For many packaging and label printers, managing inks and the quest for accurate colours are causing lost value to the business. Ink takes a complex journey through the printing house, and any errors along the way can affect quality of output, machine uptime, delivery times – and profits.
Consider the scenarios: a high-performance press is left standing because of delays mixing an ink recipe in the ink kitchen. Excessive ink returned after production going to waste. The expense of scrapped substrate because of remakes or mistakes in proofing. On top of that, considerable resources are needed to purchase, store, and trace inks.
Converters from around world have turned to us to solve such challenges for nearly 50 years.
The InkConnection blog, with this special series about ‘Ink Logistics’ is based on the knowledge we’ve built up from working with our customers in that time. It’s dedicated to helping you overcome your ink-related problems too.
In forthcoming entries, we’ll help you identify waste in your workflow and provide advice on eliminating it. We will also show how ink management software automates processes and gives real-time information to help you make faster, smarter decisions.
Creating value without waste
We define good ink logistics as: “A controlled system to prevent the expenditure of ink-related resources for any other goal than the creation of value for the end customer”.
When implemented properly, ink logistics transforms your company into a ‘lean,’ ‘smart’ operation. It gives you:
- Great reductions of waste throughout your workflow. You eliminate any excess in time, materials, tools, techniques, people and space, to deliver the printed product to customer requirements
- Consistent, repeatable quality, at the first attempt – automated processes minimise human error
- Improved response times
- Improved quality and safety assurance – for example, because of the ability to trace ink batches in the supply chain
- Improved decision-making and forecasting – especially thanks to software advances
There are three elements to ink logistics:
- Ink dispensing systems, to prepare colours on demand
- Proofing equipment to ensure accurate, predictable colour
- Ink management software, for a host of tasks, from recipe calculations to stock control
Ink dispensing is available for flexo, gravure and screen inks, but there are software packages for managing all ink sets.
Today, brand owners demand tight standards of repeatable quality, deliveries of shorter runs on a just-in-time basis and transparency in the supply chain. Good ink management, then, is arguably essential for ‘preferred supplier’ status.
In our next entry, we will look more deeply at the elements of waste.
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