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Prototypes and Packaging

(May 2011) posted on Wed May 11, 2011

Bringing wide-format options to the short-run experience.

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By Mike Antoniak

To meet those demands, CSW has become something of a systems integrator, building a digital prototyping solution from technology from several suppliers. Print systems include Roland’s 30-inch VersaUV LEC-330 UV printer/cutter; the Epson 44-inch Stylus Pro 9800 8-color printer; and several HP inkjets. The company also utilizes a GMG Color RIP to help maintain color accuracy, EskoArtwork graphics software, and a Kongsberg cutting table.

The company’s embrace of digital print technology reaches back to 1999, when it began providing clients with color-accurate inkjet contract proofs. As the capabilities of digital proofing improved, costs fell, media choices expanded, and digital services evolved into providing accurate representation of packaging.

These help clients decide when refinements are required. “Some design elements are hard to visualize until you see them as they’ll actually appear,” Skrzynski notes. “When you show a picture and say something will be embossed, or with a metallic finish, it’s just not as effective or accurate as a prototype you can actually hold in your hand. Nothing beats a physical three-dimensional object when it comes to testing, evaluation, and confirming that everything about a packaging design works.”

CSW's most recent purchase, the Roland VersaUV LEC-330, has allowed the company to expand the range of prototyping services. “Its ability to print on any substrate, including metallic substrates, in very short runs, gives our customers a lot more options.” The response to its digital prototyping capabilities has been “pretty impressive” so far, says Skrzynski: “It’s a huge money- and time-saving opportunity for our customers,” he says.

For all that the digital lineup allows CSW to do now, they’re always on the hunt for technology to provide client companies with even more options in prototyping. “If we have a wish list, the next thing on it is printing with metallic inks, and printing on 3D objects like bottles and cans,” Skrzynski confides. “With that, there wouldn’t be much we can’t do.”

Phase 1 Prototypes: A new dimension
“Packaging prototypes have evolved because our own capabilities have evolved,” says Bill Ramirez, president of Phase 1 Prototypes ( in Leadon, Texas.