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Linerboard shines with UV coating

Genesis Packaging & Design (www.genesispkg.com), a corrugated and preprinted-linerboard converter in Lemont, IL, continues to push the limits of high-quality graphics by staying current with the latest technology and listening to customer demands.

"We're always looking at new equipment, new personnel and new computer systems to help us do a better job for our clients," Genesis president Vince Baratta says. "It's important for us to stay up-to-date with new technologies, since our customers are demanding it."

Along with customers looking for ways to make their packages stand out on the shelves, many were also looking to Genesis to fill their short-order needs. "Our clients came to us and said, 'There's no one in the Chicago area with a preprint press that will run small quantities,'" Baratta recalls. "Our clients were asking us to do that. They are the type of customers that will order from 150 to 20,000 cartons as promotional pieces."

To meet their clients' needs, Genesis invested in a Model #PW-65 central-impression (CI) flexo press from Wolverine Flexographic Mfg. Co. (www.wolverineflexo.com). The 65-in., six-color preprint-linerboard press was installed in January with the help of Dri-Tec Mfg. Group (www.dri-tec.com), which also manufactured the enclosed, reverse-angle doctor blades and custom-designed BCD dryers.

The press can handle web widths of 66 in., with up to 50-in. repeats at maximum speeds of 1,000 ft/min. Genesis prints on metallic papers, 4- to 10-mil films, all types of linerboard for B-, C-, E-, F- and N-flute corrugated, as well as SBS paperboard in calipers up to .026.

"One of the nice things about this press is that it can also do UV [ultraviolet] coating," says Tom Beemsterboer, Genesis general manager. "This is one of the few presses in the Chicago area that does preprint with UV coating in-line."

To create printing with that customer-friendly appeal, Genesis installed a Prime UV Systems (www.primeuv.com) Prime Optimum two-lamp UV-curing system. The 68-in. units allow curing of coatings across the press's entire 66-in. web width. "It was a very simple decision to make," Baratta says. "That's what our customers wanted, something that is eye-opening, and UV is the way to go." Genesis also has the ability to use all types of UV inks and coatings. "It's been a very great investment for us. It's been up and running fully since the end of January, and it's been fantastic," he adds.

Not only did the new CI-flexo press and curing system satisfy the needs of current customers, but it has also opened up new markets for the converter. Genesis has been able to tap into the cosmetics, automotive, and food and beverage industries with the kind of high-definition printing these markets want. Using Pamarco Global Graphics (www.pamarcoglobal.com) anilox rolls with screens in the 700-line/in. range, it regularly achieves print levels of 120 to 133 lpi.

Genesis has been growing steadily since Baratta and Beemsterboer started the company in a 27,000-sq-ft building in Addison, IL, in 1999. Six years later, Genesis has grown to 22 employees and has relocated to a facility about three-times larger. Their current location in Lemont houses three flatbed die-cutters, including two 42x62-in. Bobst (www.bobstgroup.com) units and a 50x70-in. unit from Thomson Industries (www.thomsonind.com); a 49x63-in. stock laminator; and other finishing equipment. "The company has been growing every year, and the most important thing we have is the people," Baratta says. "You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't have the right people running it, it doesn't mean anything."

At the prepress end of the spectrum, Genesis has an in-house team to handle graphic design for the customer, as well as to fine-tune the artwork clients provide. The company has a Kongsberg CAD table and Artios 3D Dimension & Animation software, supplied by Esko-Graphics (www.esko-graphics.com) for designing point-of-purchase displays.

Currently, the converter is planning on purchasing a Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com) large-format printer/plotter to create proofs. This will allow them to preflight the customers' art files and make any changes necessary. Right now, Genesis has its plate suppliers, OEC Graphics (www.oecgraphics.com) and PRP Flexo (www.prpflexo.com), provide proofs, while they do the mockups in-house.

When installed, the HP plotter is expected to cut proof turnaround time from several days to only hours. "We'd rather take it slow in the beginning and work our way up to it," Baratta says. "So the plotter is very important to us."

Along with being able to offer more and more printing options for its customers, Genesis also offers a number of nonprinting services. Two years ago, the company added fulfillment and assembly to its list. Challenging itself to be a "one-stop shop," Genesis also offers printing, die-cutting, label mounting and assembly. Along with self-imposed challenges, Genesis is also up for customer challenges, stresses Baratta. "If your customers don't challenge you, you're going to become stagnant," he says. "You'll never grow, and you'll never be the company that you want to be."

Part of being "the company you want to be" is not only being aware of the customers' needs, but also being aware of community's needs, Genesis says. So the company installed a wastewater treatment system per Genesis graphics coordinator John Calenberg's recommendation. "We wanted to make sure that the water we were outputting was almost as good as the water coming in," Baratta says.

All the inks Genesis uses are water-based. The water treatment system allows Genesis to take the solids out of the water and dispose of them with the garbage. "What started out as black water is now coming out the backside as clear water," Calenberg remarks. "I wouldn't drink it, but it's probably cleaner than what leaves your house."

Baratta sees the installation of the water systems almost like an example of how the company is run. Putting in that extra effort is not something they needed to do, but they did it anyway. "We wanted to take it one step further. That's how we want to do things here," Baratta says. "We try to do things the right way, and we do the best we can."

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