I am frequently asked if the flexo market is different in Canada. I assume the comparison asked is about the United States, so here are some similarities and contrasts that come to mind.
Many consider Ontario and Quebec as the business engine of the country. Toronto and Montreal are home to hundreds of label printers, wide web poly printers, corrugated facilities, and trade shops. The Toronto area is home to one of the highest concentrations of Esko devices on the planet. Business in these two areas is competitive, active, and exciting, plus having Gordon Graydon High School, Ryerson Polytechnic, and Humber College ensures a constant supply of print, packaging, and flexo educated talent following in the ranks.
The Canadian west is not so wild (except in Calgary at Stampede time), but other than that, the flexo business in the west is strong and consistent. The west seems to have it all figured out and Winnipeg (aka Winterpeg) is a very large flexo hub, and many Flexo awards find their way to the Manitoba province.
Besides our obvious love offer affair with maple syrup, poutine, and all things hockey, you may be surprised at how well flexo is thriving in Canada. Some of the highest quality print on poly, corrugated, and label stock is being produced north of the 49th parallel.
Significant innovations in flexo have made it possible to achieve dramatically enhanced image reproduction, consistency from image to image and job to job, and a richer color gamut. Canadian flexo printers are discovering new opportunities and are attracting new clients who are looking at flexo in a whole new way.
Canadian printers are committed to remaining competitive, which means adopting technological innovations to improve print quality and reduce costs. We have the same access to technical innovations as anyone else. Advanced new materials from industry leaders including 3M, Flint Group, and Toyobo, are all available and complemented by the newest prepress and color management software from Esko, GMG, EFI, Hybrid, Screen, Xitron and CGS. Plus, these all interface with great proofing and prototyping devices from companies like Roland and Epson.
One thing that is critical, whether you’re buying equipment, materials, or software in Canada or anywhere else, is the support you receive with your purchase. The growing sophistication of flexo requires that you receive the best training and product support, otherwise, you may only tap the basics of this feature-rich equipment and software.
Product support should go far beyond simply knowing the key features of equipment or materials. Everything interfaces in flexo, so you want to buy from an organization that has experience and understands your entire workflow. In fact, you need a flexo “partner” with problem-solving abilities that will work with you long after your purchase.
Product support should also include training to support your purchase. When capital investments are made in equipment or workflows that impact the profitability of your organization, you need a partner that offers tailored solutions for your purchases that fit your business requirements.
These are some of my initial thoughts about flexo in Canada. So what’s it all mean in a nutshell? The flexo market is thriving in Canada and printers are capitalizing on this, especially if they work with value-added organizations that supply their flexo materials, equipment, and software.
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