- June 19, 2013, Nsenga Byrd Thompson
With a strong commitment to the environment, a growing flexible packaging division, and a staunch pledge to use only domestic suppliers, Precision Color Graphics (PCG) prides itself on not being a “conventional” prepress house. In its 25,000-sq-ft facility in Franklin, WI, PCG has built its prepress and plating service—once dedicated to lithographic and screen printing—into a company that offers customers value-added products and services in flexography and the flexible packaging market.
Opening its doors 21 years ago with just seven employees, PCG grew quickly, and in the late 1990s, the business was ready to expand into new territory. In 1998, VP Dan Brulz joined the company, bringing with him a strong flexible packaging background to collaborate with PCG’s president, John Goeden, to expertly guide the business into the expanding packaging market. Now 50 employees strong, the PCG team has created a fun, creative work environment that services a range of markets, including pet food, fast food, dairy, and auto.
“We believe the basis of a good vendor is service, quality, and price…and with that, customization is a huge part of what we do,” says Goeden.
Investing in Flexo
With its growing flexible packaging division, flexo prepress has become a large part of PCG’s business, which still includes expert graphic design, imaging, and proofing for litho and screen printing. The company recently invested in Kodak’s Flexcel NX Wide System and Flexcel NX plates. Installed in November 2012, the high-definition flexo plate technology is said to enable PCG to increase press uptime, reduce make-ready waste, and run presses faster to accommodate more print jobs.
“The Kodak NX allows PCG to offer clients smoother, higher-density solids in a single pass and reduce the number of colors per job for improved productivity,” says Goeden. “The new installation also supports plates up to 42 by 60 inches, allowing PCG to produce a wider range of package sizes.”
The Flexcel NX plates reportedly provide a wider color gamut, higher densities, and greater print stability than traditional digital flexo plates, which Goeden says allows PCG to accomplish imaging that rivals offset and gravure imaging.
Additional Kodak products used include the Prinergy Workflow system, designed to streamline and automate PCG’s production process, and the Approval NX Digital Color Imaging System that is said to ensure accurate proofing.
In addition to its successful move into flexible packaging, PCG has differentiated itself through its sustainability efforts. The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources recently recognized PCG as a Green Tier Program Member. The company also was recently awarded a patent for its Bipolymer Liner, as well as the Biodegradable Products Inst. (BPI) certification for its Ecoterah multilayer bags and pouches, reportedly the first package of its kind to receive this certification in the US, Canada, Europe, or Japan.
Made with paper, water-based adhesive, and a biopolymer sealant layer, Ecoterah pouches and bags are a 100% US-produced product said to be ideal for consumer and pet food packaging needs. Ecoterah packaging contains EarthFirst Polylactic Acid (PLA) film, made with the near carbon neutral polymer Ingeo, which is free of petrochemicals commonly found in other plastics. Because there are no petrochemicals, Ecoterah packaging is safe for recycling, composting, and landfills.
Ecoterah bags are FDA human-grade compliant and have been fully implemented for pet treats and potato chips. Pouches for packaging nuts, granola, coffee, powdered drinks, and hops are currently in trials.
Its biodegradable packaging offerings don’t complete PCG’s sustainability efforts. Recognizing the printing community’s growing responsibility to stay environmentally conscience, Goeden keeps a watchful eye on the company’s carbon footprint.
“PCG continuously monitor its equipment and processes and does a complete audit of current sustainability efforts. PCG’s goal is to yield a 20% energy savings by May of next year.”
With its commitment to sustainability and strong investments in its flexible packaging division, Goeden believes that PCG will continue to set itself apart from other prepress businesses by staying outside the conventional prepress box.
“We really strive not to just sell commodity or generic packaging,” says Goeden. “We are trying to set the standard and really be innovative in putting together a lot of different substrates and designs. We push the envelope quite a bit. That’s what keeps us fresh and interesting.“