INTERNATIONAL Label & Printing has installed the first Nilpeter Caslon hybrid digital-flexo press in North America.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tony Dardano, Robert Gerstung, press operator, Mark Turk, Bob Gorzynski, Brian Ormiston Mark Turk, Tony Dardano and Bob Gorzynski formed IL&P Enterprises and purchased International Label and Printing Company in the summer of 1993. The company was set up in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, very near O’Hare airport. Prior to that, the trio managed the production of the Chicago Sun-Times through the 1970s and 1980s when it was the 11th largest daily newspaper in the United States - Turk in production, Dardano as executive accounts manager, and Gorzynski as a controller. The team watched the Chicago Tribune spend millions moving into the offset world. ‘20 years ago it was insane to think that a newspaper would be printed flexo,’ says Turk. In 1993 the International Label & Printing plant had nine letterpress machines and a 40 inch Man Roland to service both roll and sheet-fed sides. Over the years investments were made in machines with more color stations – a couple of gear Mark Andy and Aquaflex machines with UV systems, and eventually an 8-color Nilpeter FB acquired in 2005. All flexo plates are produced in-house.



Much of the work completed at IL&P is short-run 4-color process. Many of the orders require less than 50,000 labels of the same SKU, color and image. Set-up and plate processing make up the majority of production time. With its awareness of how new technology can be a game changer, the IL&P management team chose Nilpeter’s Caslon hybrid digital-flexo press as the solution to its short run needs.



Mark Turk, president and CEO, explains: ‘We were excited about the Caslon press from the moment we saw it. It’s an in-line digital solution that looks, acts and feels like a conventional press that we’re used to running.’ In addition to its roll-fed business, the converter has a high volume sheet-fed side that can also benefit from digital combination print. Operators complete one and two color imprinting work for large quantities of pre-printed cut and stack paper labels. Combination digital technology allows the work to be done in a single pass and will help manage inventory, provide on-demand processing and reduce waste.




The Caslon press is based on Xaar 1001 DoD UV inkjet heads acting as a CMYK module in Nilpeter’s dual servo flexographic FA-line press. The Caslon can print on most materials, with in-line corona treatment bringing down the surface tension to ensure that the inkjet ink adheres. Caslon UV curable inks are formulated specifically for label applications by FFEI, Nilpeter’s development and distribution partner for the system, and are robust and flexible enough for shrink sleeves and flexible packaging. The inks are currently supplied out of the UK and Europe. International Label’s 13in Caslon press is configured with two UV flexo stations and a corona treater in front of the digital module, and one flexo station after. In between each inkjet color is a ‘pinning’ lamp, which stabilizes the inkjet dots for cleaner, high quality print. Once all colors are laid down, there is a final cure before the substrate leaves the module. All print station UV lamps are GEW. Robert Gerstung, general operations manager, trained for a week in Denmark on the Caslon before the press was installed.




International Label & Printing management hired Brian Ormiston as national business development manager in 2009. A particularly successful niche developed by Ormiston is in the wine and craft brewery markets, whose requirements fit perfectly to the capabilities of the Caslon press. A good example is August Hill, a small winery in southern Illinois that produces half vintage and half non-vintage wines. Vintage wine labels are dated and the artwork is changed regularly. Winery founder Mark Wenzel is well versed in digital technology and was happy to work through the steps to achieve consistent, quality labels.



Now that the trial and error is out of the way Wenzel is pleased with the labels coming off of the new press and enjoys the on-demand capability. The hybrid Caslon system brings flexibility to the entire ILP business, increasing efficiency and reducing up-front costs for tooling. The company is now looking at flexible packaging for the press, as the FA line is engineered to handle unsupported films.



Concludes Mark Turk, ‘We’re getting into combination printing to stay ahead of the game. We’re flexo guys and in-line people. It just makes sense for us to have a hybrid solution with complete finishing capability in-line.’



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