packagePRINTING magazine presents:

Hundreds Take Part in Packaging Webinar for Commercial Printers

By Cory Francer

More than 500 registrants took part in the debut webinar in the “Packaging 101 for Commercial Printers” webinar series on Wednesday, presented by packagePRINTING and Printing Impressions. The presentation provided an introduction to the packaging field for commercial printers who may have an interest in entering the market.

The presentation, hosted by Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners, provided an overview of the packaging industry, the growth opportunities for commercial printers in this market, and some of the challenges of adding packaging services to the list of a commercial printer’s capabilities.

“There are opportunities for commercial printers in the packaging spots,” Karstedt said during the presentation. “My advocation to those listening is that change is hard, but it’s worth doing if you do it right.”

Dale Skinkis of Graphic Edge Printing and Packaging provided a real-life example of how his commercial printing operation in Hubertus, WI began taking on packaging services.

Skinkis explained that Graphic Edge did not actively seek to enter the packaging market, but was approached by an already established customer with a request to print their packaging. The company started small, working with carton printers to make packaging for this customer, which produced personalized digital cameras.

As Graphic Edge gained equipment and knowledge, Skinkis says becoming a folding carton printer, in addition to its commercial services, has become an essential part of his business.

“One of the biggest things we noticed is we were local,” Skinkis said. “And how we got [customers] to start coming to us is we offered for them to come in and see their products being produced right in house right down the street.”

Another key takeaway from the webinar was that adding packaging services is becoming a trend for commercial printers. And as the line between commercial and package printers continues to blur, there could be impacts to be considered on both ends of the spectrum.

The second part in the series will be held on Wednesday, May 13. Click here to view the webinar and for information about the upcoming webinars in the series.

FTA Forum Addresses Print Challenges Across Multiple Markets to Meet Customer Expectations

Matching customer expectations can be a daunting task. At one time or another, every flexographer has been asked to match the work of other printers. Some have even struggled in producing identical results to a sister plant hailing from within their own organization. Issues causing them such dismay are wide reaching, encompassing everything from the substrate selected to the press the job is being run on, to the color gamut available. And when the job is transitioning to flexo from a competing process, like offset or gravure, complications may multiply.

Flexographic Technical Association’s (FTA) 2015 Annual Forum will address these and similar situations head-on in the “Multi-Market Commonalities—Alike But Different” session. Taking place Wednesday, May 6 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the session will serve as the finale to 2015’s program.

Chaired by Geoff Roznak, Great Northern Corporation and Rose McKernon, FTA, attendees will hear first hand experiences right down to the solutions identified directly from printers that service the flexible packaging, containers, labels and corrugated market segments. Each presenter, a seasoned printer, has had to match work by different printers and processes to successfully overcome the difficulties and ultimately deliver optimal results for their customers. In addition to flexography, subject matter will focus on a variety of print processes including digital, lithographic, dry offset, gravure, screen, hot and cold stamping and combination printing.

“Our speakers incorporate multiple processes into their work daily, matching jobs across substrates, segments, plants and processes, so you’ll hear solutions straight from the source,” said Roznak. “It’s all about making the process work for you, not against you!”

Session topics and their presenters are:
  • “Digital Printing for Flexible Packaging: A Partner to Flexography or A Replacement?” Kevin Kelly, Emerald Packaging Inc.
  • “Managing A Cross Platform Approach to Meet the Needs of A Complex Marketplace,” Bob Feldman, Constantia Label
  • “Decorating in 3D,” Kirk Birchler, Berry Plastics Corporation
  • “Putting the ‘Flex’ in Flexographic – Color Matching For Different Substrates & Print Technologies,” Chuck Buscaglia, Berry Plastics Corporation 
The 2015 Annual Forum, themed “Hitting the Perfect Harmony,” is scheduled for May 3-6 at the Omni Nashville Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. To register for Forum & INFO*FLEX, visit www.flexography.org or contact FTA’s Customer Service Department at 631-737-6020. Attendees will save $100 by registering by the April 24 deadline. Special rate discounts for printer/converter registrants are available, including a “Buy two, get the third free” promotion. Consumer Product Companies are entitled to complimentary registrations.

It’s Back! Hungry Jack’s Microwavable Bottle Returns

By Noel Ward

Regular readers will recall the rampant customer dissension that arose when J.M. Smucker Co., discontinued a key feature on the bottle of its Hungry Jack brand of syrup just one year ago. Since then, the outcry of the product’s fans paid off, and the microwavable bottles are expected to be back on store shelves this summer.

The original bottle featured a handle that did not heat up when the syrup was heated in a microwave oven. While seemingly a small convenience for consumers, J.M. Smucker found out—much to its chagrin—that this feature also drove purchase preference. And when you follow the money, it turns out that third quarter revenue at Smucker declined 2 percent year-over-year from 2014 to 2015. While this decline cannot directly be attributed to the change in syrup bottles, when combined with the customer uproar that stormed the Hungry Jack Facebook page, definitely got the brand’s attention.

This shows that at least some companies do listen to customers, and that understanding how a product is used—and the role packaging plays in that use—can be essential to success at retail.

Heading South: Graph Expo Shifts to Orlando

By Noel Ward

For nearly 20 years I’ve headed to Chicago every September or October for Graph Expo, wondering, like many others, why it’s always in the Windy City. Chicago has come a long way in the past two decades and is a pretty good town for the nation’s largest show for the printing trades. But lift the covers on this annual extravaganza and you find many vendors less than enthusiastic about costs of putting on a show in Chicago and question the over-the-top rates for hotels and restaurants plus the often rapacious practices of McCormick Place unions.

But that’s about to change, at last for 2016. Show promoter, Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), is moving the 2016 version of Graph Expo to the Orange County Convention Center in sunny Orlando, Florida. Slotted for September 25–28 (yes, that is the middle of hurricane season), the move south is—so far—a one-year event. The 2017 iteration will be back in Chicago in the guise of PRINT 17, the jumbo version of Graph Expo that follows one year after drupa in Dusseldorf, Germany. Dates for PRINT were doubtless locked down a few years back, but one wonders whether the shift to central Florida might be a trial for future Graph Expos.

"Costs for exhibitors and attendees alike are high in Chicago and continue to be an issue," says GASC President Ralph Nappi. “It's a good idea to consider other alternatives."

Vendors and non-local attendees will likely appreciate the cost differences. For example, only five of the 25 show hotels for the upcoming Graph Expo in Chicago have rates below $200/night. In Orlando next year, 20 of the 25 show hotels will cost less than $200. And vendors probably won’t miss being hit with surprise on-site labor charges.

There’s another dimension, too. “We see Orlando as an ideal destination to maintain and expand our current U.S. audience, and also build our international contingent of attendees, particularly from Latin America,” continues Nappi.

There is certainly growing strength and demand in the Caribbean and Latin American markets and Orlando is an easier destination than Chicago for printers in those nations. Bringing those folks to Orlando will require substantial outreach by GASC, but if successful, such an audience would be a major boost to Graph Expo fortunes.

Beyond 2017, Nappi says anything is possible. "I can anticipate a world where may it be on a rotation basis," he speculates.

Toray Introduces Torayfan PWX5 Film for Extended Shelf Life

Toray Plastics (America) is now offering CPG's and converters Torayfan PWX5, a metallized BOPP film that is designed for use as a high-performance inner moisture- and oxygen-barrier web in gas-flushed applications. One side of PWX5 film is vacuum-deposited aluminum on Toray's proprietary ultra-barrier layer, which produces a packaging film that has superior metal adhesion and a shiny appearance. The other side of the film has a stable coefficient of friction (COF) and is heat-sealable. Overall, PWX5 offers superior moisture-, aroma-, and flavor-barrier protection. In addition, its excellent barrier durability makes it the preferred choice for applications requiring an extended shelf life. New Torayfan PWX5 is ideally suited for the packaging of salty, flavorful snacks, cookies, crackers, biscuits, and confectionery items.

Source: Toray Plastics.

Phoseon Doubles Power Output of 365nm Air Cooled LED Sources

Phoseon Technology now offers an expansion of its FireJetT FJ200 air-cooled product family with 8W/cm2 peak irradiance at 365nm wavelength. UV LED light sources at 365nm are suitable for adhesive and coating applications where high peak 365nm irradiance and fast curing of heat-sensitive substrates are vitally important. According to Phoseon, its FJ200 systems are designed to be versatile and are ideal for high performance curing applications. The scalability of the FJ200 allows units to be stacked 'end to end' with contiguous, uniform UV output.

Videojet Launches High Adhesion Inks for Returnable Bottles

From cold fill at high speeds to movement throughout the distribution chain, recycled bottling applications require hard-working ink formulations for bottle coding. To meet demands for adhesion, durability and washing, Videojet is launching its latest ink innovation for its 1000 Line of Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers (V420 and V528). Utilizing a unique adhesion promoter and binder chemistry, these new inks offer both exceptional adhesion in variable environments and condensing conditions, and the benefit of easy code removal with caustic wash.

V420 and V528 are specifically formulated to withstand the challenging conditions that bottles are exposed to, including temperature-variable filling conditions as well as hot, humid and wet environments. Their unique chemistry helps ensure rapid drying and exceptional adhesion in high speed bottling applications. These MEK-based inks offer an ideal balance of resiliency and ease-of-use, maintaining their code quality until the bottles go through the caustic wash process upon their return, at which time the codes can be easily removed by the bottler. Both inks are for use with Videojet 1000 Line printers, though the V528 is specifically designed for the Ultra High Speed model.

TLMI Announces Eugene Singer Award Winners

At the association’s recent Converter Meeting in Sea Island, GA, TLMI announced the winners of the Eugene Singer Award for Management Excellence. One of the industry’s most prestigious honors, the award recognizes excellence in business management measured and defined by an established set of growth and profitability ratios through participation in the TLMI Management Ratio Study.

More than 100 narrow web converters throughout the United States and Canada participate in the TLMI Ratio Study, but just four converting companies are awarded the honor each year. The 2014 TLMI Eugene Singer Awards go to:
  • Centennial, CO-based Columbine Label Company won in the small company category for the fourth time. Greg Jackson, the company’s president, commented, “Winning this award again just doesn’t get old! Competing and coming out on top, given the level of the other companies involved, is difficult to even adequately describe. Needless to say, we’re excited and proud to have won the Singer award again. Achieving these results is largely due to having such a great group of employees at Columbine that really work hard to do a great job for our customers. And we have a great group of customers as well, that makes putting forth the extra effort easy and rewarding. I’m proud to be part of that, and I’m honored to accept this award on their behalf.”
  • Yorba Linda, CA-based Digital Label Solutions won for the mid-range company category. This is the company’s second time winning the Eugene Singer Award and company co-owner, Sandy Petersen, commented, “We consider ourselves very lucky that TLMI membership includes management tools as thorough and valuable as the Ratio Study, and of course offering a platform like the Eugene Singer Award that acknowledges all of our hard work and dedication to our company. We wouldn’t be here without these tools, as well as great customers, vendors, and most of all, simply incredible employees who go above and beyond each and every day!.”
  • Aurora, IL-based The Label Printers won for the medium company category. This is the Label Printers’ sixth Eugene Singer Award. The company’s COO, Lori Campbell, commented, “This award is a testimony to the dedication of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, and the support of our suppliers and we are grateful to them all.”
  • Sanford, FL-based Consolidated Label won for the large company category. This is Consolidated Label’s 13th Eugene Singer Award. Company President, Joel Carmany commented, “Consolidated label is very excited about winning the Singer award again. Our employees work hard to achieve this honor and we thank them along with our loyal customers and vendors for making it possible.”
“The TLMI Ratio Study continues to be an invaluable resource and benchmarking tool for our converter members," said TLMI President Frank Sablone." More than 100 companies participated in last year’s Ratio Study and such high participation rates continue to reinforce how beneficial our converter members consider the study to be. I want to congratulate each of this year’s Singer Award winners on a job well done, and I want to personally thank each and every converter that submitted their information.”

Online with FTA and IDEAlliance: G7 and Flexography in Production

The Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) and IDEAlliance are launching a new, interactive online course, “G7, Flexography and the Production Environment.” Designed for both production and non-production personnel within the flexographic printing industry, the course delivers a comprehensive overview of G7 methodology and outlines its proper implementation to enhance any flexographic workflow.

The eight-module course explores the following topics:

  • Overview of G7 and FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances)
  • Calibration techniques to achieve repeatable results 
  • Optimization practices to identify the best possible combination of print variables
  • Fingerprinting procedures to successfully match a contract proof
  • Process control techniques to maintain stable press conditions, and reduce set-up time and waste
  • Global standards that reference G7 or Near Neutral Calibration
  • Procedures for matching standard proofs, versus custom datasets
  • How G7 provides efficiencies for both brand owner and printer
  • Next steps for G7 and FIRST certification

This self-paced course, narrated by Steve Smiley, SmileyColor & Associates, LLC. and Joe Tuccitto, FTA, is $450 for FTA and IDEAlliance members and $900 for non-members. For complete details and to register visit www.flexography.org/g7.

Source: Flexographic Technical Association.

First “Gallus Digital Label Forum”

The Gallus Innovation Days in September 2014 marked the global unveiling of the Gallus DCS 340, a digital printing press developed in collaboration with Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and Fujifilm, its partner for inkjet technology. Back then, visitors were given the first ever glimpse of a prototype, but with the digital printing system now approaching the series production stage, more than 50 label printers from all around the world were offered an exclusive opportunity to experience it in its development environment at the research and development center of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. 

Christof Naier, vice president of sales and marketing at Gallus and Hans Butterfass, head of digital printing development at Heidelberg, welcomed the guests to Heidelberg. The Gallus customers watched a live demonstration of the Gallus DCS 340 and were given a unique tour of the research and development center, the hub of all Heidelberg innovations. During their visit, they enjoyed an exclusive insight into the development labs for digital inkjet printing, which are normally off-limits to visitors. The tour focused in particular on print head technology and the associated behavior of ink droplets during spraying and on the substrate. With its native resolution of 1200 dpi, print speed of 50 m/min and maximum register accuracy, the Gallus DCS 340 sets new label-printing standards for quality, productivity and flexibility. 

Another highlight awaited the Gallus customers at Heidelberg's Wiesloch-Walldorf production site, where the inkjet printing module of the Gallus DCS 340 is manufactured. After being greeted by Stephan Plenz, a member of the Heidelberg Management Board, the visitors were given an insight into electronics production and the packaging demo center. After the tour, Jason Oliver, senior vice president of digital print at Heidelberg, explained how the purchasing patterns of consumers are already changing as a result of global digital networking. He also addressed the new challenges that these changes will bring about for the packaging industry and the associated opportunities for label and packaging printing. 

Transilwrap Expands Extrusion Capabilities

Transilwrap Co., a leading manufacturer, converter and distributor of plastic films, has expanded its extrusion line, increasing production capacity of graphics-grade styrene and synthetic paper products by 35 percent and allowing Transilwrap to produce both rolls and sheets up to 70” wide.

The expansion helps Transilwrap build its support for this strategic market segment. Over the past four years, Transilwrap has added three new extruders allowing for the expansion of value added product offerings and superior service to the graphics industry.

“Transilwrap is pleased to expand our capabilities and continue to meet the higher demands and evolving standards in the graphics marketplace,” says Greg Carlin, general manager of the graphics business unit. “This investment reinforces our dedication to the printing, packaging and communication industries and we’re excited that this new line can help our customers grow their use of plastic film and sheet for these applications. Plus, our increased capacity ensures that our customers continue to receive quick-turn order fulfillment and the industry’s best lead times.”

Consolidated Label Rolls Out Textured Finishes for Shrink Sleeves

Consolidated Label Co. has added special effects capabilities for custom shrink sleeve labels, allowing customers to incorporate texture into their packaging design. The Rotary Screen Integration system from SPGPrints was chosen for its diverse printing options and versatility within production lines. Some applications available with the RSI system include:
  • Raised ink deposits
  • Finely detailed lines and shapes
  • Tactile raised images
  • Hologram imitations
  • 3D effects
  • Security features
The system is a self-contained, single color printing unit designed for easy integration into an existing press, and capable of operating at line speeds in excess of 410 ft/min. Among its features, the RSI print module is compatible with all shrink sleeve materials such as PVC and PETG film, as well as a variety of ink types like standard, fluorescent and metallic colors. Brand owners who use or are considering shrink sleeve labels can increase the impact and memorability of their product with custom special effects, such as texture and other creative finishes.

Esko Adds Digital Asset Management Provider MediaBeacon

Esko, the leading global player in packaging production and supply chain solutions, has announced the acquisition of MediaBeacon Inc., a leader in Digital Asset Management (DAM) software solutions. MediaBeacon, based in Minneapolis, brings an award-winning suite of DAM tools to market, primarily in the United States, through direct distribution and strategic OEM partnerships in various industries ranging from retail and consumer packaged goods to media, print and the public sector.

“It is Esko’s strategy to digitize and integrate the entire packaging production workflow from design all the way to finished packs and displays in the store. With this acquisition, we further our transformation from a prepress solution provider to an end-to-end supplier in the packaging world,” explains Udo Panenka, Esko president. “Increasing pressure on error-free and timely production of brand expressions across a diverse media range like packaging, in-store displays and online and printed advertising, turns an integrated DAM solution into a cornerstone for both print service providers and brand owners. Adding MediaBeacon tools and expertise expands the Esko Software Suite and brings to market a production workflow solution that keeps pace with the challenges of organizations around the globe.”

To facilitate a smooth integration process, Jason Bright, CEO and founder of MediaBeacon, will assume the role of chief technology officer. Bright, a highly respected thought leader and industry visionary, will work closely with the Esko R&D teams to drive software integration efforts and to ensure ongoing development of the MediaBeacon DAM software. Brett Robertson will assume responsibilities over daily operations as the general manager of MediaBeacon. Robertson was previously the director global product marketing, Servo Motors with Kollmorgen.

“The prospect of adding MediaBeacon’s development and go-to-market efforts into Esko’s global operations in packaging workflow is very exciting and provides us with a solid platform for growth,” comments Robertson. “Esko’s expertise with packaging assets, including structural design and 3D virtual mockup technology, broadens the scope, depth and breadth of the integrated solution dramatically and will surely also excite our customers.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Source: Esko.