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FLEXO Magazine : June 2012
the industry. Thanks to a recent commitment to new resources, state-of-the-art technology and its employee development, the enterprise is confident in an ever-expanding marketplace. Portco knows food packaging. With more than three quar- ters of a century worth of experience, the company strives to meet the expectations of safety, quality, reliability and per- formance. The company manufactures custom laminations, multi-wall bags and plain and printed rollstock for institutional and retail markets. It does so with zeal and an experienced staff. The firm has earned its client’s trust with a clean plant and operations distinguished by a “Superior” rating with American Institute of Baking (AIB), as well as Interstate Milk Shippers (IMS) certification. SUSTAINABLE SPECIALITY In 2007, Portco notably added solventless laminations to its product line. This green solution offers excellent bonds, high- er clarity, and zero trapped solvent odors. Portco educates customers on the most environmentally and fiscally sensitive opportunities to provide choice packaging materials. While the company has had a storied history in using paper as its primary substrate, the firm has moved into laminated film structures without compromising its commitment to perfor- mance or product excellence. Portco has never had to make concessions on quality or reliability and does business with other firms that believe in sustainability. “ We’re a water-based company,” says Rich Castillo, plant manager, Portco Packaging. “ We print with all water-based inks, no solvents.” Portco laminates polypropylene, polyethylene, and cel- lophane, along with other specialty films. The company ’s state-of-the-art laminator features superior web tension con- trol, which means dependable and consistent runs. Quick- changes are easy and computer recipes guarantee precise repeatability from job to job. Furthermore, its integrated “ World Mixer” ensures adhesive consistency, providing high quality laminations every time. Operating two flexo presses, one laminator and two slitters, this 34-employee printer can produce 150 line screen products without the use of solvents. “T here are only a handful of companies out there that can produce high-end packaging using these technologies together,” Castillo says. NEXT-GEN TRAINING With the future constantly on the printing industry ’s heels, Portco is committed to keeping its employees as conversant and cutting-edge as its machinery. The company is currently in the final stages of FTA’s FIRST Company Certification. FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) made its debut in 1997 as a set of guidelines, tutorials and targets, aimed to help all members of the flexo- graphic supply chain improve quality, reduce cycle times, and minimize waste. It is now in its fourth edition and has served as the impetus for FTA’s development of its FIRST Operator Certification program. With the online, self-paced, six- and 12- week courses, stu- dents are able to learn and study whenever their schedules allow. Learners can pick up right where they had previously left off as well as review specific sections prior to testing. In- struction in the modules provide immediate, functional skills. Communications skills, troubleshooting abilities and process controlling will be assessed, challenged, and enhanced. “FIRST training has provided employees with valuable knowledge to help with troubleshooting and maintain con- sistency in quality finished product,” describes Kris Crabb, plant leadhand, Portco, who is currently enrolled in the FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification program. There are three paths of certification: Press Operator, Prepress Operator, and Implementation Specialist, each requiring a student passes Level I, II and III exams to attain certification. When 40 percent of prepress staff, pressroom staff, and management/production staff are FIRST Operator certified, and the company complies with a FTA on-site audit, it can apply for FIRST Company Certification. This accredita- tion proves to customers that the company is following FIRST methodology to the letter. Also, a FIRST Company Certifica- tion results in prestige as well as affirming the company ’s commitment to flexographic excellence. Everyone at Portco—from the receptionists to the mainte- nance personnel to management—participated in the Level I training. “ T he training was company-wide,” said Johnny Burks, production supervisor, Portco, and FIRST Certified Implementation Specialist. “Here at Portco we wanted every- body to know about the entire flexographic process.” www.flexography.org june 2012 FLEXO 35 Tammi Murphy on the solventless laminator Danny Alldrin on the Robinette 8-color stack press, running a multi- walled bag.