Vintage 99 Label, (V99) located in Livermore, CA, USA, has upgraded its entire print inspection and quality control systems. The company put TubeScan 100% inspection systems and PowerScope viewing systems from BST North America on every press, and TubeScan 100% inspection on its rewinder.
Vintage 99 then linked every machine and the quality control department with the TubeScan WorkFlow package. The impact on productivity and quality of this six-figure investment, according to the wine label converter, was “better than expected”. As a direct result of that investment, overall machine use and productivity has increased substantially, downtime and waiting has been eliminated completely, waste has decreased, and running speeds have increased dramatically. In some cases, they doubled.
Job delivery counts are now achieved first time every time, and finished product quality and operator confidence in delivered quality (both on press and on the rewinder) have helped operators run more efficiently.
Vintage 99 Label Mfg. Inc is a medium size label manufacturer that specializes in “technically challenging” wine labels. The company has 28 employees and operates two plants in Livermore and Santa Rosa, CA. In Livermore, Vintage 99 prints flexographically and digitally on three presses – Nilpeter, Mark Andy and HP. It prints and converts on an Omega Digicon, and it finishes on a CEI rewinder. Vintage 99 Label has always strived to streamline processes to improve plant productivity and quality.
Up until last year, Vintage 99 was performing all of its print inspection visually – both on press and on the rewinder. A few years prior, Vintage 99 had purchased a 100% inspection system from another leading manufacturer, and installed it on the CEI rewinder. The experience with that vendor was less than desirable, the company says.
When the other 100% inspection system would not identify the defects Vintage 99 required, the supplier requested additional funds for an upgraded system. According to Bill Bartee, vice president of plant operations, “All it did was catch paper defects. It was so complicated, with 12 parameters and every one of those had a lot of settings.”
Kathleen Gonzales, Vintage 99 president and co-owner, comments, “That system was not what we needed. They just sold us something with no concern for our needs. We were disappointed in the supplier, the equipment and defect detection in general. I was jaded and became a non-believer.”
Then, Bartee received an invitation to a demo of the TubeScan 100% inspection system from BST North America. Tubescan is an economical, 100% inspection system that is available in multiple configurations to fit various customer needs. The system has the ability to detect defects as small as 0.1mm. Besides effective 100% inspection, TubeScan has options for variable data inspection, barcode ANSI/ISO grading, PDF inspection and more. TubeScan systems on presses and rewinders can be integrated with its’ WorkFlow package, allowing for maximum impact on productivity. Over 2,000 TubeScan systems have been installed in over 80 countries.
Bartee was intrigued with the possibilities, but Gonzales wanted assurance the product could perform the difficult inspection tasks required, both accurately and effectively. She states, “I was not going to get caught up in another nightmare, and Mark (her co-owner) was sure another failed system was going to paralyze production.”
So, Gonzales and Bartee requested extensive tests be performed before committing to a new inspection system. After the BST demo, they sent sample rolls to BST for evaluation and testing. In return, they received a complete report back, followed up with a visit to the North American facility specifically to see TubeScan working, and to address questions about the system capabilities and effectiveness. Gonzales was impressed by BST’s operations, she notes. She felt that the company was careful to not oversell the equipment, was sensitive and responsive to Vintage 99’s needs, and open, forthright and honest.
Ultimately, the team at Vintage 99 decided to install new inspection technology from BST on all their presses and their rewinder. They then linked everything, including their quality control department, using the TubeScan WorkFlow.
TubeScan is used on press to provide 100% inspection of defects, register shift,print quality, foil quality, emboss quality, and all the other quality parameters. Meanwhile, the PowerScope is used on press to visually monitor critical print areas during the run. All TubeScan systems have WorkFlow systems that are linked to the rewinder. WorkFlow tracks every defect on every roll and every job. If desired, the press operator can mark areas of the web for removal or review by the quality control manager prior to finishing.
This combination of technology would allow Vintage 99 to effectively identify, and manage, their print quality during production, and would also allow them to remove defective labels during finishing on the rewinder. It would be equally effective on both the flexo and the digital presses.
The economical cost of the TubeScan systems made the investment and the potential payback not only reasonable but attractive. The potential upside to the investment was huge, the company adds. The implementation was done in stages. Phase one included the Nilpeter press, CEI rewinder and WorkFlow. Together, BST and Vintage 99 put together a set of 40 acceptance criteria that had to be met in order to follow through with the complete purchase. Bartee claimed, “BST and the TubeScan passed with flying colors.”
Gonzales had an equally enthusiastic response regarding the impact the systems have had, saying, “I can only speak from a high level, and the TubeScan has given us what we need.”
She notes that BST provided excellent support throughout the entire process and adds, “This was one of the best capital equipment purchases that we have done. It has been a total success. It actually exceeded our expectations.”