Adds Cassell, “Thanks to the plate number tattooed on the back of the plates we now have traceability through our MIS system.”
Interstate also makes use of Digital Flexo Suite’s Staggered Cut software option, which is executed with a Kongsberg cutting table, allowing the drafting of a staggered cut line for continuous print.
“If done by hand, it can take between 6-8 hours to create a staggered cut,” reports Cassel. “With Digital Flexo Suite, we can cut a plate in a few seconds and it fits the first time. There’s no double cut; I don’t have to worry that the plates aren’t going to fit. I can determine the gap with Digital Flexo Suite.”
Interstate Packaging uses the Staggered Cut option, reports Cassell, to eliminate bounce on the press and to provide a continuous print without sleeves. Interstate does not provide sleeves in-house.
Interstate Packaging produces a lot of flexible packaging, including a lot of stand-up pouches. “Staggered Cut allows us to reduce the clear area of the sides of the bag (plate gap) in half from 3/16” to 3/32”,” says Cassell. “This is an important visual difference to our marketing clients, but now it doesn’t require a continuous ‘in the round’ plate for backgrounds. Nor, do we incur the extra cost of an in-the-around plate. Having this option has really helped us market to that segment.”
With feedback and adjustments, Interstate hopes to use this more in the future. “It works great and saves plate materials and cuts plates closer than with hand cutting, but because of our own marks and bars we can’t fully utilize it yet,” says Cassell.
Improvements are ongoing at Interstate Packaging, which is currently testing Esko’s HD Flexo high-resolution screening. “We are getting nice, high-quality images on our test runs,” says Cassell, which is what he expects of Esko technology. “Ninety-percent of what has happened in prepress technology in the industry is due to Esko,” says Cassell. “They have moved these functions from an art to a science. Their 3D and plate preparation software are precise and consistent. They produce hardware that lasts. Very seldom is there downtime—there are no issues.”
In fact, concludes Cassell, because everything is always running smoothly, “we have to remind ourselves when maintenance is due, because our Esko equipment always performs.”