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DataViz software finds its forte

Emerging as more than a bit player in computer software, DataViz is extending its reach from Palm® hand-helds to corporate systems with products that facilitate freedom of access to information. Now, the Milford, CT, company is exhibiting the same innovation in its packaging.

In September, '01, DataViz rolled out a series of packages armed with the durability and strength of corrugated without its washboarding effects. The packages even eliminate the inner corrugated structures used in earlier packages.

Included in the DataViz introduction are Documents To Go® 4, providing Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint® files for Palm hand-helds, and MacLink Plus® Deluxe, instantly opening Windows® files. Now making its debut is Documents To Go 5®. All are packaged in the same album-style carton to provide powerful impact at point of sale. "They also do a great job in reflecting the quality of our products versus the competition," says DataViz's Chris Stenz.

The cartons are among the first the company is using made with a new substrate, Forte™ from MeadWestvaco's Packaging Resources Group. The .036-in. board is a lamination of .006-in. coated facestock with a virgin low-density kraft that the manufacturer says has a compression strength equal to or greater than F, G and N mini-flute corrugated board and offers a "high-value alternative" for the construction of small- and medium-size packaging. Forte reportedly has a brightness rating of GE 87 and offers an extremely smooth face.

Converting quickly
Enabling the quick conversion to the new package is a process coordinated with Cadmus, which not only produces the carton, but also copacks it, since it prints and assembles the carton's contents. These are a sleeve holding the CD-ROM, a quick-start manual and a business reply card.

The Forte stock used in the DataViz applications is printed on a Heidelberg CD102-LYL six-station offset press, Cadmus account executive Steve Giampietro tells PD. He says the stock is printed with spot aqueous and spot ultraviolet coatings, all in-line. "The pieces are assembled into a finished kit and shipped out to retail distribution," he notes, "and all inventory information is available online, 24/7, in real time via the web."

A digital prepress process consisting of a closed-loop system uses the latest technology to ensure optimal color reproduction, Giampietro says. The job is proofed with a Kodak Polychrome Approval™ system precisely calibrated to the characteristics of the specific inks and to the unique dot gain of the press. A Creo Trendsetter 3244-F platemaker also uses press-specific information in the output of the plates for the job, assuring accurate proof-to-press matching. Thus, sharp, clear dots burned on the plates by the thermal imaging system dramatically reduce dot gain for improved performance and color reproduction on-press.

"Our experience with the Forte board," Giampietro says, "is that it runs very well with our current equipment and helps us provide superior packages. It's working very nicely for us and for DataViz. And since the changeover, we've seen at least a ten-percent reduction in costs relating to the elimination of materials and faster assembly time."

That's very good news for MeadWestvaco, which is positioning Forte to help folding carton makers compete at a higher level against corrugated suppliers with graphics capabilities.

Back at DataViz, Stenz recalls, "In the company's eighteen years, we've gone through every package you could imagine. First there was solid chipboard with a wrapper. Then we went over to corrugated.

"With the new packaging, we're seeing a dramatic improvement in all areas. The costs are lower, while the finished package is smaller. Retailers are excited, because it means better space use for them, with higher-quality displays."

And, given the fact that the kits sell worldwide with translations into Spanish, French, Italian and German, DataViz will be measuring the impact of the new packaging for some time to come, Stenz adds.

Seems like a profitable pastime.

More information is available:

Board: MeadWestvaco Packaging Resources Group,843/745-3051. Circle No. 219.

Carton, sleeve, copacking: Cadmus, 800/991-7225. Circle No. 220.

Press: Heidelberg USA, 800/437-7388. Circle No. 221.

Proofing system: Kodak Polychrome Graphics, 800/716-7254. Circle No. 222.

Platemaker: Creo Americas, 800/929-9209. Circle No. 223.

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