If flexographic printing on a tube substrate is difficult, then someone forgot to tell Berry Global.
The FTA member received gold and Best of Show awards in the 2021 FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards for the Bioré Charcoal Anti-Blemish Scrub Tube and, one year later, again received the highest honor in the 2022 competition.
This time, it was for the Jergens Body Butter Sandalwood Tube. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how Berry Global brought it to life,” said Paige Massa, print quality manager at brand owner Kao USA.
Here, four Berry Global team members—Creative Services Specialist Megan Burns, Color & Technical Director Kirk Birchler, Laminate Printing Supervisor Craig Polage and Flexographic Group Leader Jon Arnold—discuss with FLEXO Magazine the inner-working of the job and how press optimization enabled a predictable outcome.
FLEXO Magazine: How did this job begin? What were the concerns and demands the customer brought to you?
Megan Burns, Kirk Birchler, Craig Polage and Jon Arnold: This customer has expectations for high-quality print and a premium look on shelf. They are very good about bringing us in early in the design process. We often will do drawdowns or print trials as needed with them. When preliminary designs or art is sent to us, we will prepro the artwork as an internal team and then review with the customer.
FLEXO: In evaluating the job, what did you identify as potential obstacles or difficulties?
Burns, Birchler, Polage and Arnold: The main concerns with this item were registration and the white watermark. As always, our concerns in general are the substrate, which is difficult to print due to stretch. In addition, this job combines multiple printing processes. We have to watch our deck sequence to ensure proper print rotation, since the job utilizes cold foil units and flexographic stations.
FLEXO: How did your press operators go about executing the job and meeting the customer’s requirements?
Burns, Birchler, Polage and Arnold: They measured to the color standards using a color management system and dialed in the registration. They had to make sure the cold foil and soft touch were laying down smooth as well. Our setup time is straightforward on our process print because we’ve optimized ahead of time. We know what anilox and stickyback is optimal to achieve great print, and operators do not have to guess when running a job for the first time.
FLEXO: Talk about some of the significant technologies used in printing the job:
- What press was used? Gallus RCS 330
- What plates and imaging equipment were used? DuPont Fast EFX 067 and a Cyrel CDI
- What inks and substrates were used? Actega UV inks and custom bright pearl multilayer PE extruded sheet
- What screening technology was used? DuPont Easy screening—HD Flexo C20 NOMC
- Were any special effects or embellishments added? Gold Kurz cold foil and a soft-touch varnish
- How did you apply targets and tolerances to the job? Tonal scales in the trim and registration marks in the bearer bars. Crosshairs are a reference for the press operator but due to the stretch of the material, the operator still needs to verify and dial in all images across the repeat
- Did you run to FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) practices and methodologies? Yes, we did
FLEXO: Running the actual job: What speed did you run the press at? Were there any notable aspects of makeready and setup?
Burns, Birchler, Polage and Arnold: We ran at 150 fpm. Nothing was notable or surprising about the makeready and setup because of the steps and measures we put in place to control the process.
FLEXO: Examining the final print: How did your team feel about its color and consistency? What about its future repeatability and predictability?
Burns, Birchler, Polage and Arnold: We felt it was a very good match to the proof. We are confident in our repeatability and predictability because we’ve optimized for our press.
FLEXO: What was the customer’s reaction to seeing the printed job?
Paige Massa, print quality manager at Kao USA: This design is such a lovely complement to the bright pearl substrate and soft-touch finish, but the incredible print work is what perfectly ties it all together. Everything about this pack was so thoughtfully curated and we couldn’t be more pleased with how Berry Global brought it to life! Thank you, Berry, for all the hard work, the collaboration, strong expertise and attention to detail.
Beth Baker, design manager at Kao USA: It’s gorgeous! The pearly, soft-touch finish is so irresistible and I love the way the sheen plays with the illustrations; the color is stunning and there’s so much depth and detail in the printing, even down to the sweet illustration detail on the back of the pack. So proud to see our design come to life so beautifully!
FLEXO: How can recognition in the FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards help to win new business?
Burns, Birchler, Polage and Arnold: Winning this award shows we are a world-class printer. We promote our FIRST Certification and awards that we’ve won in internal training and new customer presentations.