How Today’s Flexographic Presses Target Efficiency with Fewer People, Less Waste & Continuous Support

Every minute that a press isn’t running is money lost. Newer flexographic print technology has made significant strides in making short runs more economical through faster setups and reduced waste.

Repeatability has also become a critical component in helping to make a press operator successful in producing high-quality, sellable product.

Many of PCMC’s products address the needs of shorter runs, faster makeready and standardization, and help customers improve efficiency as well as profits. Our award-winning innovations—SteadyPrint and the Meridian Elite laser anilox cleaner, both recipients of an FTA Technical Innovation Award—improve print quality and repeatability, and reduce waste.

Customer Demands

Customers are facing demands from their customers for quicker turnaround times, higher quality and print features, while facing material supply and personnel shortages. This leads to them placing demands on OEMs for multi-use machines, faster speeds, easier-to-use controls and platforms, easier-to-access designs for quicker changeovers, the ability to run and maintain machines with fewer personnel, less waste and continuous support to avoid downtime.

PCMC’s Fusion C was specifically designed to have a smaller footprint. It is loaded with fast makeready and waste-saving features and often incorporates the SteadyPrint anti-bounce technology.
All photos courtesy of Paper Converting Machine Co (PCMC)

OEMs are driving designs to accommodate these demands while determining how to support customer processes to achieve higher profitability and higher end-user customer satisfaction.

The industry is seeing more compact press designs that allow for safer and easier access during operation and foster much faster job changeover opportunities. This is due to the shorter distances to walk, the ability to stage setup items closer to the press, increased changeover automation, and the lack of need to use lifts or ladders during the changeover process.

Presses that have sleeved plate and anilox technology offer additional benefits that help reduce operator fatigue—offering a more rewarding and fulfilling work experience.

Compact press designs are beneficial to printers that are challenged with optimizing their facility space utilization. They allow more assets within the same square footage and help spread the overhead cost of support personnel over a larger number of assets. Smaller presses also have lower purchase, installation and maintenance costs due to having fewer and smaller parts.

“Automation features on flexographic printing presses can help monitor and adjust all process variables, resulting in higher efficiency and profits.”

PCMC’s Fusion C was specifically designed to have a smaller footprint to address all these needs. It is loaded with fast makeready and waste-saving features and incorporates a smaller footprint and fewer parts—saving space and cost.

Automation/Industry 4.0

Automation leads to consistent output for more reliable performance for sellable product. Automation can assist in production capabilities and open access to new or expanded markets. Machine learning can help guide innovation and process improvement toward greater efficiencies and increased effectiveness. Automation features on flexographic printing presses can help monitor and adjust all process variables, resulting in increased efficiency and profits.

At PCMC, how we have been approaching Industry 4.0 is by the belief that the true power of data is in putting it to work for you. Our Accelerate Monitoring service provides the insights and recommended actions to enable your team to take productivity and efficiency to the next level.

Through the use of cloud-based data, our easy-to-understand dashboards enable customers to leverage IoT technology to get a real-time view of their machine’s output and performance. When you pair this up with our knowledgeable team of experts who can take a deep dive into this data and make recommendations for service or adjustments, you’re poised for success and protecting the long-term performance of your equipment.

Process Control

Camera-based automatic impression and register systems take operator error and guesswork out of the equation as presses adjust to address print inaccuracies without human intervention. PCMC’s award-winning SteadyPrint anti-bounce feature utilizes algorithms to monitor, adjust and address bounce in real time, helping to reduce both run times and unnecessary waste.

PCMC’s Meridian Elite laser anilox cleaner

The Fusion C helps printers meet the increasing demands of production schedules with features such as zero-speed initial impression and registration setting, ink color and viscosity management, automatic ink/deck washup, central impression (CI) drum cleaning, energy-efficient and responsive drying, and closed-loop, camera-based impression and registration setting. The enclosed design of the ink doctor chamber improves ink usage efficiency and allows for more automation along with greater ease of use due to toolless on- or off-press preparation.


Increased quality, durability and variability of print are driving printers to challenge their typical production processes. Many times, this leads to use of digital print inline with more traditional forms of printing, like flexography or offset, as well as inline application of protective coatings, laminates or other finishing technologies.

Finding ways to produce a finished product in one pass has helped to drive down production costs and waste while helping to broaden product offerings and access to new markets.

Remote, VR Assists

In today’s world, it is important to be able to help customers quickly and efficiently. Being able to provide remote support is critical to keeping printers and converters up and running. This was especially important during COVID-19, when travel and visitor restrictions made it hard for in-person service, diagnosis and training.

PCMC has a suite of products that can assist customers virtually. Through a mobile app, we create a fully collaborative live environment with an instant audio/video connection between the customer facility and our PCMC technicians and engineering experts.

Accelerate Online provides remote troubleshooting support for customers’ PLCs, drives and operations. We utilize Secomea units via secure network access to log into controllers and monitor the current state of program logic, drives and motors. While equipment is running, we observe the current state and ensure logic is working as expected. This enables our team to help our customers troubleshoot on site and get their equipment running efficiently. And the extensive security measures offered provide peace of mind to our customers, who know their data is safe.

About the Author

headshot Rodney Pennnings
Rodney Pennings is sales director, Paper Converting Machine Co (PCMC) in Green Bay, WI. He has held the post since 2017 and is responsible for global sales of printing, coating and laminating machinery. Before assuming his current role, he spent nearly six years as value stream leader—printing, coating and laminating. A member of the PCMC team for more than 25 years, Pennings also had assignments as engineering leader and controls engineer. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; as well as an M.S. in engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.