FlexPross will produce a diagnostic and training support system which will reduce waste, increase competition and cut training costs for a rapidly expanding sector of the printing and packaging industry. This sector currently prints 60 Billion square meters of product, for a total value of 3 8 000 000 KECU. Of the 5500 printers in this sector in Europe, there are more than 3000 SMEs (have less than 250 employees). Waste is currently estimated to be between 5-9%. Training costs are estimated to be 15 KECU per new employee. FlexPross will function by gathering and synthesizing data from printers and suppliers. The results will be furnished as an interactive diagnostic system, which uses the "pressroom", "printing machine" and "printed copy" as the interface to the data. The underlying models could be extended to process control applications (closed-loop quality control). Flexography is a comparatively "clean" process as it can use water-based inks rather than the oil or toluene based inks often used in offset orheliogravure.
This is making it an increasingly attractive choice, but as it is fast-expanding, there is not enough production expertise within the industry to help the companies avoid large amounts of waste as they learn how to run new jobs. The FlexPross results will enable companies to troubleshoot production problems (Understand why things are not working) Reduce waste (Avoid 'trial and error ' approach). Set up the job properly (Predict what will work correctly), Estimate job costs (Predict what will be used in production), The goals are to reduce waste by 5% and training time by 25%. If the FlexPross results were adopted by the 5500 printers in this sector, it the savings would be: Waste reduction savings (from 5% to 4.75 %) 92 500 KECU Training Savings (1 new employee/company) 20 625 KECU Potential Savings/year 113125 KECU Savings on Energy (less production because of less waste) would also be realised. If the market penetration for the results is 10%, this would result in Minimum savings/year 11313 KECU The FlexPross project has already received the support of trade associations from Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. They have undertaken to keep their members informed about the project and to help wherever possible.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
S3 8RX Sheffield
08903 Hospitalet Llobregat
PE17 4LF St. Ives
3900 AH Veenendaal
M1 2QJ Manchester