The converting industry feels to be in a little bit of a holding pattern as we enter summer holidays, which given the speed with which we have arrived in July juxtaposed with absolute halt of activity that is likely to occur in the next couple of weeks is particularly strange to those of us used to the flexibility, adaptability and most of all the precision with which our manufacturing lives are governed. It is of particular interest as we start to concentrate on the upcoming European Labelexpo which has already shown a staggering amount of innovation and new proposed product launches, and looks set to be one of the best shows yet.
While we have a more comprehensive preview of the show in the following pages it is an excellent example of the need for partnerships and collaborative converting activities. As the volume of materials and speed with which they fly down the line ever increasing, the need for precise handovers, changeovers and lines to work smoothly has never been more pronounced. For instance, if a typical factory runs at 80% efficiency (and this is quite a generous allowance worldwide) hitting the 200,000 print run for a rush order on labels requires an extra effort to align the machinery, try and remove any obstructions and let the line run at its maximum. Each change over, web alignment, cut or slice and curing heating or laminating all working together, resonating with the Ben Franklin phrase that “ we must all hang together or, most assuredly we shall all hang separately”. A tiny miscalculation can lead to enormous waste, downtime or inactivity in an industry which is already operating on thin margins.
By bringing together the complete supply chain, at an event or simply through regular contact, and allowing the spread or expertise to head off any problems before they develop, obstructions should be minimised, resource efficiency should be maximised and happy customers and clients will abound.
This theme is evident throughout this edition of Converting Today which looks set to be the largest publication we have produced in years. Embossing is covered, and how it requires partnerships to produce the best possible decorative effect, digital print and colour management are both technologies that require multiple inputs and approvals to work to their best, while controls, finishing and web cleaning all make sure that the finished item is the highest quality off the production line. As mentioned previously there is our Labelexpo preview and one for Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging. I hope that you are all able to enjoy the lull and your holidays and as always wish you happy reading,