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FLEXO Magazine : February 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES "I preflight any design that comes in to us here on a Mac. Even before I send them to prepress, I look for things that can be fixed or should be fixed." -Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging the facilities, the name was changed to Hood Packaging Corp., in honor of the company's founder and chairman, Warren Hood. Together, Hood is now NO.3 in the world in multiwall paper bags, and within the top 20 among U.S. flexible plastic packaging producers. While Hood Packaging's business is wide ranging, the Arden Hills facility has always focused largely on consumer packaging. "Some of our largest accounts include snack food, and pet food, as well as shrink wrap packaging. Hood also offers a large range of converted bags, and pouches," he said. In this sector, Hood Packaging has lever- aged its diverse offer- ings to provide innova- tion to customers. "A lot of the pet food mul- tiwall sacks are being converted into quad- seal pouches because of the durability of the product," said Hilliard. The quad-seal construction makes the packaging more user-friendly because it doesn't split or break. We reverse-print polyester and laminate to a white co-extrusion polyethylene called Polycrete. This film was developed by our plant in Calgary, AB, Canada to be tough enough to use for cement packaging. The laminated structure is not easily cut or punctured, and virtually eliminates any chance of spilling product at retail stores or homes due to accidental ad- verse contact with the packaging." - PASSION FOR PACKAGING It all began with sausage casings. Some time in the mid 1970s, a young Hilliard got his start in printing with a division of Hygrade Foods in Detroit, MI, that specialized, as stated, in meat and sau- sage casings. "I started there in the maintenance department, and performed repair and troubleshooting on converting equipment and printing presses. That's when the interest in the printing pro- cess began. One thing led to another and I started working in the printing department, eventually becoming supervisor and then print manager." Hilliard's tenure there came during a transition from let- terpress to flexography. "They wanted a better and quicker way of printing on the cas- ings. That started my interest in flexo," he said. "We were the first in that particular industry to experiment and convert some of the press stations to flexo. I even developed a simple doctor blade system in order to improve print quality before chambered blades were widely available. "Later I decided to branch out and work for a company that strictly printed flexo and packaging," he continued. "So I contact- ed an employment service and landed a job in Minneapolis, MN, with Color Ad Packaging. Working with Color Ad gave me the opportunity to get involved with every aspect of the flexo printing and converting process. FEBRUARY 2009 www.f I exog ra p hy.o rg FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009