APR Supports EMP With Range Of Flexo Needs

For over 30 years, Enterprise Marking Products (EMP) has been printing custom flexo labels at its facility in Fishers, IN, USA, just outside Indianapolis. From this site, the company produces hundreds of custom configurations in different sizes using a range of materials, UV inks, varnishes and adhesives to satisfy their customers’ labeling needs. Additionally, EMP offers several finished label configurations, including rolls, sheets, pin feed, continuous and fanfold.

EMP’s flexo presses deliver high-quality and high-speed output, with the ability to handle up to eight colors in one pass with web widths from 7.5″ to 16″.  EMP also boasts a Domino digital press.

The company’s diverse customer base has allowed EMP to stay strong during economic and industry fluctuations. According to Brian Lee, graphics and marketing manager, “We differentiate ourselves from our competition by reaching for higher levels of customer service and turnaround time. We work with our customers and their needs instead of making them adhere to rigid order minimums. EMP also provides free and discounted graphic design services to our label customers.”

EMP had been producing solvent plates with a Digiflex film unit for many years. The converter reached a point, however, where its Digiflex system could not handle the workload and quality needs of its customers. The time had come to replace this unit, and the company wanted to upgrade to a digital plate system to complement its Mark Andy Performance Series flexo press. 

Lee recalls, “It was a perfect opportunity to move away from solvent to thermal plates so we began extensive research to take our prime labels to the next level and eliminate the odors and sustainability challenges of solvents. We dissected the pros and cons of both thermal and water-wash plate systems.”

EMP  had decided to go with an Esko CDI with HD Flexo and thermal plates. With this system, EMP would be able to generate higher quality plates, print more consistently and reduce the make-ready time on the press.

EMP received a quote from its incumbent plate vendor on the projec, but just before Christmas 2019, it decided that before making such a large investment the company needed to get a second quote and reached out to All Printing Resources, Inc. (APR).

EMP visited APR’s Technical Center in Chicago, IL, where the team could see what APR was capable of, including a comprehensive understanding of solvent, water and thermal plate technologies, full Esko front end software, and associated hardware.

According to Dave Nieman, president and CEO of APR, “There is a fear factor anytime a converter switches a main component. You don’t want your printing to look different.”

APR offered two key things to help with this: Esko CDI training and plate optimization by APR’s technical team with extensive Esko experience and the safety blanket that APR could make any plates EMP might need while they were down for the installation. 

APR was awarded the project and EMP purchased an Esko CDI 2530 Spark with HD Flexo. Additionally, APR provided attractive bundled pricing for MacDermid ITPM flat-top plates, Lava processor and blotters. 

Lee notes, “One of the biggest reasons we went with APR was the personal support that they provide to EMP. We had not received that level of support from any other vendor.  To put it simply, APR had better customer service and could be our backup if our equipment were to ever go down.”

One year after a seamless and successful installation, EMP couldn’t be more satisfied. The MacDermid/Esko combo has worked very well – delivering just what’s required –  increased production speed, improved and consistent print quality, and a chemical-free environment. And since both APR and EMP are members of the Flexo Label Advantage Group (FLAG),  EMP benefits from rebates on their ongoing plate material orders.

Lee notes, “Our platemaker absolutely loves the new system.It has made his job so much easier and worry free. And our press operators really prefer the plate material over the previous plates that we made. Not only is the ink transfer better, but they are easier to mount and the print quality is higher.”

He concludes, “APR really made the difference. From the training, the ability to be back up so quickly, their expertise and partnering with us to make the transition. And it was a great relief to add APR to our contingency plan, knowing they could make plates for us if we ever go down in the future.”