GENT, BELGIUM: Esko (www.esko.com) is enjoying 'exponential' growth in the number of HD Flexo certified customers, partners and vendors as industry leaders increasingly recognize the impact this innovative process can have on the success of their businesses.
"Customers are finding HD Flexo certification makes a big difference," says Jan Buchweitz, senior product manager/Digital Flexo. "They want trusted solutions. They want to know that certified components will all work perfectly together, whether they are printing machines, ink or tape. They also want advice from providers that clearly understand exactly how HD Flexo delivers an improved print performance and how individual providers can best leverage this capability within their operations."
Introduction of HD Flexo into the daily production environment is much smoother when trade shops and printers are using HD Flexo certified components. For vendors, partners and customers wishing to take advantage of the certification program, a rigorous process requires that different print samples from five different commercial jobs be printed consistently. Once certified, renewals at regular intervals are encouraged to ensure that print quality is maintained and in line with market developments.
Vendors also need to certify each product individually, but once the initial certification has been obtained, subsequent applications are faster and easier. At the end of 2011, Esko estimated that it has 95 HD Flexo certified customers, 60 HD Flexo certified partners and 10 HD Flexo certified vendors. Many more companies are currently undergoing the application process.
"Achievement of higher quality requires compliance with specific standards," comments Buchweitz, "It is only if you follow these that you get the consistency and predictability that delivers the right print every time. This standardization across vendors, partners and customers ensures a new horizon in flexo quality. The process requires a great deal of commitment from both suppliers and Esko, resulting in some very rewarding long-term relationships. It also enables all parties to benefit from offering this leading-edge print solution."HD Flexo Certified vendors are: Edale, Gallus Labels, Mark Andy, Omet, Siegwerk, Apex, Harper, Zecher, Lohmann and tesa tape.
Among customers that have seen HD Flexo transform their business is RAKO Etiketten. Stefan Behrens, head of pre-print, says: "Being HD Flexo certified strengthens our market presence and distinguishes us from the competition. The certification is a great marketing asset--it gives our customers and prospects even more confidence, and will help us win business."
St-Luc, a self-adhesive labels print specialist, was the first printing company in Benelux to be HD Flexo certified, while Ampac took their graphics to the next level. Joe Lydic, Ampac's art director, explains: "HD Flexo has done a great thing for the process image - we see a lot of positive attributes happening with solids and ink density. It also gives you more ink saturation. That alone is a big plus."
"Prior to HD Flexo, selling flexo shrink sleeves against rotogravure was a harder sell--the quality didn't quite match on the more intricate designs," adds Sean Keeney, president and CEO, Walle Corp.--the first to invest in HD Flexo and the first North American label printer to achieve HD Flexo certification. "Then we saw a huge impact in drop shadows, so we don't have any challenges getting to fine zero and 1 percent dots. Our customers are also realizing the benefit--winning awards for their package reproduction."