Primary Color Reduces Makeready with LithoFlash
Primary Color, part of the Garden Marketing Group, is a producer of plant tags and horticultural manufacturing products. Since 2014, this Dallas, TX-based printer has continued to expand its tag and label printing to include light packaging. Since the products it manufactures are printed on expensive substrates, Primary Color invested in adding LithoFlash from Lithec (Booth N2165) to their sheetfed offset press, allowing them to reduce their makeready waste.
“We print plant tags for the horticultural market on a polypropylene substrate,” states Joshua Hoffmann, president, Primary Color. “We have reduced our makeready by 66%. When our pressmen would pull sheets and measure the color bar, it required 400 to 500 sheets to get up to color and registration. Then we purchased a new five-color RMGT (Booth N801) 9 Series press with UV curing and equipped it with LithoFlash. Now we are doing that makeready in about 100 to 150 sheets. When you are purchasing sheets of material at $1 a sheet and you start reducing that cost by two-thirds, that’s a lot of dollars that go to the bottom line.”
“One of the biggest contributors to waste during a press run is trying to achieve and maintain color accuracy,” says Clyde Tillman, president, Lithec USA. “We created LithoFlash to read the color bar while the sheets are moving through the press. Our camera system, which can be installed new or retrofitted on all the major sheetfed offset presses, can read every sheet. The advantages of this process are shorter makeready times, reduced makeready costs, real time monitoring of every sheet, and improved color consistency throughout the run.”
Typically, a pressman will pull sheets during makeready to scan the color bar. He will then subjectively adjust the ink keys to try and “best match” his sheet to the proof. Even a press with an automated scanner on the console requires multiple pulls, resulting in hundreds of waste sheets and time, which greatly reduces profit. A few years ago, several press manufacturers introduced fully automated, in the press, closed-loop color measurement systems on their new sheetfed press offerings. “The benefits of inspecting the sheet while running in the press have been proven and accepted by printers worldwide,” concludes Tillman. “New press manufacturers are using in-press color control to justify the cost of new presses. It is by far the most impressive new technology of the last decade.”
Primary Color is a leading print provider in the horticultural market and for consumer product groups in the wine and spirits market. Since 2014, it has continued to expand the tag and label printing to include light packaging, and wide- and grand-format printing for point of purchase displays. “Fortunately, we got ahead of the supply chain issues that are affecting printers’ access to paper and other substrates, by sourcing directly some years back,” continues Hoffmann. “With our growth in our existing markets and in light packaging, the savings in makeready on these substrates contributes greatly to our bottom line.”