Francis Poirier, Senior VP Operations, explains, “We have grown very quickly largely because of the customized products and services we offer. By working closely with the medical industry, for instance, we have innovated a range of unique products that set us apart from our competitors.” But innovation is worthless without the capability of backing it up on a consistent and reliable basis, and Poirier is very proud of his company’s achievements in terms of production efficiency. One area that is key to being Lean is minimizing waste, whether materials or time.
“We installed our first corona treater in 2011, and 12 months later need another. By that stage our experience prompted us to look around the market, and in our opinion Vetaphone was the best way to go. After all, they invented the technique back in the 1950s, so know more than anyone else about it,” he added. Specialty’s decision saw one double sided and two single sided units installed on 28” and 30” machines, and Poirier calculates they have treated more than 1.1billion feet of substrate to date, without a hitch.
Key to his decision in choosing Vetaphone was the open and approachable stance that the company adopts towards its customers. “We knew exactly what we needed – they listened and responded in the same way that we do with our customers – and, they were the only manufacturer to offer a performance and dyne level guarantee on the materials we use. That shows real confidence in your product,” he said. Materials used by Specialty include thermal stocks, vinyl, film, and foil, with water based, solvent and UV inks and coatings. “Many of the rolls come pre-treated, but as we move more into filmic materials we shall need to corona treat everything in-house to be sure of the dyne level.”
He also hinted that Vetaphone’s EASI-Plasma technology might find an application with some of the new business he is anticipating. From an operator’s point of view the Vetaphone units offer easy routine maintenance with their slide in/slide out cartridges, which allows the electrodes to be kept clean for peak performance. “We were impressed with how quick and easy the units were to self-install, and the depth of knowledge and know how available from the manufacturer offers real peace of mind should anything go wrong. In fact, it hasn’t, but it’s reassuring all the same,” he quipped.
With the company looking to expand into the flexible packaging and electronics markets, a raft of new presses and ancillary equipment is likely to be needed soon at the East Windsor plant. Currently, output is around 70% thermal, but Poirier expects this to drop to 50:50 paper to film as the product portfolio changes. Typical turnaround times on jobs from order to delivery is two working weeks, although this can be shortened, but not without a degree of disruption. “We like to make a plan and stay with it – that’s how you achieve maximum efficiency from the technology,” he concluded.