FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division has recently installed Clarity Water Washable Flexo Plates at Universal Products, Inc., a Goddard, Kansas-based printer of labels and specialty graphics.
Since their founding in 1977, Universal Products has always been dedicated to quality and service, and remains committed to their customers. Universal Products answers the vinyl graphic needs of customers, representing every industry in the US. Their 150,000 square foot facility supports nearly 300 employees.
Universal Products has a large presence in the marine market, and a vast majority of decorative graphics they print will appear on numerous brands of boats, including high-ticket wakeboard boats. Additionally, their products are also found on the sides of construction and agriculture equipment, including tractor and combine housings. Within the flexographic/roll label side of the business, they are printing food labeling, consumer product labeling within the power tool market, as well as many other consumer market labeling applications.
Universal was interested in reducing plate making time to improve their productivity, and Fujifilm's new Clarity Water Wash Flexo Plates offered the highest flexo print quality, at the fastest production times; while significantly lowering cost-in-use compared to thermal, solvent or other water-wash technology.
"Clarity is 75% faster compared to our previous plate making system," said Ron Cowhick, flexographic supervisor, Universal Products, Inc. "Clarity provides a much cleaner print. The plates are more durable, not brittle. This processor is user friendly, and we really like the way it works. If someone is still using the old plate-making method, I highly suggest they change," added Cowhick.
"The primary reason that drove us to implementing a change in our current plate making equipment was that we were interested in reducing the time it takes to make plates. We've realized in the past several months that with Clarity, we have greatly reduced the process time compared to what we were getting before," said Phillip Weitzel, president, Universal Products, Inc. "We also wanted a better dot-architecture, due to the amount of process work we are doing, and the quality of the process work, and with Clarity we've benefited from this as well. It didn't take us too long to see the advantages of Clarity, which allows us to be more competitive, allowing faster turn-time, this equates to more business for Universal Products."
"The chemicals used to make the plates are environmentally friendly and responsible; the soap solution is safe, and it's literally safe to dispose of down the drain, we've had it tested. We are no longer using solvents, it's better for our employees, and we are seeing a tremendous savings in solvent disposal and recycle costs," said Weitzel.
Clarity's innovative water wash chemistry does far more than simply eliminate the need for solvents and wicking cloths - it delivers longer runs while producing a consistent 200lpi at 4400dpi, and a 1 percent process dot structure for print quality never before seen with flexo plates.
David Treadwell, production manager, Universal Products Inc., shared his thoughts on Clarity.
"The print quality with Clarity is better than what we had previously, and the Clarity plates are running longer than what we had previously, and Clarity overall is a much better quality product," said Treadwell. "Everyone in the shop loves this new system; we look forward to increasing our run speeds.
Since solvents are not necessary to process Clarity plates, a strong solvent odor is noticeably absent from their facility, and allows for a more environmentally-friendly atmosphere.
Universal Products relationship with Fujifilm started on the screen side of the business, and their facility is now home to many products distributed by Fujifilm, including, screen mesh, all screen inks, emulsions, flexo ink and consumables including the Clarity plates and plate making materials.
"Fujifilm not only has the equipment, but they also have a full line-up of consumables to back it up," summarized Weitzel