Esko, Packaging & Commercial Print

EskoArtwork and VT Group—a Partnership that Keeps on Growing

The VT Group is not content to stand still. Established in 1966 as VT Graphics, a manufacturer of flexographic plates, the company continues to evolve and expand, and today VT Graphics is now one part of a company known as The VT Group, which also consists of Digital Impact LLC and Ocean Design LLC. Together, these three companies offer a full complement of services for the manufacture of POP displays and corrugated shipping containers, including flexographic design and prepress; negative and plate manufacturing; short run digital printing; and pre-mounting and plotter capabilities. Located in a 45,000 square foot campus in Yeadon, just outside of Philadelphia, the VT Group services Fortune 500 and top name brand companies both nationally and internationally.

No matter what the product or service, the company strives to provide innovative and cost effective solutions for its customers. To that end, the company has continually looked to EskoArtwork to help it meet customer demands for quick turnaround, high quality, short run packaging, and POP displays.

Ahead of the curve

"The only way to be successful in packaging is to stay at least one step ahead of the competition, and to continually invest in technology that lets you not only meet your customers' requirements, but exceed them," says Robert Mormile, President and CEO, VT Group. "A big part of the reason we have been able to do that is because of EskoArtwork."

Digital Impact houses the group's most recent EskoArtwork acquisition, the Kongsberg XP44 Auto, the first installed in North America. Digital Impact, which focuses on POP counter and floor displays and retail signage, is partnering the finishing table with the company's new six-color UV Durst Rho 900 large-format printer and Drytac laminator.

"The Kongsberg XP44 Auto, working with our new Durst large-format printer and Drytac laminator, has doubled our capacity and boosted our quality in short run production, given us even greater competitive advantage over offset," says Mormile. "Our original Kongsberg DCM die cutters--with their ability to cut a huge number of substrates without having to cut dies--helped move us into the short run arena, generating new business opportunities, With the recent addition of the Rho 900, a 98-inch wide UV flatbed, we needed a digital die cutter that could keep up with its production and handle the larger format sizes. As far as we were concerned, there was only one clear choice--the Kongsberg XP44 Auto."

The EskoArtwork Kongsberg Auto XP44 Auto forms the perfect complement to Digital Impact's two older-model EskoArtwork Kongsberg DCM 24 digital cutting machines, driven by EskoArtwork's ArtiosCAD structural design system. The Kongsberg machines are an integral part of Digital Impact's full digital production workflow for POP displays and short-run packaging, which includes the new Durst printer as well as a six-color HP Scitex FB6700 industrial flatbed printer.

"The Kongsberg XP44 goes a long way in helping us meet customer demands for fast turnarounds of large-format displays," says Mormile. " Like our Kongsberg DCM 24 units, it automatically loads and unload sheets, letting us run the machine without being attended by an operator. We can fit all the parts of a display job onto a single sheet, because of the large working area, which not only saves us time, but cost. We can also work with a lot of different materials--even acrylics."

The Kongsberg machines manufacture from one to 1,500 pieces, reliably delivering rapid-fire turnarounds and letting Digital Impact offer specialty converting as well as short run work. Both models feature a scope of quick creasing, cutting and crushing tools, and can cut at maximum speed through a broad range of substrates up to double wall corrugated.

Key ingredient

EskoArtwork technology is also a key ingredient to VT Group's ability to meet customer quality and turnaround demands. In March of 2010, VT Group made headlines, becoming the proud owner of the 1500th EskoArtwork Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI). The CDI 5080 Spark flexo plate imager has allowed VT Group to expand its plate offerings for POS displays and shipping containers and to enter new markets--the result of the CDI's ability to deliver 135-150 lpi screens.

Also at VT Group is Esko's Color Management System, which forms the foundation for the company's proprietary Trucolor dot proofing system, giving the shop the necessary ability to fingerprint clients' presses for more accurate printing.

Meanwhile, Ocean Design runs ArtiosCAD packaging structural design software, which delivers intelligent drafting tools specifically designed for product development and virtual prototyping and manufacturing. ArtiosCAD lets Ocean Design create 3D versions of prototype samples, allowing customers to see what their package or display will look like without having to go through the process of making a sample. This not only saves the client money but also lets displays get to market faster.

"The VT Group uses a lot of EskoArtwork technology, from software suites to color management to production machines," says Mormile. "EskoArtwork is definitely an important asset for the corrugated industry—and, of course, the VT Group—coming out with cutting edge software and hardware, so we can succeed as the industry evolves and changes."

Adds Mormile, "We will be updating to EskoArtwork Suite 10 production workflow software over the next few weeks. We have a good partnership with EskoArtwork that benefits us both, as we help them by beta testing new technology and they help us by continually remaining on target, delivering what we need to navigate through this extremely complex industry."

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