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Adare redefines flexible packaging with Esko's Equinox color solution

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Ghent, Belgium – Consistent, high-quality color and the ability to manipulate images for vibrant results are just some of the benefits Adare is enjoying after investing in Esko’s Equinox color solution. “Everyone talks about creating punchier, more brilliant images, and Equinox extends the color gamut to achieve just that,” states Daragh Whelan, Adare’s Technical Director. “With a wider gamut, we can now achieve more colors and accurately reproduce specific imagery such as green eyes or a red flash. It gives us and our customers the artistic license to do something extra – and that is great because it provides us with a point of difference.”

For over 35 years, Adare Advantage’s core manufacturing has been pressure sensitive labels, and their experience in this area ensures they provide innovative solutions. Today, Adare is part of the Adare Group and delivers end-to-end design and packaging solutions that protect and promote its clients products while enhancing their brand. Their client focused investments have enabled them to provide cost effective short-to-medium run flexible packaging, at exceptional print quality to rival the gravure process.

In addition to Equinox, Adare invested in a raft of Esko’s software solutions including Automation Engine connected their MIS system, Color Engine, DeskPack, Imaging Engine and Plato. It creates flexo plates on an Esko CDI Spark 4835imager with HD Flexo, while the printing is done on Bobst (former Nuova Gidue) flexible packaging presses. Having a finely tuned and automated workflow enabled by Esko Automation Engine in combination with seven-color fixed ink palette printing (Equinox) on the largely automated presses, Adare managed to reduce its production and lead time drastically. In addition, they streamlined the entire production flow from initial design, to plate, to finished printed product.

Brand quality and consistency

“We aim to deliver customers what they want in an efficient and sustainable way,” continues Whelan. “We have highly automated systems and a lot of our unique selling points are based around brand quality and brand consistency, speed-to-market, faster lead times and shorter print runs. Our customers and their needs are what drive us. For them, consistency is a number one priority. High quality printing is also high on the list, and something we focused on. Thanks to our investments, we produce 223lpi compared to the majority in the market who print at150lpi or 133lpi. We push as hard we can to be the best we can.” 

Make-ready in minutes

Whelan continues: “We have invested heavily in the past couple of years and that is now paying off. The fact we can print 223lpi now, as standard, enables us to earn new work. We have been able to move from self-adhesive labels to flexible packaging, which helped us add new customers and brands. An automated workflow has allowed us to deliver laminated flexible packaging within 3 days from receipt of new artwork. We can make ready in in a shorter time frame, compared to two or three hours before, allowing the company to drive its sales growth into new customers and markets offering unique USP’s. Equinox has been the icing on the cake on top of everything else we have done. First, we made sure we had a stable platform to produce high quality flexo print, including automatic plate mounting, optimized anilox rollers, and optimized ink, and then we improved quality even further with Equinox." 

There is not much point to being able to change plates very quickly if you have to spend extra time washing the units and replacing different spot color inks. A fixed inkset can avoid the need to change ink colors in-between jobs. This is similar to the challenge that any company faces with increasing demand for shorter packaging runs. The unique fixed inkset color technology – that also delivers an expanded gamut printing – reduces production costs and eliminates press downtime and ink changes, while making it possible to reproduce a spot color and maintain visual brand identity. 

“Equinox gives us the opportunity to print more – and better – than we did before,” comments Whelan. “No doubt we are quicker and more consistent because we never have to change an ink unit. However, at the same time Equinox offers something different. It puts artistic license back into the process. With a wider gamut we are able to reproduce more brilliant color that pops off the shelf.  We also have a process that can consistently reproduce a wide range of brand colors, every time.”

The REVO Project Team

Adare looked at digital but last year choose to work with the REVO Project team, an alliance formed by Adare with Apex International, AVT, DuPont, Esko, Flint Group, Bobst Firenze (former Nuova Gidue) and UPM Raflatac. REVO aims to optimize flexo by “digitalizing” the complete manufacturing process, combining the strengths of every partner to create a plug & play concept that expands the possibilities for flexo converters. The results include high quality print, increased efficiency, higher productivity and improved sustainability. Whelan says, “Rather than having one very specific solution, we all worked together and, as a result, have created something that makes Equinox work very well.”

By implementing optimized and automated workflows, seven-color ink separation both in the prepress department and on the press, and by using nearly 100% full automated presses, coupled with investment in the latest printing machines, Adare has managed to reduce the number of its presses from eleven to six, while producing even more jobs than before at a very high quality standard competing with gravure.  

“We love it and our customers love it,” Whelan concludes. “I do believe it is the future. Customers’ expectations of quality and turnaround times have increased. They know what is available elsewhere, so we must and will continue to push digital automation and control everything.”


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