By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Major brands as well as customers now require the use of eco-friendly printing practices. This includes the printer platform, consumables, ink, finishing, and the print provider’s personal waste management initiatives.
Environmental sustainability is particularly important in food packaging where harmful substances and chemicals not only impact the environment, but also a consumer’s health. To keep food packaging safe and eco-friendly, print providers implement clean manufacturing techniques and digitally track employee training.
Established in 2002, Kala is a label and packaging solutions provider based in Orem, UT. With 70 employees and an international outreach, the business began by purchasing an HP Indigo digital press in North America for label printing.
After ten years of perfecting the digital printing model, Kala turned its attention to engineering a flexible packaging finishing process that leverages rapid turnaround. In 2015, it officially started offering flexible packaging and quickly specialized in food safety.
Today, Kala offers a variety of digitally printed output, including labels, flexible packaging such as bar wraps, stick pack, converted three-side sales bags, and standup pouches. But what really sets the print provider apart from the competition is its dedication to environmental sustainability.
“Outside of our own desire to be good stewards of the planet, offering sustainable solutions is key to growing our business because our customers look to us to provide an earth-friendly platform,” shares Nikki Johnson, EVP, revenue, Kala.
Kala operates HP Indigo presses, offering a carbon neutral printing platform that produces digitally printed labels and packaging. The presses—including the Indigo WS6600, WS6800, 6900, and 20000—help the print provider manage waste.
“With our digital printing platform there is very little setup, which renders us a very low scrap rate,” shares Johnson. In fact, Kala runs an average scrap rate of two percent compared to the industry standard of six to ten percent.
Its digital printing platform allows brands to order what they need when they need it—reducing wasted labels and packaging. Additionally, no polymer plates are required for each job like in conventional printing, reducing energy and materials. There are also no changeovers, which saves substantial energy and contributes to its low scrap rate.
“We have always been an HP Indigo print shop. As such, we have much expertise in the technology, which provides greater efficiencies and less waste,” adds Johnson.
Food Safe Packaging
Kala is a leader in food safe packaging, not only due to its exceptional digital printing capabilities and expertise but also due to its “green” initiatives. The company has worked with some of the world’s most progressive brands including doTERRA, Coca-Cola, Kirkland Signature, and Litehouse.
Several factors make Kala a leader in food safe packaging including a custom designed trace and track program for quick recall and resolution, a fully digital non-conformance system, digitally tracked employee training programs make the staff at Kala responsible for producing safely printed packaging, clean manufacturing with isolated production lines for food packaging, and operating in a the Global Food Safety Initiative compliant facility certified by IFS PacSecure at a high level—ensuring the highest goods manufacturing process protocol.
“The benefits of being a print provider focused on sustainability are first and foremost peace of mind that we are doing our part to protect the environment,” shares Johnson.
Additionally, Kala uses electron beam overprint varnish and lamination technology that utilizes no harmful cancer-causing photoinitiates like traditional finishing methods. Electron beam finishing sterilizes the full flexible packaging web removing potentially contaminating microbes.
It also offers instant conversion of flexible packaging. This means the finished material can be slit and shipped immediately, cutting two to four days of curing time otherwise required for non-beam and solvent-less lamination processes.
According to Johnson, in addition to providing safer packaging, electron beam finishing reduces costs. Electron beam varnish does not require photoinitiates as opposed to more expensive UV varnish, resulting in lowering overall packaging costs.
Compared to solvent-less lamination, electron beam finishing reduces overall waste and goes hand-in-hand with just-in-time manufacturing. This allows brands to order what they need as they need it—reducing waste from obsolete labels and packaging. Further, no volatile organic compounds are used in this process, he adds.
Environmental Sustainability Matters
Concern for the environment and public health drives the demand for eco-friendly printing initiatives. With an eco-friendly digital printing platform and safe manufacturing practices, Kala is one print provider that puts environmental sustainability at the forefront of its business.
Nov2019, DPS Magazine