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The Expanding Reach of Narrow Web

Sep 10, 2021
Wider widths, automation, and sustainability are top-of-mind aspects to the new-look of narrow-web printing.

Historically, narrow-web printing has typically referred to print widths of approximately seven to 13˝, but of late, converters are exploring wider options, with many increasing up to 24 to 27˝.

Several recent trends have taken shape with flexographic presses, primarily for labels and flexible packaging, that support this. For example, production runs have decreased in length, requiring shorter and more efficient press changeovers, and more producers are looking to incorporate digital print capability in order to expand market presence while capturing a more diverse body of work.

Additionally, many label printers are looking to expand into flexible packaging, so in addition to considering wider-format presses for labels and increased output, they are also exploring press capability for printing film, which will then be converted into flexible packaging formats.

It’s no wonder more narrow web press manufacturers are now developing wider presses to satisfy the demand.

Paper Converting Machine Company, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., is among the press manufacturers offering a mid-web in-line press, the PCMC ELS-MAX, and several wide-web CI presses.

“The ELS-MAX has taken technology from both in-line and wide web CI presses and combined that technology to produce a fast changeover in-line press that holds extremely tight register,” explains Rodney Pennings, director of sales at the company. “Printers will save up to 50-75% in both waste and setup time by having the capability to store and recall virtually every setting on the press. Stored jobs can also be shared between multiple presses with just a touch of a button.”

The ELS-MAX is rated to run solvent ink along with PCMC’s standard water-based and UV inks, and offers the ability to quickly change press parameters to make it run extremely efficiently on many types of material.

“Because of the broad print and finishing capability of the design, printers are able to utilize this single press platform to produce a wide variety of product to serve various markets,” Pennings says.

Read more in Packaging Impressions magazine