Throughout the last several years, Exacto Inc. has experienced rapid growth that has been placing strains on their labeling and packaging processes.
The Sharon, Wisc.-based manufacturer of agrochemical adjuvants for wholesale and private label markets was founded in 1981. Exacto focuses on engineering solutions designed to optimize the conditions in which chemicals, water and soils come together to create bountiful croplands and landscapes.
“Until four years ago, everything was printed offsite, and we’d look at a minimum turnaround time of seven to 10 days before we’d get our order back,” says Tom Martin, project manager, Exacto. “And every time the customer made a label change, we would have to pay for new plates and set-up charges.”
By this time, Exacto was consuming thousands of labels per day, and to improve efficiency and offer their customers faster turnaround times and more freedom from a marketing and design standpoint, they shifted gears and brought printing in-house. Exacto implemented a small industrial benchtop printer, and sourced blank labels from an outside vendor. But as business continued to grow, Exacto quickly realized a new solution was needed to drive out remaining inefficiencies in their packaging environment.
“We went from needing 7,000 labels a day to 7,000 an hour. So we needed to make an investment in a new system,” Martin says. “We sought out Colordyne Technologies because we knew we needed a solution that could keep up with our current production needs and provide room for future growth. We produce all of the labels and packaging for our products, often including front and back product labels along with secondary packaging labels for our boxes and bags.”
“Exacto reached out to Colordyne for a solution, not just another off-the-shelf digital printer,” says Todd Krupa, account sales manager, Colordyne. “We met with the Exacto team, toured their facility, experienced the challenges they faced firsthand, and used the information we gathered to design a custom platform.”
The solution not only solved Exacto’s packaging and labeling inefficiencies, but impacted several other processes within the company.
“The press provided Exacto’s marketing team with a resource to provide their customers with new creative label and packaging ideas,” Krupa says. “It also provided their quality assurance team with a solution to protect the labels from chemical exposure in their bottling lines, all while improving their bottom line.”
Exacto implemented a Colordyne 3600 Series Laser Pro in March 2015 providing them with a digital color printing platform capable of printing at 275 feet per minute (84 m/min) at a resolution of 1600 x 1375 dpi. The Laser Pro gives Exacto the ability to protect their labels with over-varnish or lamination inline finishing. The state-of-the-art 400 watt laser die cutter with instant order change capabilities allows for variable shapes to be processed without stopping the press — further eliminating downtime and operator intervention.
“It’s not inconvenient any longer to run one job after another,” Martin says. “The 3600 Series eliminated the stopping and starting we were faced with previously. I can load as many jobs as I want and the machine keeps running. The speed and quality compared to what we had before is like night and day. I can’t imagine going back to the old way of doing things.”
Colordyne’s digital printing solutions provide companies like Exacto the flexibility they need to cater to their customers’ ever-changing demands. The print-on-demand system allows them to reduce pre-printed inventories, consequently lowering costs, waste and obsolescence.
“It’s a lot faster,” Martin says. “We now print about 120,000 labels per day. Also, our cost per label has decreased by about 12 cents, which is big. If I run 5,000 labels and then find a mistake, we can immediately reprint. In the past, 5,000 labels would take a long time to print. Now we can have them ready in 15 minutes.”
Besides the superior product, Martin cites customer and technical support as one of the reasons why they chose Colordyne.
“Every question we had, Colordyne answered,” Martin says. “They did a great job training our team on how to use the printer and they continue to be a great resource for my team when they have questions. All the Colordyne techs are very responsive and knowledgeable of the product and our application needs. And in the end, when I’m looking for guidance, I want to have a one-stop shop, and that is what Colordyne is.”