Italian packaging provider Domenico De Lucia S.p.A. has boosted the quality of its output after installing the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System.
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Domenico De Lucia specialises in the agri-food sector. The company provides an integrated service, providing packing services for dried fruit and pre-cooked vegetables, as well as flexographic printing of plastic films for flexible packaging.
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Diversifying into new markets
The KODAK system was purchased as part of a project that led to Domenico De Lucia’s diversification into flexible packaging printing with the incorporation of a local printing house.
Domenico De Lucia wanted to invest in the latest, most advanced flexographic printing systems, including in-house plate production: “After evaluating another system, we opted for the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System with KODAK PRINERGY EVO Workflow,” says Marisa De Lucia, head of the flexible packaging production division. “The high-resolution plates and the printing results delivered by the FLEXCEL NX System are far superior to other systems on the market.”
Investing in cutting-edge technologies is a key element of Domenico De Lucia’s strategy. “Today, flexography has reached a quality that’s comparable to rotogravure printing – KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plate Technology produces high-definition printing dots, consistently on different materials and over an entire print run,” explains De Lucia.
“We print and laminate, and have considerable experience of using materials according to their end use. We’ve become a unique operation, combining the knowledge of an agri-food company with the expertise of a graphics firm.”
With sales of almost €17 million in 2011 and 50 employees across the group, Domenico De Lucia made a significant investment in its printing division in 2010 and 2011: “We brought the entire prepress stage in-house. We wanted peace of mind that our flexographic printing system would guarantee consistent, predictable and perfectly repeatable results,” adds De Lucia.
“Our service is built around the PRINERGY EVO Workflow. It provides scalable tools for controlling prepress production, which can be implemented as the workload increases. These tools have certainly proved beneficial from both a quality and efficiency perspective.”
The KODAK PRINERGY EVO Workflow System integrates with the features of the KODAK PRINERGY POWERPACK Workflow and the KODAK PANDORA Step-and-Repeat Software.
Faster production, greater stability and less waste
One crucial aspect of the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System takes place during the lamination process. Direct contact between layer and plate eliminates oxygen during UV exposure, ensuring a perfect 1:1 reproduction from digital file to finished plate. The result is a stable dot with a flat top, which appears much clearer and cleaner on the plate. It also allows longer print runs, and a wider colour gamut.
Together with the KODAK MAXTONE Screening Software, the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System eliminates the previous limitations of flexographic printing: “The main advantages are fast machine starts, greater plate stability and a dramatic reduction in waste,” says De Lucia.
“Another important advantage for us is that, thanks to the more extensive colour gamut, we can now reproduce photographic-quality images in 4 colours +1, which in rotogravure printing would be printed as 8 - 9 colours.
“Coupled with the stability of the plate, this reassures customers that their brand will be reproduced consistently on all packaging products, which is vitally important to them. While from our point of view, it helps keep costs down and ensures optimal use of the printing press.”
Tests carried out with various Kodak customers have demonstrated that, compared with traditional flexographic plates, KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates last two to five times longer on press, allow faster colour stabilisation, and reduce make-ready times and waste in set-up by 20%.
Excellent print quality impresses brands
CONAD, COOP and FRUIT JOY are some of the brands that have been printed by Domenico De Lucia: “For all brands, the key challenge is to produce appealing packaging so that it stands out from competitors’ products.”
Products printed by Domenico De Lucia meet brands’ stringent requirements thanks to the print quality guaranteed by the plates produced using the FLEXCEL NX System. The quality of colours and details rivals offset and rotogravure processes, even on critical materials such as films.
Plotting growth with Kodak technology
Domenico De Lucia is keen to promote its printing activities, independently of its packaging services: “We rely a lot on the FLEXCEL NX System because we know it delivers outstanding quality, while at the same time allows us to save on ink, reduce waste and shorten makeready times.”
De Lucia believes the company is in safe hands with Kodak: “Whenever we had any difficulties, there was always a technician on hand to help us, as well as a permanent advisory service. Kodak gives us peace of mind, and is helping us take on new challenges.”