By Lisa Guerriero
Packaging is no longer the exclusive domain of offset and flexographic printing. Digital presses offer high-quality, short-run, and prototype capabilities.
Many packaging companies utilize both digital and conventional printers. The print provider determines which method is best suited to each customer and job. Digital devices are often reserved for shorter runs.
Englander dZignPak, based in TX, takes this multi-technology approach to packaging. The company formed in 2011 from a merger of two longstanding print businesses, each with about 40 years of experience. Today there are about 200 employees and several locations in the South and Southwest of America.
Although Englander dZignPak celebrates a long history of producing packaging and containers, it also handles other graphics work like point of purchase (POP) and trade show displays. The company houses an array of digital and traditional printers, finishing equipment, and prepress tools.
A Press for Packaging
Englander dZignPak was one of the first American businesses to acquire a large format Scitex digital printer. In 2004 it purchased a Scitex Vision CORjet, a brand now owned by Hewlett-Packard (HP).
At the time, Englander dZignPak had experience with digital printers, but not with flatbeds. The company’s leaders couldn’t be sure the device would work out for them. However, they noticed an increase in POP and retail jobs, and thought the Scitex would complement that trend.
It may have started out as a gamble, but the Scitex turned out to be an asset for shorter runs. Marty Englander, CEO, Englander dZignPak, says the device is still running. It is used sometimes, although newer HP Scitex machines carry the bulk of the work. “It was a good investment,” he observes.
Englander dZignPak remained faithful to Scitex, which Englander says is still suited to corrugated packaging as it was a decade ago. The company’s digital suite includes an HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press and a newly acquired HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial.
It purchased the HP Scitex FB10000 in response to market demands. The team wanted to increase production and offer customers options for finishing a job quickly. “When we do things as quick as we can, digitally, it gives us an advantage,” notes Englander.
The HP Scitex FB10000 features the same substrate and ink capabilities as the HP Scitex FB7600, but with expanded capacity, according to Joe Lippe, digital production manager, Englander dZignPak. With the new device, it can accomplish a larger portion of job in the same amount of time and with the same number of operators. “That’s a huge benefit for me as far as production, I have a lot of flexibility that way,” he explains.
In addition to the quality of the machines, HP’s service was a factor in Englander dZignPak staying with the brand. “We’ve looked at other equipment along the way, but we keep coming back. It’s best for our customer base,” notes Englander.
Englander dZignPak sometimes creates prototypes for its packaging customers. It always uses the same printer for the prototype as for production.
Digital production has grown in the past few years, observes Englander. The company now runs two presses that produce up to 150 to 180 sheets per hour. “We have quadrupled our output,” he notes.
Printing for Bulk Stores
Pallet skirts are one of the most frequent applications for Englander dZignPak’s industrial presses. These cover a stack of pallets, printed on to promote the product that’s stored on top. They are increasingly popular with big box stores like Costco, Sam’s, and Walmart, according to Englander dZignPak’s leadership.
With the acquisition of the HP Scitex FB7600, Englander dZignPak moved pallet skirt production away from lithography. It transitioned the work over to digital even more after acquiring the HP Scitex FB10000. This allowed Englander dZignPak to provide faster service to customers, explains Englander. He adds that the company offers this service at the same competitive price—in some cases the pricing is even more competitive than lithography.
The speed of the digital press is key to fulfilling pallet skirt orders. Hitting the budget and meeting deadlines are especially important for big box customers, says Englander. “If it’s not there, they can’t sell anything,” he points out.
However, quality is also important to clients. This is something digital can also provide. “If we’re not meeting the demands, we’re going to be left out in the cold,” comments Hal Whitaker, president/CFO, Englander dZignPak.
For these jobs, Caldera color management software and several Esko Kongsberg cutters are used.
Englander dZignPak handles jobs of all sizes for box stores. Some are nationwide and others are for select locations. Customers sometimes want a shorter run for in-store testing, which is later converted into a much larger order.
The digital presses are typically used daily. The order size determines the printing method, as the team evaluates job specifications to determine with method is most cost effective. “Volume’s a big part of that,” explains Lippe. For example, if the job is 500 sheets, a digital press is chosen. If it’s 15,000 it’s best to stick to lithography. Englander dZignPak also finds it prints corrugated quickly on digital, but it’s somewhat slower with styrene, so styrene jobs are usually printed on lithographic presses.
By using digital presses, paired with traditional printing, Englander dZignPak increases time to market on packaging jobs. It acquired a second HP Scitex, the FB10000, to increase capacity and speed. It allows them to complete more jobs digitally. “We can be that company; instead of doing it in four weeks, we do it in two,” concludes Lippe.
May2015, Digital Output DOPS1505