, printers, plate makers and end customers should have a clear understanding of the flexographic printing market. The propaganda of flexographic printing should be practical and realistic, because the proportion of import and export volume in the total output is low. Excessive propaganda on how advanced flexographic printing is is easy to mislead flexographic printing; Flexographic printing is more advanced than gravure printing and offset printing, and the printing quality is even higher. This makes some printing manufacturers and plate makers ignore their characteristics when adopting flexographic printing, while the final customers take the quality of offset printing and gravure printing as the standard to measure flexographic printing or the sample of offset printing and gravure printing as the quality acceptance standard, thus causing many unnecessary losses. The scope of output value and growth rate are among the top in the country

we should follow the characteristics of flexographic printing, design and produce packaging products that are really suitable for flexographic printing from the packaging design of end customers and the stability and unity of packaging product quality. Some deficiencies of flexographic printing will be transformed into the characteristics of flexographic printing, so that its product packaging has anti-counterfeiting function due to the use of flexographic printing, because it is also very difficult to achieve the printing effect of flexographic printing with offset printing and gravure printing

secondly, reduce the production cost of flexographic printing, so that flexographic printing has a price advantage in the market

the plate making cost of flexo printing does not have an advantage over offset printing and gravure printing in the market. Its plate making cost is several times that of offset printing, which is almost the same as that of gravure printing. The reason is that the prepress equipment for producing high-quality flexographic plates, the UL94 flame retardant level of plate making can reach the V-0 level, and the equipment and raw materials need to be imported. China has not yet mastered its core technology. At present, domestic high-quality plate manufacturers mainly include: Dalian Fulai plate making company, Shanghai Toyo laser plate making company, and Shanghai Renshi computer plate making company. In the near future, the cost of plate making is unlikely to have much room for decline

but we are still very happy to see that flexo printing has made great progress in our country. Now, printing machine manufacturers such as Shaanxi Heiniu, Wuxi Baonan, beiren, Ziguang, Shanxi Taihang and Shaanxi Weinan have been able to produce flexographic machines, and their manufacturing level is very close to that of imported flexographic machines, and their price is only one-third to one-half of that of imported equipment. If these manufacturers can take advantage of the price advantage and further do a good job in supporting services, technical training and other work, the market share of domestic flexo printing machines will increase sharply

high quality flexographic printing inks have been gradually localized, but efforts need to be made to ensure the stability of ink hue and printing adaptability, so as to truly ensure that domestic inks can compete with imported inks in quality and price

to sum up, both equipment suppliers, printing manufacturers, ink manufacturers, plate manufacturers and end users should work together to expand the "cake" of flexographic printing. It is believed that China's flexographic printing industry will have brilliant development in recent years

source: Printing Technology

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