The Label Printers, a manufacturer of custom labels and packaging based in Aurora, IL, USA, has switched from analog to digital platemaking and prepress capability by investing in the Esko CDI Spark digital flexo plate system, EskoArtwork Suite 10 design and pre-production software, and DuPont Cyrel FAST thermal plate processing system.
Prepress Manager Joe Kane has been looking at the technology for years. “We were at a point where we had to decide if we were going to replace worn out pieces of equipment from our analog system with new analog equipment, or make a wholesale change to digital,” Kane says. “From my perspective, the EskoArtwork and DuPont digital systems were unquestionably the better choice, as they would allow us to eliminate the variability and control issues that are inherent in analog equipment. By investing in this scaleable digital equipment, we can produce labels that are virtually identical from job to job. We can standardize our press setups. We can produce proofs that are a more accurate representation of how the final product will look. We can use the automation engine to track workflow and improve process control. And we can do all of that while at the same time eliminating the use of solvent-based chemicals, as well as consumables that we used to have to recycle.”
“We’re very proud of our workforce and the care and attention they give to our quality – which our ISO Registration and 99.6 percent quality rating back up,” says Lori Campbell chief of operations. “But I’m equally proud that our manufacturing team was actively looking for ways to make our quality better and reduce our carbon footprint, with equipment that makes us better able to keep our processes in control and capable – a hallmark of continuous quality improvement environments.”
One of the important features in The Label Printers’ cost/benefit analysis was DuPont’s third-party-verified life cycle assessment (to ISO 14040 guidelines) to evaluate the environmental footprint of the Cyrel FAST thermal developer, says Campbell. The life cycle assessment examined all of the upstream and downstream products and processes, as well as materials, energy consumption and environmental releases. The assessment indicates that there is a 63 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 53 percent reduction in greenhouse gas generation (versus solvents).
DuPont’s TR3 Recycling Program was also an important aspect in The Label Printers’ decision, says George Tommasi, director of human resources, and The Label Printers will take full advantage of it. “The new equipment will positively impact a couple of the sustainability measurements used in the company’s LIFE program (TLMI’s Label Initiative For the Environment),” says Tommasi, who is the company’s LIFE team leader. “It will improve employee safety by eliminating the previous material handling processes. And it will eliminate the environmental cost of gas consumption and emissions from outside trucking firms that the company previously used to haul away trash and recyclables generated from the previous [analog plate making] equipment. From an environmental perspective, this investment in digital equipment is a significant improvement.The company’s forward thinking achieves environmental and operational objectives, and is beneficial to both.”
CEO Bill Kane has a straightforward view of the investment. “It’s a good decision. We can be efficient and ecological at the same time. We’re projecting that our VOCs will drop by about 30 percent. We’re really glad we made the investment.”