Emerald Packaging Inc., with a partner, will conduct a six-month beta test of Hewlett Packard Co.'s new digital press model for flexible packaging, the Indigo WS20000, starting in late June.
Pallavi Joyappa, Emerald's newly appointed chief operating officer, was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.
“She has led the charge into digital, doing much of the research, negotiating of contracts and overseeing the testing, especially with regard to lamination of print structures,” said CEO Kevin Kelly. “We would not be doing it without her leadership.”
Joyappa is the first COO in Emerald's 51-year history.
Flexible packaging manufacturer Emerald and partner OEC Graphics Inc. plan to use the digital press mainly to print films of PET, polypropylene or foil for later lamination. The press can also run polyethylene.
The press uses HP-brand ElectroInks with up to seven colors including opaque white.
OEC of Oshkosh, Wis., has a West Coast site that will house the WS20000 and is less than a mile from the Emerald facilities in Union City, Calif.
Emerald will own the equipment and supply talent.
“We sent an operator to Israel to train for two weeks,” Kelly said.
Globally, Emerald will be the fourth company trialing the roll-fed WS20000 with its 30-inch-wide web. Label and packaging firm Innovative Labeling Solutions of Hamilton, Ohio, is another domestic beta site.
“We will use the press for short-run work that traditionally we do not do because of the size of our presses and the cost of printing plates,” Kelly said. “We expect it to help the main operation as some of the short-run work eventually gains volume and feeds into our bigger presses.”
Each short run may consume 30 feet to 15,000 feet of film or foil.
OEC specializes in brand strategy and marketing for consumer product companies and works on a regular basis with Emerald separating art work, trapping images and making printing plates. OEC can handle design tasks and take projects from branding to printing plates.
OEC will deal with sales and marketing for the partnership.
“Otherwise, I would need to hire a sales force,” Kelly said.
Target markets include packaging for cosmetics, shampoos, dry foods, nuts and beverages, particularly for product prototype initiatives and regional marketing efforts.
Emerald is adjusting.
“We are used to being in control and using faster machines,” Kelly said. “This takes a different process. The ink is expensive, and the machine is not fast.”
Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP formed a strategic alliance with Indigo NV of Ness Ziona, Israel, in 2000 and acquired the business in 2001. Indigo is now a division of HP's graphic solutions business.
Joyappa worked at flexible printing and forms company Precision Press Inc. of North Mankato, Minn., prior to joining Emerald in 2005 as a process control engineer.
On her own initiative while at Emerald, Joyappa enrolled in the Six Sigma program of the American Society for Quality and was certified as a black belt professional.
Emerald is filling other needs.
In April, Emerald began operating its third laser perforation/scoring unit from the Somerset, Wis., facility of Preco Inc.
Emerald is acquiring its first pouch machine to do bottom-gusseted, side-gusseted and zipper-equipped pouches. Emerald anticipates receiving the machine in June from Totani Corp. of Kyoto, Japan. Currently, Emerald outsources pouch making.
Emerald has ordered a flexographic press with a 52-inch-wide web from the Lincoln, R.I., North American unit of Windmöller & Hölscher KG. Due for delivery in December, the “quick-change narrower press will be a natural for migration from digital to flexo,” Kelly said.
Also, Emerald is adding lamination capacity from Nordmeccanica SpA of Piacenza, Italy.
Emerald employs 260 and projects sales of about $85 million for the fiscal year ending Aug. 30. The firm occupies 240,000 square feet including a 120,000 square feet adjacent to its headquarters.