Printing is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States - employing over 1.3 million people in over 55,000 establishments in 2011. The industry is dominated by small and medium sided businesses, most employing fewer than 20 employees.
Flexographic presses are capable of producing good quality impressions on many different substrates. Flexography is the least expensive and simplest of the printing processes used for decorating and packaging printing.
The use of flexographic printing presses is on the rise because it is relatively simple operation and is easily adapted to use water-based inks. The widespread use of water-based inks in flexographic printing means a large reduction in VOC emissions compared to the heatset web, offset lithographic, or gravure printing processes.
A major portion of flexographic printing is housed within flexible packaging manufacturing facilities. Flexographic printing is characterized by relief type plates (raised image areas) comprised of flexible material such as rubber or nitrile. Flexographic printing is used for longer print runs, unlike offset printing which may run short runs of just a few thousand impressions (i.e. brochure) or similarly long print runs of up to 1,000,000 impressions.
Typical products printed with flexographic printing processes include:
Number of printing establishments in the United States (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 County Business Patterns)
|EPA Region||Number of printing establishments||Number of employees|
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes associated with flexographic printing operations
|322211||Corrugated & Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing|
|322212||Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing|
|322213||Set-up Paperboard Box Manufacturing|
|322215||Non-folding Sanitary Food Container Manufacturing|
|322221||Coated/Laminated Packaging (Paper & Plastic Film)|
|322226||Surface Coated Paperboard|
|323112||Commercial Flexographic Printing|