Kennesaw, Ga. – PrintFlex Graphics, a flexographic printer specializing in on-pack and in-pack promotions, recently purchased a new Gallus One digital label press from HEIDELBERG. To be installed later this year, the machine is the first of its kind in North America and the first digital press for PrintFlex. The Gallus One will help the St. Louis based printer tap into new markets and expand its sticker and label business.
Better Efficiency for Shorter Runs
PrintFlex Graphics began its business in 1995 with just three employees, and today has grown to employ roughly thirty-five and occupies two large buildings in St. Louis, MO. For the better part of its history, the company, who primarily serves the consumer-packaged goods market, has strayed from traditional label and sticker production – focusing on more complex applications like peel and reseal coupons and folded promotional booklets, which are applied on or inserted inside of a package. As it did with many companies, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted certain weaknesses in PrintFlex’s business. Consumers “scrambled” to purchase whatever they could find in stores, and companies did not have a need to produce specialty promotional materials to sell their products. “After years of growing our business,” said Liz Pecha-Poelker, CEO of PrintFlex, “it became a little static. We’re looking for new markets that we can grow into. The pandemic really highlighted that need for us.”
The company, equipped with a fourteen-unit Gallus EM 280, then began tracking the amount of existing work it could move to a digital press. “We realized it’s just not efficient producing the short run sticker and label work we do have on our current press,” said Pecha-Poelker. “We frequently use all fourteen units. We’re doing all this crazy peel and reseal and using different varnish plates here and another varnish there. It just doesn’t make sense for our less complex jobs.”
Needing to diversify its customer portfolio and a better way to produce short run labels, PrintFlex will install its first digital press, the Gallus One, later this year. With a compact footprint of 11 x 20.8 ft, the Gallus One fits well into a variety of different production environments and has a surprisingly high crossover point with traditional flexo printing. The company, who serves a nationwide clientele, is hopeful the machine will help attract more local, smaller businesses that it currently struggles to effectively serve as well as provide more services to its current customers. Additionally, PrintFlex will look to see how it can create various versions of labels by producing one layer on its digital press and marrying it with another layer produced on its EM 280.
“We’re excited to see PrintFlex install the first Gallus One in North America,” said Dan Maurer, Vice President of Digital Product Management for HEIDELBERG USA. “This machine is a perfect fit for their business, and we can’t wait to see how it helps them grow.”
High Quality and Reliability
Prior to purchasing the Gallus One, which features 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution and a live video monitoring system to ensure quality during the press run, Pecha-Poelker says she and PrintFlex President Steve Baum were “thrilled” with the print samples they received off the machine. The new roll-to-roll press utilizes Fujifilm Samba printheads and HEIDELBERG’s Prinect Digital Front End – printing CMYK+W up to 13 3/8” (340mm) wide at 98 ft/min (30 m/min) or 230 ft/min (70 m/min) and achieves 85% white opacity at top running speed.
Another key feature that attracted PrintFlex to the Gallus One was its patented substrate web control tension in the Digital Print Unit (DPU). During the head cleaning process, the inkjet heads remain stationary as the web moves down – holding the web tension as the cleaning system moves into position. This function, which was designed to maximize print quality and minimize waste, requires zero operator intervention, and is controlled completely by the machine’s software and helps contribute to the machine’s 95% uptime rating.
“We’re big Gallus fans,” said Pecha-Poelker. “We love our EM 280, and we have confidence in the technology and quality of the product. We have a strong partnership with Gallus and know they’ll be there to support us and the Gallus One as we begin this new journey.”
Those interested in learning more about the Gallus One can see the new digital press in HEIDELBERG’s Booth B13033 at PRINTING United Expo, October 18-20, 2023, in Atlanta, GA. At the show, HEIDELBERG will also feature a complete digital ecosystem including the Versafire EP, Prinect Production Manager with Prinect Digital Front End, and Prati Digi Compact label finishing.
To learn more about the Gallus One, click here.
To learn more about HEIDELBERG at PRINTING United, click here.
About PrintFlex Graphics
Some print companies dabble in label and packaging print work. At PrintFlex, flexographic printing for on-pack and in-pack communications is the company’s specialty. From labels and stickers to inserts and booklets, PrintFlex helps clients launch new products, increase product awareness, and communicate critical information to customers. This level of focus means the company’s seen and overcome a wide array of hurdles and honed a level of experience that’s unmatched in the industry.