Miamisburg, OH (USA), – Walle Corporation (www.walle.com), a leading label supplier to the beverage, food and household products industries, is leveraging EskoArtwork's HD Flexo high definition flexographic screening technology (www.esko.com) to provide a high-quality, affordable, and environmentally-friendly alternative to gravure.
Known for its ongoing commitment to innovation and efficiency, Walle has already achieved two significant firsts as an HD Flexo user: its Winchester, KY facility was the site of the first North American installation of HD Flexo, and the company, having demonstrated the highest level of expertise with the technology, is the first label printer to become an HD Flexo certified user.
"We have been a pioneer in flexographic printing for over 25 years," says Sean Keeney, Walle's president and CEO. "HD Flexo has advanced flexography, narrowing the quality gap with gravure. We are pleased to have been the first to invest in HD Flexo, and we are proud that we are now the first label printer to be officially recognized with HD Flexo certification in North America."
Founded in 1872, and owned for the past 30 years by the Keeney family, Walle Corporation is headquartered in Alpharetta, GA and employs over 250 associates in two operating facilities. Both the Flexographic Operating Division in Winchester and the Lithographic Division located in Harahan, LA have achieved HACCP Accreditation, an industry first.
Walle prints a full line of lithographic and flexographic label products, including cut and stack paper, cut and stack film, roll-fed, roll-fed shrink, in-mold, and shrink sleeve labels for a client base that includes smaller, emerging companies and national Fortune 500 corporations. The Winchester site uses high-speed wide-web and mid-web roll fed presses to print labels in up to 10 colors with 100% eco-friendly water-based inks. In 2003 Walle installed an EskoArtwork CDI Spark 4835 (35x48") flexo plate imager at the facility, followed more recently with a larger imager-the EskoArtwork CDI Spark 4260 (42x60")-outfitted with HD Flexo technology.
Walle benefitted from the impact of HD Flexo technology immediately, experiencing better highlight reproduction, especially for dots below 10%. "We saw a huge impact in drop shadows, so we don't have any challenges getting to fine zero and 1% dots," says Keeney. "Our customers are also realizing the benefits-winning awards for their package reproduction."
Another industry first for company
HD Flexo also gave Walle another first, sparking the development of EcoFlex, an economical high-quality shrink sleeve label solution that competes successfully against rotogravure which has historically been the dominant printing method for shrink sleeves. HD Flexo - coupled with Walle's 10-color, wide wide servo-driven central impression press technologies, combines the best of gravure and narrow web flexo, delivering gravure's quality and long run efficiencies along with narrow web flexo's lower prepress costs and quick turnaround times.
"Prior to HD Flexo, selling flexo shrink sleeves against rotogravure was a harder sell-the quality didn't quite match on the more intricate designs," says Keeney. "So gravure was the preferred print method for customers, unless the upfront cylinder costs made it prohibitive or the sleeve design was more forgiving. With EcoFlex, we have the best possible solution for shrink sleeve production, offering customers high-fidelity printing using HD Flexo technology to provide full coverage, 360-degree imaging, and premier graphics at a lower cost, faster and with increased flexibility.
Additionally EcoFlex labels combine HD Flexo with Walle's other innovative processes like solvent-free, thermal platemaking, and water-based flexo ink manufacturing to create a superior sustainable choice for shrink sleeve production. Industry studies have shown that flexo printing reduces energy and CO2 emissions by as much as 50% compared to gravure.
"Customer interest in our EcoFlex shrink sleeves is very strong, and EcoFlex is our fastest growing product," says Keeney. "With the installation of HD Flexo, we are converting more and more rotogravure shrink sleeve projects to EcoFlexTM everyday."
HD Flexo Certified
HD Flexo is the new standard for flexo quality. Companies that are HD Flexo certified are among the best in their field. They are constantly innovating to offer the very best in flexo quality. The HD Flexo Certified seal is only offered to those companies that have passed EskoArtwork's strenuous HD Flexo certification program.