More than 80 years ago, a small company in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, began producing naval precision eye charts and navigational plotters, setting a historic course for custom-engineering plastic and paper card products ubiquitous today. A long-range, customer-focused point of view helped propel Allegheny Printed Plastics into a leading, state-of-the-art card personalization manufacturer.
From its Pittsburgh-based location, Allegheny Plastics supplies high-quality gift, loyalty, membership, and other custom commercial card solutions to the retail, hospitality, advertising, and promotional markets. Capabilities include card personalization, affixing and packaging options, and mailing and fulfillment, all in a robust, secure data management environment.
Allegheny has invested years in developing a customer-focused culture and agile responsiveness. Leadership is dedicated to manufacturing excellence and promotes a passion for process improvement and acquiring innovative technologies.
Streamlining the printing process
When Allegheny tested ECO3’s PressTune print standardization tool, they experienced how applying mathematics and objective measurement to printing can streamline the process and increase efficiency.
“PressTune has all the information easily accessible,” states Allegheny’s prepress manager, Chrissy Summers, shown here next to plant manager Les Gamble.
“We follow G7, and the calibration is very meticulous. Pressmen must look in different places like overprints, densities, and dot gains. With PressTune, our pressmen have all the tools they need on screen. The passing score is there. PressTune does the math for them, and they can see the real time data while printing.”
PressTune allows printing professionals to measure color reproduction against any identified standard, including ISO 12647, G7, and specific buyer requirements. The pass-fail reporting process and scorecard system certify that jobs are printed precisely to specification, improving quality and consistency. By monitoring up to 12 spot colors, along with process colors, PressTune guides operators to adjust the press to remain within tolerances when chemistry, paper, ink, and other variables change.
“When printing on plastic, there is ink dot gain. Our curves are set to factor dot gain in lamination. PressTune is a locked-down system that considers variance in the behavior of our printing process. We need to run slightly off of G7 because lamination shifts the color to another color space, and we are much more stable and consistent because we are printing to the numbers.”Chrissy Summers
PressTune contains powerful analytic capabilities based on Lab Values obtained through spectrophotometer measurement tools. This vital print and color data is collected straight from the printing press, enabling the objective evaluation of printing jobs related to specific standards. By doing away with subjective evaluations, print manufacturers can operate in a standardized way and get more jobs done in less time.
Dropping two color pulls in proofing
PressTune helped Allegheny eliminate a step in the proofing process. According to Plant Manager Les Gamble, “The color is more crisp, and the pressmen can get up to color faster. We dropped at least two color pulls from the process and decreased our make-ready time.”
Allegheny continually invests in making its systems more efficient. In combination with PressTune, SPIR@L screening is helping to reduce image slur by holding a 1-99% dot by replacing the traditional ink dot with more efficient spiral shapes.
“Our highlights are sharper with SPIR@L,” says Summers. “We can grab a little bit lower on the curve. If you have a heavy overprint in your three-quarter tones, sometimes it gets a little brown, muddy, and sludgy. We do not have that anymore. Our mid tones are cleaner, and it is a smoother overall print.”
SPIR@L screening delivers crystal clear image rendering in the finest detail and brightest colors. Using less ink produces tighter colors, details, and consistency, all while having greater control of the press. The SPIR@L technology places a modified minimum ink dot created in a spiral shape. The solution’s smooth transition from positive to negative spirals and minimum white gap results in a high-quality image in vibrant colors. SPIR@L can be set up according to the manufacturer’s preferences: different curves and groove area thicknesses can be selected depending on the press and paper used to achieve high-quality print at the lowest possible cost.
Improvements in quality and consistency
Allegheny’s mantra is: If you can measure it, you can control it. If you can control it, you can reproduce it consistently. The combination of PressTune and SPIR@L has improved quality and consistency while reducing Allegheny’s manufacturing costs.
What is more, Gamble sees a culture shift positively impacting business. “Our pressmen are more confident in their work. They have all the tools they need with PressTune and SPIR@L. The data is very easily accessible on screen. They do not have to use a densitometer or a spectrophotometer to hit little patches on their sheet to read dot gain. PressTune does the math. The score is there; they can see their dot gain while printing. Before, they had to stop the press. We are saving in make-ready and downtime between jobs.”
Allegheny Printed Plastics is dedicated to manufacturing excellence and passionate about delivering high quality and value to its customers. ECO3’s PressTune and SPIR@L are the latest technologies that are helping to keep this leading card personalization solutions manufacturer at the top of the charts.
Take total control with ECO3's comprehensive PressTune print standardization tool. Benefit from more accurate, consistent colors, faster make-ready times, lower ink consumption and smoother approvals.Discover
This new screening technology replaces the traditional ink dot with more efficient shapes such as spirals. This has a positive impact on print quality and results in a crystal-clear image every time without effort.Discover