There are not many success stories that hold the rich, historic tradition like Tabor City, North Carolina’s Atlantic Packaging. Started 75-plus years ago by Horace Carter as a Pulitzer Prize winning rural newspaper, the multi-generational company has grown into one of the country’s leading packaging businesses. Today, led by third-generation owner Wes Carter, Atlantic employs 900-plus people throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Central America. Its most recent transformations were a $10 million packaging solution center in Charlotte and the 17,300-square-foot addition to its Wilmington location.
Atlantic Packaging’s diversity includes serving the food and beverage vertical, and consumer products segments like automotive, pharmaceutical/medical devices, building products, air filtration and e-commerce. Today, it continues to pace the marketplace by delivering innovative solutions its customers expect, including a vast distribution network capable of delivering products and services quickly and efficiently.
Part of Atlantic’s commitment to excellence is staying current on marketplace innovations. Recently, to upgrade its packaging efficiencies, Atlantic retrofitted both its UV and waterbase presses. Before the retrofit, there was too much heat being generated; the exhaust system was ducting to the outside and the sound level was too high.
To tackle the issue head on, Atlantic installed Fujifilm’s Illumina® LED Retrofit System, which converts traditional UV or waterbase flexo presses to UV-LED curing, typically in a day or less. The curing dosage of Illumina at the 50% power setting being equal to 100% of conventional UV LED systems was a key factor in Atlantic’s decision to partner with Fujifilm.
In July, the Atlantic team converted three stations of a 13-station press that was UV and waterbase and eight stations of a UV press. In August, it converted a UV coating station on another press and all eight stations of a fourth all UV press. During the retrofit, the UV power supplies, exhaust system, and ducting and chilling system were replaced with 38-inch long x 95-inch wide x 35-inch high power and water circulation units. “The simplicity of the install and how smooth it went was great,” says Tim Keegan, Production Manager, Flexo.
Two of the key benefits were the noise and heat reduction. Less noise means more opportunities to listen for mechanical/strange noises. Also, with the chilling systems removed, there’s less heat and footprint in the plant. In addition, the retrofit’s UV-LED curing capabilities has increased productivity and cost benefits, as press speed has increased by 50 FPM vs. UV. Also, the Illumina’s compatibility with Fujifilm’s 300 Series inks was a major plus. Keegan says they’re easy to maintain and print. “Fujifilm inks need less cleanup than waterbase inks. The 300 Series inks with Illumina are extremely user friendly.”
Perhaps the surest signs of the retrofit’s success has been the reaction of Atlantic’s press operators. “They love the unit’s simplicity… being able to increase and decrease power from the touch screen for each station,” Keegan says. “They also like being able to fire up the press and not wait for the lamps to warm up.”