- October 01, 2006, Edited by Claudia Hine Managing Editor
The corrugated packaging and display business has moved toward more color, finer screens, value-added coating, and a higher standard of quality. At the point of purchase (POP) in supermarkets, club stores, and pharmacies, consumer goods often are displayed in their original transport packaging, which is designed and printed to create the maximum visual impact. York Container has been catering to this market for more than half a century.
Founded in 1954 by Ruben Willman, Bob Warren, and Charlie Wolf, today the company is headed by Ruben's son Dennis, chairman, and Charlie's son and daughter, Chuck, president, and Coni, VP of business development.
Over time, the company advanced from producing brown corrugated packaging printed one color to multicolor products printed with basic text, figures, and simple graphics. In 1993 York Container switched its entire press department to flexo. Today brown packaging accounts for 60% to 65% of its product range, while “high graphics” consumer packaging (screened, modified process and process, and usually coated) accounts for 10%.
Pioneering UV Coating
Since York Container brought its KBA Corrugraph onstream, it has assumed what it says is a pioneering role in in-line UV coating technology among US manufacturers of corrugated.
Says Coni Wolf, “The most common package is the brown box, purchased by distribution managers or buyers of many items. But when it comes to buying complex, high quality white corrugated packaging, the people who make the decisions are agencies, brand managers, and marketing specialists. This is a totally different target group with a totally different focus and different needs. We have to give the packaging a more powerful visual impact, or as we say, ‘pop up’ the package.”
The biggest customers for high-graphics packaging are the food industry and manufacturers of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. York reports customer response to its UV-coated boxes and displays has been extremely positive, and its high-end business has grown substantially since the KBA press was installed.
In-House Design Teams
Along with the structural design of snappy packaging and displays, York Container also undertakes the graphic design. It produces packaging that is entirely customer-specific and entirely flexo, although Coni Wolf would consider alternative printing if customer or market demand were to change.
While plates for simple jobs are made in-house in a computer-to-film unit, the polymer plates for high-graphics work on the Corrugraph are all purchased. Currently, there is no CTP alternative for the big plates that run on the Corrugraph, says Coni Wolf, but she looks forward to the day when CTP is widely available for corrugated.
The company uses a Vutek digital press to produce prototypes and ultra-short runs.
In One Pass
The Corrugraph at York Container is a seven-color version for a maximum sheet size of 118 × 66 in. or a maximum sheet length, without skip feed, of 66 in. It has a maximum rated output of 10,000 sheets/hr and can handle any caliper of corrugated stock from a coarse 0.394 in. (10 mm) to 0.063 in. (1 mm E-flute). The company is working with engineers from KBA North America to print F- or G-flute on the Corrugraph.
The huge, bulky sheets are guided nonstop into the press by a pre-feeder and Sun Automation feeder. Following impression, during which as many as six colors can be applied plus an aqueous or UV coating in the seventh printing unit, the sheets are rotary die-cut in-line and stacked. On the Corrugraph, the sheets run overhead and are printed on the underside while an overhead vacuum roller system guides them along.
The UV coating replaces the aqueous coating common in the industry and imparts an added gloss, which can make all the difference for POP products, Coni Wolf says.
The Corrugraph's high output has enabled the company to dispose of one other press. Coni Wolf and her associates are delighted with the unit's superior print quality, accurate registration, and high productivity, as well as with the support provided by KBA's plant nearby.
Dennis Willman says, “Today, just about everything — food, clothing, tools, machinery, and even Harley Davison motorcycles — is packed in boxes for protection. So the visual and quality demands being made on consumer packaging are becoming ever more sophisticated. We deliver this level of sophistication.”
138 Mt. Zion Rd., York, PA 17402
KBA North America — PFFC-ASAP 304. kba-usa.com
Vutek — PFFC-ASAP 305. vutek.com
Sun Automation Group — PFFC-ASAP 306. sunautomation.com