SOMA (www.soma-eng.com), producer of flexographic printing presses, plate setters, laminators and slitters, is pleased to announce that Baltimore-based Vac Pac (vacpacinc.com) has invested in a 59-inch Optima eight-color SOMA2 flexo press. With the Optima2 press, they purchased a SOMA S-Mount automated plate mounter.
Founded in 1928 as Duradene, a cosmetics manufacturer, Vac Pac Inc. today has grown into a multi-generational family business focused on packaging. The company’s 30 employees design, print and manufacture bags and pouches for bakery, poultry, meat, seafood and industrial applications. The company specializes in high temperature cooking packaging for oven and microwave cooking as well as high barrier shrink bags. Vac Pac is a long-time leader and innovator in high temperature packaging, holding bag design patents since 1968. Vac Pac exports finished products worldwide through partnerships in South America, in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and has prospects in other European countries. countries and Asia.
“In the barrier shrink bag industry, there are about five companies that are heavily involved in the market,” notes Matt Tary, president of Vac Pac. “Three of our competitors are billion dollar companies. This means that Vac Pac must work harder to execute a successful business plan and earn the respect of our customers.
Vac Pac currently has two flexo presses, a 6 color and a 10 color, but is replacing its existing 6 color press with the SOMA Optima2. Their challenge was that as a small business they had to modernize and push the boundaries of their work to get new business. They expect the quality of the SOMA Optima2 the press will allow them to do so.
“Our business is very different from most small processors. Many of them specialize in one type of work. We get involved in a number of very specialized niches, changing materials very often from job to job, from heat shrink tubing to polythene sheets to PET materials for oven roasting. We looked for versatile equipment. SOMA Optima2 was the first flexo press with real potential to offer flexibility and execute all our demands well,” says Tary. “For example, although we produce very good print quality jobs, our limitation is that we currently only print on one side. SOMA can provide its Optima2 press with a rotation bar, which will allow us to print both the front and the back in a single pass, in register. We will now be able to be much more aggressive in the market with this bilateral capability that our customers are looking for.
Vac Pac was very interested in how the other SOMA Optima2 press functions could increase their capabilities. This included fast speeds and quick changeovers, which took much longer with existing Vac Pac presses. “Like any printer, we wanted faster changeovers and less scrap. The tube material is expensive. With the use of the SOMA S-Mount automatic mounter, there will be very little waste in the setup. Automatically reading registration and print settings from the press will save a lot of time,” says Tary. “The failover wizard is also very intriguing. We have the same problem as everyone: hiring qualified flexo printers. Being able to take untrained people and put them into service quickly is the future.
There are many similarities between SOMA and Vac Pac. “We are both family owned and operated. So, as the grandson of the person who turned Vac Pac into packaging, I felt connected to Pavla and Jan, whose father founded SOMA,” adds Tary. “We have already been very impressed with our technical advice and have been very comfortable with the buying experience. The Czech mentality is to build your equipment like a tank, but with intelligence. We are learning that.
“Matt told us SOMA worked with him on the relationship as well as the product,” recalls Garrett Taylor, SOMA Sales Manager, US and Canada. “Finding the right business partner was just as important to Matt as being able to invest in a productive and customizable flexo press. SOMA always makes sure that we solve solutions and are not just a producer of “boxed” presses.
SOMA Optima2 is three times faster than existing Vac Pac presses. The press will no longer be the bottleneck of Vac Pac’s business. This will help them grow and win new business. “We’ve been a small company for a long time, perhaps helped by my grandfather’s passion for sailing Friday to Sunday, every week,” notes Tary. “I don’t have a boat yet, so you have to grow! We intend to push with the press with even more materials and capabilities, and I’m confident that SOMA will stand with us every step of the way.