J.L. Clark calls metal sales audible
Specialty packaging manufacturer presents custom, highly decorative containers in bid for
more customers by using an INX Digital printer
San Leandro, CA – November 17, 2009 — The new business prospect welcomes you into
the conference room to review your capabilities, expecting the usual company overview,
case studies and the typical sales-pitch conversation. When the subject involves metal
decorating and the production of a high decoration metal container, a few colorful examples
produced for other clients and some drawings or a cardboard prototype may be part
of the show. But that’s changed for J.L. Clark since the Rockford, Illinois specialty packaging
manufacturer began using an INX Digital MD660 UV flatbed printer in mid-2009.
"Rather than show them a generic can that means nothing, we hand them an actual metal
container with their own custom decoration on it,” said Gordon VerWeyst, J.L. Clark’s Director
of Engineering & Metal Product Development. Usually it’s several real metal prototypes
and sometimes it might be as many as a dozen or more. Recalling a recent successful
presentation, VerWeyst said the client, “had no idea it was coming."
"The impact of giving a customer a virtually finished product up-front that they never
thought they’d see, is pretty impressive,” remarked Art Supervisor Owen Johnson, who
said this is now standard operating procedure. Johnson said they anticipate generating
greater revenue with a much better process. “We know that prototypes can be effective.
But we used to do it on a much smaller scale and not at the quality level we can now."
From prototypes to production: opening the door to more business
For J.L. Clark, the new MD660 digital UV printer makes more business possible on a
variety of different levels. In addition to producing ‘presentation’ or ‘proof’ cans in minutes,
they now give customers access to all the benefits of highly decorative metal containers
and metal promotional items but at much lower volumes never before considered
economically viable. The company can offer custom metal posters, containers and more
on coated or uncoated steel or aluminum at speeds up to 120’ per minute. Engineered
by INX Digital systems integration specialists and produced in Huntsville, Alabama, the
MD660 uses highly reliable Toshiba TEC CE4 inkjet printheads with 636 channels, each
delivering high quality output at resolutions from 300 to more than 1000 dpi, depending
on drop volume.
"This system is ideal for prototyping," Johnson said. "We’ve run about 50 concept jobs
on the MD660 during our first several months, using them as a sales tool for new client
prospects as well as some of our current customers, with the ultimate goal of attaining
high-volume production runs. Along the way we’ve also brought in and produced some
short-run sample jobs on the machine."
J.L. Clark also benefits from the usual digital vs. conventional press time-and-money saving
advantages: "You’re not making plates or setting up a press, and the sheet is basically
UV-cured when it’s running," Johnson said. "We’re doing it on metal and getting fast
turnaround at much less expense."