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Opening the Doors to Package Printing

(April 2007) posted on Wed Apr 18, 2007

How five companies are making their mark.

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By Jake Widman

"From a conceptualization side," he says, "we’ll still use flat copies to get the process developed. But when we’re pretty far along, ultimately we show 3-D mockups-‘live samples.’ We present the total package."

Vertis’s package designs mostly originate in Illustrator, and they convert to PDF for printing. Depending on the size of package that’s needed, Vertis has several options for producing prototypes, says Dave Brewer, director of operations. The company utilizes its Leggett & Platt Virtu36 to print directly on corrugated and various other substrates, which are then cut, scored, and folded using an MGE i-Cut XL 24 router. In addition, Vertis has an Oce LightJet, which prints continuous-tone photographic images, making it the best choice for prototypes used in photo shoots, says Brewer. Plus, Vertis has an HP Indigo 5000 and a Xeikon digital press for smaller boxes, such as the ones it recently produced for playing cards. And, to top off its equipment tool box, the company has created its own Vertis Color Communicator proprietary solution, built on a common wide-format printer, which outputs contract proof-quality versions of the final product.

Mattingly gives an example of a typical job: "Let’s say I was the manufacturer of a healthcare product that will be packaged in a lightweight chipboard box. In the preliminary stages, we might go to the HP printer (Designjet 5500) for proof output, then laminate it to the substrate. As we get toward the final version of the creative, we would go to the Vertis Color Communicator or even to the LightJet, and then laminate this output to the chipboard substrate. On the other hand, if we’re providing a creative concept for a set of golf clubs, now we are talking big packaging and corrugated substrate-now we need to start thinking of the type of final printing process, flexo versus litho laminate. If it’s determined that due to printing costs that flexo is the process of choice, we’d provide the client with a prototype utilizing the L&P Virtu, which prints directly on corrugate."

"Once our customers have a final order from the retailer," Mattingly continues, "we send prep files and proofs all over the world."