Over the last decade and a half, Uruguayan flexo packaging prepress trade shop Cromograf has reached beyond its Montevideo base to become a model for similar businesses in Latin America.

Cromograf’s embrace of sustainable production is a good example of the company’s pioneering spirit. While the thoughtful, planned use of resources may now be a mantra for all stakeholders in the packaging supply chain, Cromograf already embarked on the path in 2008.

Cromograf CEO Alejandra Acosta Salati can almost pinpoint the precise date.

“In a way, it started the day my father, Miguel Angel Acosta, saw the FLEXCEL NX System. He immediately recognized the potential of a technology that eliminated variables and brought new levels of consistency to the flexo process,” Acosta Salati said.

Cromograf installed the first FLEXCEL NX Mid system in Latin America in 2008, and a few months later began experimenting with Extended Color Gamut (ECG) printing, a process in which - 14 years later – Cromograf is recognized as the technology leader in Latin America and beyond.

ECG is the foundation of Cromograf’s sustainability policy, explains Acosta Salati, because of the savings and efficiencies that are inherent in the basic idea of printing as much as possible using a fixed CMYK ink set.

“ECG uses fewer plates, fewer special inks, and cuts substrate wastage during job set-up. In addition — and this is very important for brand owners — the standard ink set means we can print multiple jobs simultaneously. This makes it easier to meet converters’ minimum order quantities despite ordering smaller volumes, which helps with test-marketing of new packaging ideas,” Acosta Salati said.

The company’s achievements have now been rewarded with a Gold Award in the Miraclon-sponsored Global Flexo Innovation Awards (GFIA), awarded for excellence in Print Production Workflow, Commitment to Sustainable Print, and Creative Use of Graphic Design.

Miraclon is the home of KODAK FLEXCEL Solutions, which have helped transform flexographic printing for more than a decade.

The GFIA judges were impressed by how Cromograf approaches each new packaging project in order to decide how best to apply ECG.

Dr Chip Tonkin, from the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics, observed: “They do a lot of analysis on an incoming job to determine if it needs anything beyond CMYK, and they take extreme measures to do it within CMYK for the vast majority of jobs. For most colors, you can achieve it with CMYK, particularly when you optimize your CMYK.”