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FLEXO Magazine : November 2010
Plants & Processes customer to purchase test plates and print an area of a box where there might be concern. We want our customers to feel confident and walk away from a project feeling satisfied they chose APC. Learning Curve To help with the transition, Crossley brought in two people: Stevens, a 10-year graphic sales veteran; and David Straten, the current director of graphic packaging, a long-time graphics professional with experience in bringing corrugated production facili- ties into the high-graphics arena. For Straten, a native of Ohio, it was a big move. However, he has plenty of experience in learning to adapt to new things. “Dealing with print is a continuous learning experi- ence,” he says. “Everything isn’t perfect; things come up all the time and you need to work through those. If my customer needs boxes tomorrow and there’s a problem today, he’s still going to need those boxes tomorrow. ” As a past member of FTA/FFTA’s Board of Directors and Trustees, as well as a long-time FTA Excellence Awards judge and committee member, Straten is well versed in the keys to success in high-end post-print corrugated. One of those keys, he advises, is to be open and adaptable. “ You can’t do everything by a text book every time. This is corrugated. It’s not a thin, uniform piece of paper or film. It has thickness, varying moisture content and hills, and valleys to name a few. It is the nature of paper to change, as much as we try to keep it consistent. Then, you have to die-cut it out, glue it up and get it to the customer on time.” The first major change that had to take place before Advance Packaging could get into multi-color printing was establishing a solid prepress provider partner, according to Straten. “ Working with the right prepress provider is abso- lutely critical. The firm must have experience in high-end corrugated graphics, fingerprinting, profiling, proofing, etc., and be willing and accessible to communicate to you multiple times a day if necessary.” Advance Packaging works with Printron in Neenah, WI, for its multi-color graphics work. It also partners with Container Graphics and Mark-Maker. The next step, Straten insists, was to implement specifica- tions. Consistency, he says, is essential to success in high-end graphics. As such, he turns to FIRST (Flexographic Image Re- production Specifications and Tolerances). “Predictability and consistent results are things that were not always appreciated or understood in corrugated. In the past as long as it printed and looked OK coming off the press, everyone was happy. But in retail packaging, it really does have to be predictable and consistent. When it runs the second or third times it has to look as good as the first, because they are going to sit next to each other on the shelf.” To help monitor variation and root out problems, Advance Packaging production staff electronically documents all run data. “Everything is tracked here,” says Straten. Each employee clocks in and out on a computer, sees what his/ her next job is and enters set-up, run time, downtime, and what caused the downtime. This way I can log in from virtually anywhere and see how that job did. Color is checked and tracked too. We do all our own ink drawdowns in our in-house ink kitchen, have the customers approve and sign off on them, and then read those back into the spectrophotometers as the standards. Jobs that require color checks are measured and viewed in color correct viewing conditions. If it’s not within the delta E tolerance, then the ink is adjusted until it is. Through- a corrugated fire truck sled, part of an annual contest advance Packaging enters each year in the nearby town of Grand Haven on lake Michigan. company designers, account specialist, other employees, customers and friends all lend a hand constructing and riding it in competition. this one won the “Vogue award” for best looking sled last winter. (left) Four of the six designers pose in last winter’s sled. 64 FLEXO noVeMber 2010 www.flexography.org FLX_Nov10_mech.indd 64 11/1/10 2:25 PM
Sustainable Fall 2010