The very big trend coming up is “fixed colour palette” printing, says Asahi's Dieter Niederstadt

The technical marketing manager at Asahi, in conversation with PrintWeek India's managing editor, Noel D'Cunha

30 Sep 2015 | By Noel D'Cunha

PrintWeek India (PWI): How have the previous two years, since the last Labelexpo Europe, been for your company? And how was your growth?
Dieter Niederstadt (DN): I cannot share sales figures, but we are doing really well and have even increased sales for the past 40 years.
PWI: What is your star product at the Labelexpo Europe 2015? Can you explain what’s new and how will it benefit the customers?
DN: It is the AWP water wash flexo plate. The plate has a lower surface energy and by that way does not get dirty during printing. So the customer does not need to stop the press for cleaning intervals. It also registers better into colour. We have been told by other industry suppliers (for example, laser manufacturers) that the AWP plate is the best in class plate for UV flexolabel application.
PWI: In terms of functionality, has the role of labels enhanced or it still is a piece of decoration?
DN:It is both functional, but it must be top class quality on the shelf in order to be picked.
PWI: New guidelines for product security and ingredients disclosures are being introduced on a regular basis. Do you see labels donning a bigger role here?
DN: We cannot see that at the moment, but we have several customer who are printing micro text for tamper proofing application. The resolution of the plate can hold and print 1point microtext which can only be read under an eyeglass.
PWI:There are new substrates, linerless to name one, plus processes. Which are the ones that are especially challenging when printing labels printed using your products and what should the labellers do to address these challenges?
DN:As we are selling flexo plates, we do not care about the substrate. Flexo can print on anything!
PWI:Short-run work and just-in-time delivery are fast becoming the norm. And to remain a competitive supplier and meet these changing demands, what should the Indian label printers do to improve their production methods? How does your products help in this?
DN:The very big trend coming up is “fixed colour palette” printing. We are actually promoting it with our AWP plate on our exhibition booth. The idea is to get rid of spot colours and print only with a fixed ink set of either four or seven colours.
PWI: Plates, Anilox, Sleeves, rollers and such on press product play a big part in production of labels. But label production involves waste and here again, your products can play a part in reducing this label producing cost. What are the ways in which label printers can minimise waste and become more cost-effective to meet today’s fast-evolving production requirements and deliver greater commercial advantage? Can you give an example?
DN: This is the key point we will appeal on our booth this year. AWP can increase the OEE by 33%. This is a use cost saving to the printer and waste reduction because of quick make ready and less cleaning stops. I would like to explain to you on the exhibition.
PWI: New technologies in pre-press and press, finishing kit and inks, are enhancing the functionality of labels. In future, what improvements can we expect from plate and consumable manufacturers?
DN: We are certainly strengthen our focus on the printer itself. This is where the “rubber meets the road” and we can make a difference with our products. Asahi is a chemical company and we can engineer the plates to do things such as low surface energy etc. there are further advances on our pipeline supporting particularly the drive for short run jobs and fixed colour palette printing.
PWI: What do you see changing and growing in the label stock marketplace?
DN: Job sizes run length are already low. We do not expect that this is changing a lot. Therefore, we have to make flexo more competitive for smaller runs below 1,000 running meter.