When your customers include the global leaders in the highly competitive consumer products market you need to be prepared to be innovative. Control Group®s’ Chief Operating Officer Jim Imburgia says “Many of the flexible packaging products we produce today started out as a concept from our customers, it was up to us and our suppliers to make their vision become a reality.”
Turning ideas for packaging into reality has earned the Control Group® numerous awards over the years. TLMI has repeatedly recognized the company for Excellence in Technical Achievements and DuPont has awarded Control Group® with its Excellence in Packaging award. “We do a lot of research and development for our customers and that leads to developing innovative solutions that involve creative combinations of substrates, inks, laminations and equipment,” says Imburgia.
Production Capability and Flexibility
The company has over 12 different presses with capabilities for printing pouches, flexible films and thick plastics. Materials range from paper and foil to metalized films, and even some proprietary film combinations.
One of their most innovative processes is being able to print up to 13 colors on thermo formable plastic substrates in roll form with intricate graphics and special effects. The process can be applied to PVC, APET, PETG, Polypropylene, and GAG substrates. This enables package designers to reduce cost by eliminating label and/or billboard inserts to streamline the packaging process.
Imburgia says that these materials are some of the most difficult to print on and corona treating is imperative for success. Corona treaters ionize air which imparts surface treatment on the substrates. Treatment increases surface energy and enables print and laminate adhesion. Control Group® relies on corona treatment on almost all of their printing operations. And they specify Enercon Industries for all of their corona treating needs.
“Three years and we haven’t had a single issue with the Enercon, … when we bought our last press at Label Expo we specified that it have an Enercon corona treater,” Jim Imburgia, COO Control Group.
The company standardizes on Enercon Corona Treaters because of their experience with them. “The treaters we had before Enercon were very finicky, they required a lot of attention, maintenance and replacement parts,” says Imburgia. It was about three years later when they purchased their next press and needed a corona treater on it. “We said, “Wow” it’s been three years and we haven’t had a single issue with the Enercon, so we made sure to stick with something that works. In fact when we bought our last press at Label Expo we specified that it have an Enercon corona treater,” explains Imburgia.
The press purchased off the Label Expo show floor was a 22” Nilpeter FA-6*. It features a servo driven design for a wide variety of flexible packaging applications. And its innovative sleeve systems permits an extra short web path and easy loading of tooling with it CLEANINKING system. Imburgia says, “We chose Nilpeter because of the advanced technology, workmanship and customer support.”
Their newest corona treaters are Enercon’s new CoronaFlex™ stations featuring two sided treatment and a touch screen interface. “These are even better than the older ones. With the touch screen you just press start, and boom you’re off to the races,” says Imburgia.
Custom Corona Treating for Printing and Laminating
Being able to produce specialized packaging is one thing, but being able to do it economically is key to the company’s success. The operation has developed methods to perform complex combinations of printing, cold foiling and laminating on a single pass through a press.
“Our customers ask us to experiment with different combinations of printing and laminating, so we need to build in flexibility to our processes,” says Imburgia. One of the more remarkable examples of this flexibility is in their custom mounting of their Enercon treaters on their newest Nilpeter presses.
The primary two sided treater is located in the conventional location after the unwind. However, Control Group® has added a second two sided Enercon treater mounted on special rail system devised by Control Group®. It allows them to move the treater to different locations on the press as needed. Imburgia, ”Our customers are always looking to find benefits in different combinations of printing and laminating layers. The treater setup allows us to move the treater to the areas of the press we need to improve adhesion. This means we are only handling the material through the press one time and that saves our customers money while improving our efficiency.”
This remarkable flexibility enables the company to be the proving ground for new flexible packaging configurations. If history is a predictor of future success, Control Group® should be plan on making room for their next award winning package.