Making Packaging Prototype Problems Go Away

Founded in 1937, packaging solutions provider CSW has evolved rapidly to keep up with the many changes in the packaging industry. A thriving enterprise, CSW has approximately 150 employees in three locations: Ludlow, MA, Rochester, NY, and Toledo, OH.

For clients such as P&G, Bose, and Nestlé, along with an array of other national and local clients, CSW designs everything from folding cartons to pressure-sensitive and shrink-wrap labels. As part of its ongoing transformation, the firm has positioned itself as an “asset bridge” between concept and consumer through its premedia spinoff, Bridge Premedia.


Better prototypes

Recently, CSW identified a need to quickly and economically produce physical prototypes. It found its solution in Roland’s (Booth 3835) 30" VersaUV LEC-330 UV inkjet printer/cutter.

“The VersaUV is just a better tool to further our ability to produce a physical prototype,” says Marek Skrzynski, Director of Graphics, R&D at CSW. “We had been making our own mock-ups for a year with limited success and lots of aggravation. The VersaUV made most of our prototyping troubles go away.”

With the use of physical prototypes increasing as project turnaround times decrease, CSW’s goal is to complete projects within two to three days. In addition to allowing for fast and accurate prototyping, the VersaUV helps CSW contain production costs. “Prototypes need to be visually effective and economically feasible,” says Skrzynski. “In the past, our clients would order physical prototypes only once or twice a year due to the high production costs. Now prototypes are becoming an everyday tool in design development.”

Skrzynski also values the variety of substrates that the VersaUV can print on directly. Being able to print on the actual material used in the final packaging not only makes the model more authentic, but saves additional costs for his clients. “I don’t want to spend more time and money preparing that substrate—I want to print on it,” says Skrzynski. “With the VersaUV, you name it, we run it. As long as I can fit it in the machine, thickness-wise, it goes through.”

Ultimately, CSW uses prototypes as a visual confirmation of the design’s intended result. “In packaging, color is king,” says Skrzynski. CSW uses Roland’s VersaWorks RIP software in combination with a color management tool from GMG, which partnered with Roland to provide superior color management and proofing software. “GMG’s color engine did magic for us. We need to be able to not only run on the exact substrate the client wants to use, but to predict exactly what the color will look like on the press and represent that on the prototype.”

To guarantee superior results, CSW relies exclusively on Roland inks, including CMYK, clear, and white. In the past, Skrzynski comments, they would use additional lamination to imitate white ink on the mock ups. “With the VersaUV, we can finally print white ink. More and more designers are using white as a design element, and we need to be able to show them what that looks like,” he notes.

“The moment of truth is when the package arrives and makes an impact,” says Skrzynski. “We put so much effort into the process of getting that three or four seconds of attention in the aisle. Prototyping is a way to evaluate your strategy and make sure of that win. When we print our mock-ups, they are the most realistic prototypes money can buy.”