Flexo exhibits a higher sustainability quotient

Creating a comparison chart for flexo against other methods can be beneficial to illustrate the advantages, Sethunath Padmanabhan of Reproflex3

14 Nov 2023 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Reproflex3's award-winning project for Parakh Flexipack at the EFIA awards

Ramu Ramanathan (RR): What is the sustainability quotient for flexo? For example, toluene-free inks, mineral-free inks. What are the challenges; and more importantly how does flexo compare?
Sethunath Padmanabhan (SP):
Flexo printing exhibits a higher sustainability quotient compared to other printing processes. Creating a comparison chart for flexo against other methods can be beneficial to illustrate the advantages. Flexo outperforms in key areas, including tool development, logistics, wastage reduction, power consumption, and the use of toluene-free inks. The quick conversion and ink gsm benefits further contribute to its sustainable nature. As the industry continues to advance, flexo is paving the way for a greener and more environmentally friendly printing solution.

RR: It is said that run lengths have shrunk and brands want multi-product portfolios with quick changes. Lower inventories have become the norm. All around cost has become the focus. In what way?
In the context of the Indian market, flexo is currently utilised for larger production quantities compared to international standards. However, there is a growing demand for quicker changeovers and more efficient production. CI flexo offers a promising solution in this regard. For example, companies like Bobst and Echaar, both international and Indian players, are focusing on developing machines that enable faster and more efficient changeovers.

RR: Please share inputs about how CI Flexo make-readies and turnarounds can be optimised? Best-case and worst-case scenarios.
Some CI converters have already demonstrated the capability of achieving 6-8 changeovers consistently in a single day, with the potential for even more in the future. This trend reflects the industry's drive towards optimising make-ready processes and reducing turnarounds to meet the growing need for multi-product portfolios with quick changes and lower inventories, ultimately resulting in overall cost savings for brands and converters alike.

RR: One takeaway especially for those fence-sitters who say: to Flexo or not to flexo?
There's no more time to waste contemplating whether to adopt Flexo or not, it's time to act decisively. By not incorporating Flexo into your technology portfolio, you may be missing out on the tremendous benefits and opportunities it can bring to your business.

RR: And finally, a bit of horoscope from you: Plans for the next 12 months?
We envision a surge in the number of flexo machines in the country. The industry will witness a higher conversion of quality jobs to flexo printing, reflecting its growing popularity and efficiency.

RR: One prediction for 2023?
We foresee R3’s customers achieving more international recognition and winning prestigious awards for their outstanding flexo printing work.

One wow project that R3 created
A recent winning project for Parakh Flexipack at the EFIA awards. This project stands out as a remarkable achievement, showcasing excellent reproduction delivered by our dedicated and skilled team along with a passionate client.
Recent work with Umax Packaging, where we have successfully produced exceptional gravure quality using flexo technology, which has been highly appreciated by our clients is worth mentioning

The method to the R3 madness
Many pre-press firms have been lauded for working in combination with flexo printers to match gravure quality using flexo; as well for significantly exceeding litho laminate results with flexo.
Flexo has made significant strides in matching the quality of gravure and even surpassing litho laminate results. Our approach to achieving these outstanding results involves the following methods:
· Foster a partnership approach rather than adopting a traditional vendor-customer relationship.
· Set clear expectations and educate clients on the possibilities and limitations of flexo printing.
· Provide a well-defined road map with a step-by-step plan to gradually enhance the flexo output quality.
· Establish a robust process with regular reviews and monitoring of progress.
· Eventually, utilise advanced screening technology like Vortex to enhance the quality of flexo output.
By combining these methodologies, we have been able to push the boundaries of flexo printing and achieve remarkable quality which are comparable to gravure and litho laminate. However, we recognise that continuous improvement is key, and we remain committed to staying at the forefront of flexo printing excellence.

SOP standards for flexo
While R3 has developed SOPs for flexo printing and has all the necessary tools in place, R3 acknowledges that the industry's culture of process adherence is still work in progress.

As part of the company’s commitment to driving positive change, the group in India has been continuously invest in developing more advanced tools and technologies. R3’s packaging partners have been responsive to the SOP implementation efforts, and one is seeing positive changes in the industry approach towards adhering to the process guidelines.

To further enhance process efficiency and transparency, R3 is planning to digitise the SOP format, making it accessible in real time for its customers. By providing live reports on the status of process adherence, R3 aims to foster greater collaboration and ensure that its packaging partners achieve the best possible outcomes through seamless adherence to the SOP.

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?


The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy



Inadequate infrastructure



Shortage of recycling firms



Lack of consumer awareness



Total Votes : 18


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