ALC Group – FLEX PACK
Offering the Complete Package
For Kansas City-based premedia firm ALC Group, FLEX PACK is the ideal prototyping solution for their high-end packaging clients.
Consumer packaging companies (CPCs) and their service providers are faced with formidable problems. CPCs, especially makers of high-end or luxury products, have to distinguish their brand on crowded store shelves. To do this, their packaging designs must be compelling and unique. They must communicate quality to the consumer.
Service providers must meet that demand for quality, but they also have very high capital investments in printing and converting equipment. Such equipment has ever-shorter lifespans, which means extreme pressure to keep it running at peak speed and efficiency—without sacrificing quality. To meet such extreme demands, companies must innovate, and provide efficient services that command premium prices.
One such company is ALC Group, a full-service premedia firm with plants in five locations throughout the United States. ALC provides everything from Creative services to large format print and platemaking for packaging printers without their own premedia departments. Over 90% of the company’s work is for CPC-related packaging.
The Prototype Dilemma
Recently, ALC looked into a better way to create physical package prototypes—especially those with challenging substrates and finishes. “Packaging providers need high-quality physical prototyping to stay competitive,” said ALC President Byron Pendleton. “We had workarounds for doing these, but we weren’t able to make prototypes very often. They were just too expensive with the Kodak Approval.” To meet this challenge, ALC invested in FLEX PACK from CGS ORIS | AMERICAS. “With customers who needed multiple prototypes, ORIS got us in the game,” he said.
FLEX PACK is a versatile, turnkey system for creating precise prototypes and color-accurate proofs of consumer packages. These include metal substrates and effects, poly shrink material for flexo packaging, complex varnish & embossing effects, and much more. The system utilizes the CGS ORIS color management engine, specialized CGS ORIS media, transfer film, extended gamut (XG) inks, and the Roland eco-solvent printer. The web-based user interface and workflow can rapidly produce precise, color-accurate results for virtually all types of packaging, at a low cost-per-unit.
“The key word for FLEX PACK is versatile,” said John King, ALC’s Operations Manager, who handles the company’s workflow challenges from the main plant in Kansas City. “You can do so much with it, on so many substrates, like metal and poly. Its versatility—and the speed of jobs through the RIP—are remarkable.”
ALC first sought after a prototyping solution to secure a new client, and have seen it enhance their competitive standing with similar clients. “With FLEX PACK, we’re able to provide a more complete offering,” Pendleton said. They’re currently using the system to create impressive prototypes, especially for luxury brands “Brands are looking for something special,” he noted. “When the client can touch and feel something—a package concept with their graphics on it—there’s a real advantage to that.” ALC is also using FLEX PACK for proofing, creating a consistency of brand color throughout the design and production process.
In addition to prototyping and proofing on the Roland printer, ALC is also using the FLEX PACK system for Epson inkjet proofs. “Our color management team was very excited by the system’s ability to measure and maintain precise color,” King remarked, “so the team is also using it to manage color on our other devices. That was an unexpected benefit of investing in FLEX PACK.”
The company is very satisfied with the technical benefits of FLEX PACK. “With FLEX PACK’s overprint precision, spot color accuracy, and overall quality and consistency, we can show our customers that we’re objective about color,” Pendleton said. The system lets ALC troubleshoot issues across the workflow, from design and prototyping through production. Keeping the color process fast, accurate, and affordable is a great way to anticipate their customers’ demands and keep the presses running at optimum levels.
In the high-stakes world of consumer packaging, the versatility and speed of FLEX PACK is proving to be an essential piece of ALC’s full service offering.