With strict new environmental standards - and the growing challenge of counterfeiting - packaging manufacturers have to work hard to provide clients with quality products. Packaging & Converting Intelligence talks to Tom Dupont, product development manager at acpo, about the company's range of flexible printing offerings.
Tom Dupont: The company was founded in 1986 and its first coating line was installed in the current facility - which now holds three coating machines and 14 slitters - in 1999. In addition to overlaminates, acpo has developed a number of products since 2010, including those with enhanced UV protection, digital ink adhesion and Sofsens.
The company provides oxygen barrier films, as well as sealing webs, which traditional flexographic printers can use on existing equipment. The concept works the same as printing on labelstock and applying the overlaminate. A printer would reverse print on the barrier film and laminate a self-wound sealing web on the same press.
The current sealing web offering contains PE, CPP and BOPP in clear and white. Metalised versions are also being developed. The oxygen barrier print web can be PET or AlOx PET and is expanding to eventually include BOPP and other olefins. While this concept will not work for every flexible package type, such as retort packaging, it provides great solutions to dry goods and even the growing cannabis market.
The company has been working with digital printers for a number of years. It has established partnerships with different digital solutions providers. The adhesives for these digital inks must be aggressive enough to bond with the different surfaces they provide. acpo provides only the material that is needed, when it is needed.
Speed to market is vital to the digital model, and acpo strives to ensure overlaminate films and certain flexible packaging components do not reduce that speed.
The company's products provide anti-counterfeiting technology in the overlamination. It makes security-enhanced labels as subtle as possible, to keep anti-counterfeiting schemes secret. To this end, the roll of overlaminate film is indistinguishable from a standard roll. Additionally, printers do not need any new skills to formulate or apply anti-counterfeit measures. If they can apply an overlaminate, they can make a label with security features. acpo offers assistance to build solid and confidential relationships with partners.
acpo offers a large array of products in BOPP and PET compared with its competition. It currently has more than 50 different overlaminate films and is developing even more. The company manufactures all of these products in its US facility. The development team is in the factory to help customers, and to move quickly from the lab bench to the coating machine.
Access to slitting and distribution centres across the US and Mexico provide better services. In short, acpo is more than just a supplier of commodity products; it teams up with partners around the globe for a truly international presence, which provides insights into important business trends.
acpo plans to expand its offerings in flexible packaging. The company has been working with narrow-web printers for 30 years and has seen many developments. The newest trend in short-run packaging is especially exciting. acpo is working on a number of initiatives to help with recyclable flexible packages and is also looking at ways of making more sustainable products. Since acpo has its own coating machines, it can work with different substrates and adhesive combinations. acpo has run trials almost every week and will be coming out with an overlaminate containing glitter and working on others with different functions.
Label designs are changing, and acpo wants to continue to help with creative options. Longer-term plans include listening to the marketplace and developing the products that help bring greater success to customers.