By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Automation software is a broad term. The goal is to eliminate manual processes and increase efficiencies for whomever the user is. For packaging manufacturers, software is helpful to enlist at many parts in the creation process. Specifically, in the beginning stages of constructing a package, automated solutions can aid in the design, calculating correct measurements and giving a visual, three-dimensional (3D) proof prior to even printing a prototype.
Shrink Sleeve Manufacturing
Osiopack, based in Anaheim, CA, caters to food, beverage, and pharmaceutical customers. Founded in 1996, it produces shrink sleeves, bar wraps, and stand up pouches. Well-known for its shrink sleeve production, the company designed and developed its own high-speed automated shrink sleeve labeling system.
The manufacturer uses gravure printing technology for all of its packaging. As client demands for shorter deadlines arose and requests for new, innovative types of packaging increased, the company needed a way to shorten turn times while maintaining the high quality it is known for.
With a handle on the physical production side of shrink sleeve production, the team at Osiopack wanted to address inefficiencies on the front end, specifically it looked for a new software that quickly and accurately visualized pre-distortion of packaging.
“Visual communication is a critical element in the process. When you’re working in shrink film almost exclusively, the ability to accurately visualize pre-distorted artwork is essential for identifying any issues,” explains Tony McCash, graphics manager, Osiopack.
To complicate things further, most of the customers in Osiopack’s base do not use standard product shapes. “Every single client has a unique and distinctive bottle shape,” notes McCash.
While McCash already worked with a different visualization software in house, he wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with the product and when it was time to renew the license, looked to other options. The result was the purchase of Creative Edge Software’s iC3D through reseller CGS Publishing Technologies.
The distortion feature ultimately drew him in. He was impressed with the ease of use as well as the speed of the undistorted feature for simulating the effects of distortion caused by the shrink process and enabling correction of the artwork to address behavioral characteristics. When mapping to a shrink surface, the system pre-distorts artwork so it appears normal when the package is constructed. The pre-distorted artwork is exported back to the design program for output and production.
Benefits beyond its initial goal of quickly and accurately visualizing pre-distortion came from iC3D’s Shape Modeller feature and mockup flexibility in the viewing platform Opsis. As a result, the company has impressed customers.
iC3D’s Shape Modeller feature enables any packaging shape—no matter how complex—to be created quickly and easily, and visualized in real time. STL files can be imported, and 3D models can be edited selectively; displacement mapping also makes it straightforward to add distortions to the surface of the model—to create embossing or debossing, for example.
“The advanced 3D shape modeling capabilities of iC3D are a benefit I hadn’t even hoped for. The ability to create custom shapes, and in particular non-cylindrical bottles, has rapidly become an indispensable tool. iC3D also allows for importing many 3D formats, which allowed me to simulate all different sorts of bottles and packages I couldn’t even get close to before,” says McCash.
Opsis is iC3D’s cloud-based viewing platform. Accessed via any web browser on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, simultaneous viewing of a project is possible by multiple parties. According to McCash, Opsis is more than a complement to the realism and technical accuracy of mockups produced. It brings practicality and flexibility to day-to-day operations. He works with Osiopack clients in real time, collectively watching the distortion process as it occurs in 360 degrees.
“Since switching to iC3D, clients are pleased with the quick turnaround times for artwork, but probably the most enthusiastic feedback is in relation to Opsis. The usual response to seeing the distortion in action for the first time is ‘wow, that is so cool’,” admits McCash.
Implementing a new product is always a risk. So when the feature set you purchased exceeds expectations, and additional tools in the solution bring benefits to the business it is real bonus. Osiopack experienced this with the purchase of iC3D from Creative Edge Software.
Sep2020, Industrial Print Magazine