Eastman Kodak Company

Easypack/POP Lands Overhauls Prepress Department and Targets Growth with Kodak's Thermal CTP Technology

Suffolk based Easypack/Pop Displays Group, a leading UK printer in the POP and Packaging sectors has transformed its print infrastructure after investing in the Kodak Magnus 400 Platesetter imaging Kodak Thermal Direct Non Process Plates. Since installing the Kodak System, the packaging, display and litho printing company has boosted its plate production speed and increased capacity. With the additional productivity, Easypack can better respond to trends in the print market, such as the shift toward high-volume, fast-turnaround work. The company has also invested in Kodak Prinergy Evo Workflow System and Kodak Proofing Software. The Kodak Magnus 400 Platesetter was supplied by one of Kodak's premier dealers, Mayday Graphic Products Limited, which provided Easypack with expert consultancy throughout its purchasing process.

Established in 1977, Easypack now offers a complete supply chain solution. It is the only UK packaging company that offers commercial print, carton board packaging, corrugated packaging, POP displays and co-packing / fulfillment from a single site. With around 50 staff, the forward-thinking company currently holds approved supplier status for a number of leading brands, including Tesco.

Chris Hall, managing director at Easypack, explains the company's switch from conventional platemaking: "The company has undergone a merger, which saw the litho and commercial businesses incorporated into the packaging operation. We needed a set-up that would unite these divisions and enable us to work as efficiently and productively as possible."

Ageing systems were also causing difficulties. Remedying the issue, however, was proving expensive and the Easypack needed a long-term solution: "Some of our equipment was more than ten years old, which inevitably caused production problems," continues Hall. "We were experiencing film and plate development issues - line and spots etc - which only showed up once the job was on press. Consequently, the plates had to be re-made, which meant lost time and profit. Ultimately, our limited production capacity was making some work difficult to deliver."

Easypack carefully assessed the solutions on the market before opting for the Kodak Magnus 400 Platesetter: "Investing in innovative print technologies is one of the cornerstones of our success; it was essential that we installed a system that best suited our needs," adds Hall. "The advice and support we received from Mayday and Kodak was excellent. Both companies listened carefully to what we wanted to achieve. After witnessing a demonstration of Kodak Prinergy Evo Workflow System in action, and running on-site plate trials using the processless Kodak Thermal Direct Plates, it was clear that the Kodak Solutions were right for us."

Kodak and Mayday were on hand to assist with the installation: "The companies went that extra mile and helped sort out any issues - for example, they took the time to make sure we got the print curves right for food-grade inks."

The Kodak Magnus 400 Platesetter has revolutionized Easypack's prepress platemaking department and enabled the company to make big savings. The high-performance system can image 32 plates per hour whilst delivering excellent productivity and image quality, with support for 10-micron Kodak STACCATO Screening Technology.

"The Kodak Systems have had a huge impact. Image quality has increased from 175lpi to 200lpi and we've reduced our prepress overheads by 50 percent," says Hall. "Previously we were making 200 plates a month manually. But following the installation of the Magnus 400 Platesetter, we've doubled our plate production - and we've done so using less staff. Automating this key area of production means those staff can now do much more than just manufacture plates. For example, they can take on value-adding work, such as correcting art files."

Easypack's investment in the Kodak Solutions has ensured the company is perfectly placed to meet the changing needs of the print industry: "Today, customers want jobs delivered quickly - 48 and 24-hour turnarounds are increasingly common," says Hall. "The Kodak Solutions have ensured we remain very competitive. We're producing top-quality work faster than ever, which makes us very attractive to customers with high-volume, fast-turnaround jobs."

Since implementing the Kodak Prinergy Evo Workflow System, Easypack has eliminated many manual tasks, saving the company time and money. The solution features advanced preflighting, normalizing, color management, and trapping. Plus its easy-to-use interface ensures the shortest possible learning curve for operators: "With the Prinergy Evo Workflow System, we've automated many processes," says Hall. "This not only speeds up production, it also improves accuracy, as human error is eliminated. And if any errors do occur, the solution notifies us automatically."

Easypack has achieved highly accurate proofs after implementing Kodak Proofing Software, helping the company avoid costly rework: "Tracking takes no time and is done automatically," says Hall. "And we're improving margins by minimizing the need for rework. With our old system the job had to be ripped twice. Now, what you see on the proof is exactly what you get on the plate."

Easypack's investment in Kodak Thermal Direct Non Process Plates is helping the company adhere to its environmental policy. The plates can deliver the resolution and imaging accuracy of thermal digital plates without processing: "Processless plate production is becoming a key factor for all printers," says Hall. "Customers regularly enquire about our environmental credentials. There is a higher expectation for us to work to certain standards and we continue to pursue the greenest production possible. With the Thermal Direct Non Process Plates we are moving closer to realizing our goals. We no longer use any chemistry in our plate production and crucially, we haven't experienced a dip in quality."

It's not just the environment that's benefitting from Kodak Thermal Direct Non Process Plates - Easypack is also reaping the cost saving rewards of processless plates. Hall continues: "We're making significant savings on chemistry and we no longer have to worry about the costs or hassle associated with disposal."

Hall is unequivocal about Easypack's decision to partner with Kodak and Mayday: "Merging separate businesses into one cohesive, smooth-running operation is a significant challenge. The Kodak solutions have played an integral part in helping us achieve our goal. We're delighted with the impact of our investment. We have a ready-made prepress department, plus the extra capacity to really grow the business and take on a larger and more diverse workload - and all without taking on extra staff and the associated costs."

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