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A Package Deal

(September 2013) posted on Fri Sep 13, 2013

Digital package printing holds distinct opportunities and challenges.

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By Mike Antoniak

“The only limitations to digital so far seem to be producing packaging in large volumes,” he says. “It started for us as an investment in becoming more of a full-service provider to our clients and it’s allowed us to capitalize on those relationships in other areas, as well.”

Core Color Graphics: A label approach
Core Color Graphics ( strives to be a “complete graphics solutions provider” of everything from interactive website development through wide-format printing, according to CEO Thom Urban. In fulfilling that mission, five years ago he purchased a Roland VersaUV LEC-300 UV printer/cutter for his Fallingston, Pennsylvania, company.

“It’s allowed us to provide our customers with some unique products, and to do some R&D on prototypes that we’ve been able to turn into a real service,” he says.

Core Color has used the printer for prototype printing on holographic films; printing and cutting custom-designed skins for iPhones and other mobile devices; even printing graphics on a polycarbonate film for installation behind video touch screens. “It takes our business in a lot of new directions and allows us to offer more types of products to our clients,” he says.

The Roland has also been used to first test, then produce personalized packaging for boxes and pouches for what he describes as a “high-end jewelry company.” Graphics were printed, then cut in quantity on the LEC-300, the art and lettering knocked out, and used as stencils for airbrushing each personalized package.

The LEC-300 is also employed to transform ordinary bottles and cartons with eye-catching labels and graphics. “It prints with a texture” notes Urban. “If I print a label with a wood grain, I can make it look and feel like a wood grain. There’s no other way a small company could have a label like this if they only need a few hundred – it would just be too expensive.”

Blackwoods Hot Sauce, a specialty brand of condiments, tapped this capability to help make its Blackwood Premium Wing Sauce shout from the shelves. Core Color utilized its Roland VersaUV LEC-300 UV to print 800 of the cut labels, with a textured effect, onto a 3.8-mil cast air-egress vinyl. “We do a lot of labels, a lot of barcodes, and can get as many as 250 on a sheet at a time,” Urban notes.

Other print providers have also sourced Core Color for their own prototyping needs. For instance, an area flexographic printer provided Core Color with its design files, and the boards for printing, before committing to a full, high volume production run. “We’ve done from one to as many as 100 of the same design,” explains Urban. “Sometimes the customer just needs to give his clients a sample for them to look at. Other times, they need to put together a whole planogram to show how their packaging will look in a store and fit on shelves.”