- February 01, 2008, By Stanley Sacharow, The Packaging Group Inc.
With an internationally trained management team, complemented by highly experienced production personnel, Ultra Flex Packaging Corp. often leads in both production and marketing innovation among flex-pack converters.
During an exclusive PFFC visit, Eli Blatt, president, said, “We have grown rapidly since our beginnings as a bag plant. One reason is our willingness to upgrade production equipment on a proactive basis. This way we constantly offer cost savings and superior quality to our international roster of clients.”
Tools of the Trade
Ultra Flex began in 1974 when Blatt used his graphic arts background to manufacture flexo-printed, low-density polyethylene bags. In 1985, the addition of new partners gave the firm a foothold in the laminated products market. An infusion of skilled technical professionals plus state-of-the-art equipment saw Ultra Flex's aggressive expansion from a converting company to a manufacturer of ultra-high-barrier composite films.
The trend toward globalization has been met with a carefully crafted domestic production strategy that included replacing some equipment with a shift to offshore partners. Blatt, along with partners Todd Addison and Bob Smith, decided to focus on core markets of coffee, food, industrial, and medical barrier packaging. The firm now enjoys more than $50 million in sales, has 220+ employees, and occupies an industrial park ten miles west of Kennedy Airport. The plant is spotless, well organized, and amenable to excellent material handling.
Converting equipment consists of solvent and solventless laminators; there are two Nordmeccanicas and one solvent Schiavi. Printing is accomplished on three Fischer and Krecke ten-color flexo presses.
The extrusion facility, housed in a dedicated building, consists of a Davis-Standard coextrusion lamination line with cast film manufacturing capabilities. The line is capable of producing eight-layer laminates with special seal layers and high-barrier properties. The versatile extruder boasts coating and cast capabilities.
A complete prepress department is capable of 155 lpi. Digital direct-to-plate technology has added significant speed and accuracy to the platemaking process.
The bagging capabilities include zip-lock, easy-tear, gusset, and stand-up pouches. Sideweld bags also are manufactured for a variety of options including both hanger and wicketed types.
The jewel in Ultra Flex's plant is the newly installed Nordmeccanica three-ply adhesive laminator. The three-ply one-pass market is the direction North American converters are taking to compete globally.
All this equipment is complemented by a fully equipped lab. It contains the necessary equipment to ensure proper quality control on all products.
In addition to Titan slitters, Ultra Flex recently purchased a new Ashe Jade slitter with the capability of handling web widths of 88 in. and rolls up to 44 in. O.D. Equipped with complete electronic controls, and with no hydraulics, Blatt says the Jade slitter is a totally clean machine, able to run product without any contamination.
Three-Ply Plus Flexibility
The Triplex Combi Vertical laminator (reportedly one of the first of its type installed in North America by any supplier) is the first installation of Nordmeccanica's recently released upgraded version. It can be used for solvent-based, water-based, or solventless adhesives. Blatt says it is fitted with an very efficient drying system composed of two sections and an extremely precise system that controls the tension.
The technology used for the interchangeable coating trolleys allows for a range of uses: lamination, coating, etc. Trolleys are available for gravure, semi-flexo, contra-rotation, polyvinylidene chloride, and solventless processing. This machine also can be configured for register cold-seal processing on preprinted rolls. According to Blatt, “These modular machines are proven designs. Nordmeccanica produces more than 80 percent of flex-pack laminates made with this concept in North America. This is why we…install their machines.”
Always proactive, however, Blatt adds, “We will probably upgrade our brand new Nordmeccanica in the next two years to accommodate a four-ply lamination.”
Stanley Sacharow has been in the flexible packaging industry for more than 35 years. His company, The Packaging Group, is an organizer of targeted conferences to the packaging/converting industry. Contact him at 732-636-0885; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ultra Flex Packaging Corp. | 975 Essex St., Brooklyn, NY 11208 | 718-272-9100 | www.ultraflex.com
Nordmeccanica | www.nordmeccanica.com
Schiavi/Bobst Group | www.bobstgroup.com/schiavi
Fischer and Krecke | www.fischer-krecke.com
Davis-Standard | www.davis-standard.com
Titan/Bobst Group | www.bobstgroup.com
Ashe Converting Equipment | www.ashe.co.uk