ILS Continues to Reap the Benefits of Digital Technology
Flexible Packaging recently caught up with Jay Dollries, CEO of Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS), a company that has a total of six digital presses ranging from narrow web to wide web at its Hamilton, Ohio, facility. Dollries took some time to talk about what digital printing has done for his printing company.
Q: Can you provide a brief historyof ILS and when it got involved in digital printing?
A: We started in 1996 – all conventional work. In 2005, we bought our first Indigo 4050 press. We installed a second one about nine months later. We really felt like the technology had the opportunity to really change our business and put us outside of the commodity market, where we felt like we were on the conventional side of the business. (We then) bought a 6000 series, which allowed us to get into a lot of applications. We stuck our toes into folding carton, flex pack, just all kinds of different applications because the platform was very versatile in allowing us to run all kinds of different materials. It gave us an opportunity to test different applications. What can we do? What can’t we do? What’s interesting? Where do we have the most impact on brands?
Q: What’s been your latest digital press purchase and how has that impacted your business?
A: We have two Indigo 20000s. The first one we got in March 2014. We got our second one in February of this year. When you go from narrow web to wide web, and you have the wide web press down for any kind of a service issue, you couldn’t deliver. So we knew we had to have some ability to have backup. We can’t live without being able to deliver product, so bringing the second one in allowed us to make sure we had the capacity. Since we brought the second one in, we’ve seen extreme growth. Our sales force has less reservation about being able to deliver. It allowed us to really expand the flexible packaging side of the business. On the 20000, we’re still running shrink, we’re running labels and we’re running flex pack, so we’re able to do all of those things on the same platform.
Q: What’s the most common thing ILS prints on?
A: Standup pouches. We don’t do anything that requires retort at this point. Mostly we’ve been concentrating in areas where the applications make the most sense for the types of materials we’ve pre-approved. We go through a pretty thorough process of making sure that the materials fit the demand of product that’s going in the package and our technical guys are doing a good job of making sure we stay within the parameters of the areas where it makes the most sense.
Q: Is digital the only type of printing ILS currently performs?
A: No, we do still do analog, but 75 percent of our revenue is generated digitally at this point. As of 2005, we were 100 percent analog. It’s been a major shift.
Q: Are there any notable projects ILS has completed that you’d care to discuss?
A: I can’t be specific, but there are a number of large brands that are working on projects to bring to market things that couldn’t have been done on analog and wouldn’t have even been attempted prior to the technology. Similar to the Share a Coke campaign, I think that kind of brought to life that there’s a different way to do things other than just trying to cut costs with brands. I know especially in the flex pack market, digital print is still relatively unknown. The creativity of the marketing folks to utilize what it is possible to do is what really dramatically changes markets. We’re seeing much more of those types of applications.
Innovative Labeling Solutions