What’s really driving the decision when you decide it’s time to invest in new equipment? It might be the desire to keep up with competitors. Other times it’s because customers are insisting on more speed, more quality, more transparency, more-whatever. Or maybe you (perhaps grudgingly) admit the new software and equipment you’re hearing about really does offer some advantages and that its value might trickle to your bottom line.
It can be a mix of these as well as other factors that help you finally pull the trigger and replace some of your well-used machines with newer ones. But whatever you do, it does not have to be a company-altering leap to new technology. It can be a matter of upgrading existing machines to newer models that offer better quality, an advantage you can take to the bank. Assuming, of course, that you can make it all work.
Raising the bar
At Perflex, the first issue was quality. The 13-year-old company produces all its films and plates in-house and using a Mekrom solvent plate processor. “The machine was doing a very good job but we wanted to step up our quality,” explains Anthony Rovito, president of the Scarborough, Ontario firm. “In talking with Anderson & Vreeland we realized the newest model from Mekrom could help raise the bar. Its brighter lights would let us hold a smaller dot for sharper highlights and more detail in shadow areas. We’re now seeing 20 percent better image quality so we know upgrading made sense.”
That uptick in quality is a key deliverable for Perflex and its full range of private label and national brands of health and beauty, food and beverage, and nutraceutical products for customers in the U.S. and Canada. The company operates 10-color flexo presses as well as a 5-color digital press to keep pace with the evolving need of its customers. Its work has garnered gold medal awards at Labelexpo in 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016. And now, with the new Mekrom system installed, Mr. Rovito is looking forward to Labelexpo 2018 to show off the higher quality Perflex can deliver with its new plate processor.
Making it work
“It hasn’t just been with this new plate processor,” he notes. “A&V has worked with us for several years and always been a key asset. Martin Schofield, who provides the local technical support, knows the machine, understands our needs, and makes sure we know how to get the best possible results out of the processor. Another major asset has been Anderson & Vreeland’s Technical Team, led by Jessica Harrell, which has helped support our prepress operation. Even though some of our equipment and software didn’t come from Anderson & Vreeland the Tech Team has helped us with respect to both prepress and workflow and made all of us smarter and better at what we do.”
As any label printer or converter will readily admit, customers don’t always appreciate the often subtle differences in image detail achieved by improved plate quality. Or, when they notice a difference, they may not realize how seemingly minor differences, such as new plate processors or workflow software, have a direct impact on quality. Explaining those differences to customers is the job of the printer or converter, but bringing those differences to life is the job of technical experts and solid support infrastructure.
“The new machinery and software are vital,” concludes Mr. Rovito. “But support is everything. It’s the team of support professionals that make all the difference“.