A Southern Success Story

CEO Darren Little has recently invested in a 40˝ Mitsubishi Diamond 3000LX offset press.

VP&L uses sheetfed offset and narrow-web flexographic printing to produce an array of packaging, tags, wraps, and pressure-sensitive labels primarily for the retail apparel industry.

A focus on niche markets and capability in both offset and flexo printing are keys to success at Valdese Packaging & Label.

VP&L works closely with retailers including Walmart, JCPenny, Kohl’s, and Target, as well as companies overseas that manufacture goods for American companies. It uses sheetfed offset and narrow-web flexographic presses to produce packaging, tags, wraps, and pressure-sensitive labels primarily for the retail apparel industry. The printing work, produced in North Carolina, is then shipped all over the globe.

Investing for growth

In the past year, VP&L, a long-time user of half-size sheetfed presses, added a new 6-color, 40˝ Mitsubishi Diamond 3000LX press with aqueous coater, a new Kodak Flexcel NX CTP system, and a Concept platemaking system. The company also added an all new Bobst finishing department that includes two 106 diecutters and two Fuego folder/gluers.

The new Mitsubishi press is the first 40˝ press for the company and replaced a 10-year-old 28˝ Mitsubishi 1F-15 that had churned out several hundred million impressions. A 6-color, 28˝ Diamond 1000LS installed in 2005 is still in operation.

The new 40˝ press allows the company to print on a wide array of substrates, from onion skin to 40-point board. It features high-speed plate changing, advanced electronics on the control console, and connectivity to digital prepress.

“For the life of me, I’ll never know how we were competing in packaging with 28˝ presses,” Little says with a laugh. The company is now looking to add another 40˝ press, he points out.

“The Diamond LX Presses are loaded with everything an offset packaging printer could want,” Little continues. “From the IPC (Intelligent Press Control) that works hand-in-hand with prep and the IntelliTrax scanning system for ink control, to Simulchange, which can completely change all six plates in under one minute—and the list goes on and on.”

In October, VP&L moved its flexo division into a 65,000 square-foot facility directly across the street from the sheetfed department, and the company is planning to add a large-format flexo press and support equipment before the end of the year. A new UV press is also expected to join the fold next year.

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