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FLEXO Magazine : March 2014
been able to keep that smaller company feel with respect to service and support for our customers. FLEXO®: Talk about any recent purchases or other upgrades Label Impressions has made. Salisbury: The company made significant investments at the end of 2013. We were able to take advantage of both the special investment tax incentives expiring in 2014 and low interest rates and thus get a lot more bang for our buck: • We upgraded all of our presses to helical gearing and completely rebuilt exist- ing equipment • We added custom built coupon, folding and multi ply label production equipment, specifically designed for our process, thus dramati- cally reducing our costs and production time for these products • We purchased a custom built 13-in. servo Nilpeter added content press with dual unwinds, dual web guides, an overhead tower, an adhesive system and more • We added rotary screen and foil production modules for this press as well as foil units for three of our other press- es, set on rail systems for faster setup and lower scrap • We purchased a 16-in. full servo, film Nilpeter press (ca- pable of printing to 17-in.) to which we've added a Martin Automatic butt splicer to further increase our efficiency and lower our customers' costs • We installed three high speed cei servo rewinders, re- placing five older rewinders, thus increasing our through- put and quality inspection. • In keeping with our commitment to excellence in pre- press, we've made some upgrades to our software --- we've been using Esko software since 2008 --- and are in the process of implementing a new online proofing system, the same software used by Target Corp. and others to speed up the proofing process Of all of the investments made in 2013, the lowest cost/high- est value has been the addition of color matching software and a Harper ink drawdown system. Being able to produce same day color drawdowns matching client samples to within 0.8 delta E has proven invaluable to our clients and has sped up our on press color matching significantly. FLEXO®: Where are Label Impressions' primary markets? What are its primary markets? Salisbury: Since its beginnings, Label Impressions has always been heavily focused on personal care. Because of our expertise in extended text labeling, however, we've also moved into pharmaceutical/medical device labeling and nutriceutical markets. Though we do produce labels and film for end users and brand owners, we also do quite a bit for the trade. We're able to produce coupon, booklet and extended text labels at such a low cost that trade printers, brokers and even other label printers find us competitive enough to allow us to serve as a "silent partner." To date, 25 percent of our business is still done for brokers, other flexo printers and offset printers. With the addition of faster, wider web equipment we're now moving into cost competitive industries, such as food and beverage. Our customers in these industries are pleasantly surprised to find that they can receive higher quality labels and film at competitive pricing. Most were convinced that the lower quality they were receiving from other flexo printers was a function of the low pricing they demanded. Because of this awareness we're finding that we can expand into these markets with ease. FLEXO®: Talk about graphics quality at Label Impressions--- its importance, challenges it presents, ways Label Impres- sions ensures high quality, prepress capabilities, etc. Salisbury: High quality label and film production starts with prepress. We made the decision in 2009 to invest heavily in this area with the addition of Esko's HD Flexo platemaking. I'll be honest: The management team here thought that a $250,000 investment would be an "automatic" improvement. We grossly underestimated the challenge of moving to full HD Flexo digital platemaking in house. The first year was painful as we struggled through the learning curve but now that we have a full understanding of the process and our equipment, we're producing award winning labels and film that are tough to beat. I'll never forget the day the validation for investing in HD Flexo came in the form of a conversation with a client's lithographic carton printer. The printer kept asking what we did to the file because he couldn't achieve the same results. Having a litho printer struggle to match us was something we're proud of. FLEXO®: Where does process control fall in importance for Label Impressions? Salisbury: Process control is critical to us and as such, we're finding it to be a significant challenge. Measurement is key. We've learned that it's not enough to have a target if you don't truly know what your numbers are. We take a systematic approach to process control. First we identify the metric we want to measure, then we establish a baseline (this we've found is the most challenging task), then "There is a huge misconception among some label buyers that digital is 'the' way to go for labels, but we see many of those customers eventually migrate back to flexo as they see the limitations of digital---specifically color consistency, which is a growing problem with digital, CMYK label printing." 26 FLEXO MARCH 2014 www.flexography.org