Every business needs a USP (a Unique Selling Proposition) that distinguishes it from customers and from competitors. At ViaFlex, Ltd., a trade shop in Toronto, Ontario, the USP is ContoneHD Screening, a proprietary process that company owner Martin Babler says provides gradients with no lines or harsh breaks, holding shadows while opening up printed areas and allowing what he terms a fade to zero. This, combined with the ability to print clear 2-point text, raises print quality for users of ViaFlex’s plates and has a growing number of label printers and converters seeking out the company’s plates.
“We are a trade shop that supplies plates to customers in Canada and the U.S. Those print providers recognize the difference our plates bring to their work,” says Mr. Babler. “Being able to provide these especially high-quality plates has helped grow our business substantially over the past few years“.
In operation for about six years, ViaFlex draws on a seasoned team of flexographic professionals, each of whom has 10 to 25 years of hands-on experience in plate making and flexographic printing. Mr. Babler describes the company as being small, quick, nimble, and able to satisfy customer needs in ways that larger competitors cannot.
New tools & Strong Support
Among the tools, Mr. Babler and his team use are a Screen PlateRite 1540 Laser and a Flint Xpress Thermal Platemaking system, both sold and supported by Anderson & Vreeland. Even though the ContoneHD technology was initially developed using some older machines, the new systems do an even better job of enabling the fade to zero effect that is ViaFlex’s claim to fame and ensures it will continue to be a key differentiator.
Yet, despite the deep experience of the ViaFlex team, Mr. Babler relies on Anderson & Vreeland to ensure every element of the system is operating at peak efficiency. He begins with Sean Sawa, the Anderson & Vreeland Account Manager, then with Martin Schofield, the local A&V Technical Representative, and then connects with Jessica Harrell, director of the A&V Technologies Team. When adding the new Screen Laser and Xpress thermal processor, for example, Mr. Babler and his staff worked with Mr. Schofield and Ms. Harrell to ensure ViaFlex’s unique screening technology would work consistently.
“Thanks to Anderson & Vreeland our Contone HD screening was mirrored onto the Screen PlateRite and Flint Xpress systems,” explains Mr. Babler. “Helping it along, we also started using the Flint XV-H plates with built-in flat-top dot technology, which has turned out to be a very good plate for our customers’ needs.” The Flint XV-H plates are specifically engineered to work with the Xpress Thermal Processor, helping ensure optimal plate quality.
The new machines also help increase throughput. “The Flint Xpress can produce a 42×60-inch plate in about 65 minutes, which is nearly three times faster than the older system,” relates Mr. Babler. “Plus, the larger plates have opened up new opportunities in terms of the size of the labels or packages the plates can be used for and the number of images we can put on a plate. Our productivity has skyrocketed.”
Mr. Babler, a veteran of the flexographic industry, notes that the most meaningful difference Anderson & Vreeland has to offer is its empathy for customers. “This is very important to me,” he notes. “Any supplier has to truly understand our concerns as a business and as a service provider. But nearly all vendors in this industry have lacked that ability for years. In my opinion, Anderson & Vreeland’s technical skills and consultative sales performance are both a 9 out of 10. But for empathy they are 10 out of 10. I know if I call them they will respond as fast as they possibly can because they really care. That to me is gold.“