THE previous edition of PPM included the brochure detailing winning entries in last year’s FTASA Print Excellence Awards, and now we take a peek at the teams behind these success stories. Particularly evident is the non-stop technology leaps achieved by both printers and suppliers. Each time a goal is reached, they up the ante and set more complex challenges for themselves!
To find out which printers hit the top spots in the various categories, which presses gave the best results, who were the leading ink suppliers and which plates and platemakers were victorious, refer to the awards brochure. In addition, this multi-page report provides some more in-depth information.
But first, we must acknowledge the key role played by the sponsors – Beswick Machinery/Bobst, Hi-Tech Inks, PACKAGiNG & Print Media, SArepco/Mark Andy, Rotocon and Sun Chemical – whose generous support makes the awards programme a viable exercise.
Packaging World’s commitment to excellence bags it top honours
For the first time, Packaging World took the Best on Show citation and dominated the medium and wide web flexible packaging categories with three golds and a silver award.
Production manager Chris Burnand ascribes the company’s successful showing to the team always working closely with suppliers on each project and ensuring alignment by discussing technicalities upfront before making the plates and selecting the inks, mounting tapes and aniloxes because they play such an important role in obtaining world-class printing results on the German precision-engineered Windmöller & Hölscher Miraflex S press.
For the Best on Show winner, he explains that Pick n Pay desired a true-to-life photographic quality reproduction through the use of bright, solid colours and a dense ink laydown for the launch of its plain nachos because the majority of competitor brand bags in the category are printed in gravure. ‘Repro Flex achieved this by retouching the image and neatly separating the colours and whites to ensure sharpness in the highlights and depth in the shadows,’ remarks director Jamie O’Neill. ‘Additionally, Packaging World’s ability to hold very tight register more consistently than most converters resulted in vibrant detail on the melted cheese, nachos, salad and guacamole, which stand out and give the design a 3D appearance after reproduction.’
For the King Pie Puff Pastry pack, joint gold winner in the Wide Web (Line/Tone) category, Chris enthuses that the smooth vignettes, crisp reversed out copy, a lifelike image and tight registration make this design especially pleasing on the eye. ‘We were stretched for colour on this design and required to print in reverse sequence without white and to combine the black line and black tone. It speaks wonders for Flint Nyloflex FTF Digital flat-top dot polymer plate developments that we were able to achieve such clean highlights and imagery with a 370 line anilox while simultaneously achieving a B-grade verification on the barcode.’
The other joint gold in the category was awarded for Mister Sweet’s Mini White Yumallows, with the company choosing to bring the work home due to the Covid-19 pandemic and replace its imported BOPP/LDPE gravure pack with a flexographically printed version.
According to Jamie, the design is quite conducive to gravure printing because of the background, gradients and sparkles within the swirl pattern and the white area that backs the logo. ‘These elements are notoriously difficult to achieve on a flexo press because dot gain can cause them to lose their detail and the soft-touch look that the combined matte/gloss finish provides to complement the texture of marshmallows inside the pack,’ he stresses. ‘The trick was separating the background colours while maintaining the vivid detail and contrast with a surface printed job that achieved the same quality and neat register as when it was reverse printed on a gravure press using a turn bar to register in order to attain a matte varnish appearance.’
Chris agrees and adds that by carefully selecting the aniloxes and ink formulations to achieve the minimum dots, Packaging World mastered the ink laydown and density quality consistency throughout the print run. ‘Additionally, by printing down to a minimum dot, our team pushed the vignette and highlight boundaries in terms of clips, bleeds and dot percentage,’ he states. ‘In this case, we also inhibited scuffing on the packaging line and on retail shelves by choosing special scuff-resistant properties for the ink and matte varnish.’
Chris has a soft spot for the Kloof Fern Agencies Delicious Frozen Berries bag, a silver winner in the Medium Web (Process) category. He describes the real-life photography, vibrant colours, highlights and details on the fruits and berries as out of this world. ‘It is a testament to the giant leaps that flexo has made in the past five to ten years that we have far surpassed the results achievable on a gravure press,’ he maintains. ‘We also pushed the limits with the crisp, thin, white copy reversed out of a four-colour process set in perfect kiss-fit registration on the W&H Miraflex S press. And, we love it when a plan comes together so that exceptional print quality exceeds customers’ expectations.’
Siyakha’s technology Investments pay dividends
‘Siyakha Imperial Printing is very proud of its three awards as the company is passionate about representing the uniqueness of a brand’s image and enhancing it through incorporating the latest global innovations and technologies,’ remarks project head Jessica Busa. ‘An assigned team creates breakthroughs when developing customer solutions and award-winning products.’
Siyakha took silver for a roll-on shrink-on (ROSO) label on a metallised Mortein Aerosol can and bronze for a Wild Island Smoothie wraparound label, printed on its ten-colour Mark Andy Performance Series press, in both cases using DuPont Cyrel Easy ESX plates supplied by Repro Flex and inks from Flint Group.
‘Incorporating ROSO labels on the metallised Mortein Aerosol cans provides excellent graphic print quality, while the metallic finish enhances the shelf appeal of the product,’ Jessica asserts. ‘Additional benefits include cost-efficiency for brand owners, as they can lower minimum order quantities, reduce warehousing requirements and better control packaging write-offs on discontinued SKUs.’
She points out that with the Wild Island Smoothie wraparound label, the team paid attention to minute details while carefully controlling the ink laydown during high-speed print runs. ‘Siyakha delights in achieving quality printed products that excite and exceed customer expectations, and in this case, we carefully balanced the combination of colours, tones, finishes and material performance on application during the filling process.’
Siyakha is also upbeat about the future of flexible packaging because its convenient shape, ease of use and lightweight properties deliver convenience and portability for consumers. The development team, therefore, focuses on processes that provide cost-effective and high-definition results. To obtain the desired result on the silver award-winning Barney Lucky Packet, printed on a Mark Andy P Series press, the team reduced the job from eight to five colours by using bright, vibrant process colours and paying careful attention to the register and vignettes.
MacDermid is masterful
While photopolymer plates taking top honours in the flexible packaging and folding cartons categories were pretty evenly spread among major suppliers, there was a clear frontrunner when it came to those used for printing award-winning corrugated packaging: it was MacDermid Graphics Solutions. It led the way with gold for New Era Packaging (pictured here), silver for Everest Packaging Group and bronze for Mpact Pinetown.
Local market representative TAD Printing Products expects next year’s showing to be even more impressive, thanks to the introduction of the next generation flat-top dot plate designed to print high-quality images on post-print corrugated. LUX ITP EDGE offers 1:1 reproduction up to 120lpi and proven results with minimal bump requirements up to 150lpi.
According to Gauteng branch manager Leatitia Vuurman, the optimised flat-top dot structure reduces fluting without additional platemaking techniques or exposure systems. This enables LUX ITP EDGE to print retail-ready packaging featuring high-end graphics with fine highlight dots on corrugated surfaces.
Leatitia explains that LUX ITP EDGE is the first corrugated-focused plate formulated with MacDermid’s patented clean plate technology. ‘This technology reduces the number of press stops and ensures a cleaner print and better ink laydown. It also increases quality and consistency, enabling print service providers to stay competitive with other printing methods.’
She points out that TAD Printing Products isn’t only proud of the results of MacDermid’s corrugated customers in the 2020 FTASA Flexo Print Excellence Awards, but also of those of self-adhesive label specialist SA Litho Label Printers. ‘As a supplier of MacDermid LUX ITP M plates to this division of CTP, we are thrilled that the team won a gold and bronze medal in the Self-Adhesive (Line/Tone) Labels category for Amarula Raspberry, Chocolate & African Baobab Flavour and Klipdrift Premium respectively,’ Leatitia concludes.
Click here to read in the E-mag.