Sonoco Trident produces 10 million square inches of flexographic plates a year, with numerous step-and-repeat functions. The task used to be labor intensive and time consuming until the company turned to Significans Automation. With its leading-edge custom workflow solutions, Significans enabled the pre-media giant to reutilize its step-and-repeat work force by 40% and simultaneously drastically increase production speeds by 80%.
Sonoco Trident, a global, multi-location pre-media packaging company for consumer goods, serves a wide array of clients in segments that include retail, beauty, grooming, food, lawn and garden, pharma, and nutrition. The company has a hand in creating most of the products consumers see on store shelves every day. In addition to brand-management and design services, Trident’s other key function is to produce flexo plates for packaging applications on behalf of its globally renown roster of clients.
At the time that Trident called in Mircea Petrescu, CTO of Significans Automation, the company was producing almost 70,000 sq. ft. of flexo plates per year, using 5 employees.
“We had multiple people at multiple locations that were doing step-and-repeat processes depending on the marks printers were looking for,” said Joseph Kohler, Managing Director for the Americas at Trident.
Petrescu and his team spent 3 weeks with Trident at its Charlotte, North Carolina, location, learning and assessing the company’s processes, challenges and objectives. Working from Esko Automation Engine and Esko Suite, Petrescu was able to engineer streamlined processes and create new software scripts that fully automated the step-and-repeat functions and the entire platemaking process from end to end.
The result: Lower head count, faster speed of delivery, higher quality and increased capacity. The step-and-repeat head count at Trident declined to 3 employees from 5, while step-andrepeat processes were accomplished in 10 to 25 minutes, a steep reduction from the original 30 minutes to 2 hours it had previously taken. Quality control is now an automated step, no l onger done manually, thereby reducing thelikelihood of human error.
“Mircea and his team are able to do something that just does not exist in the marketplace. He can take complex processes and translate them in a way that can be automated. He is the only one I’ve seen who is able to do this in my 30-year career,” said Kohler.
“Mircea provides a true automated workflow from end to end, not just components of the process.”
Sonoco Trident is a subsidiary of Sonoco Products, a leading U.S.-based global packaging company with sales of US$5 billion. Trident, founded in 1993, operates from 11 locations with 600 employees. It provides pre-media services, such as brand management, artwork creation and related services, prepress and platemaking for dozens of the world’s leading brands in many consumer categories.