Las Piedras, Puerto Rico-based Collazo Group is transforming its business, adding the capabilities of the EFI™ Nozomi C18000 Plus ultra-high-speed, direct-to-board corrugated packaging printer to make a significant impact in its local market. The company is the first Caribbean packaging converter to adopt single-pass inkjet technology, giving Collazo Group an important competitive advantage in addressing longstanding market gaps for high graphics corrugated work.
Founded 30 years ago, Collazo Group began as a commercial print business. The company has also added wide-format digital print, with an in-house design department for creative POP displays, and entered the packaging market with the acquisition of a flexographic printing company. Corrugated packaging has become a significant growth area, which the company supported by the installation of a doublewall corrugator and, most recently, its new four-color Nozomi UV LED inkjet printer.
Better turnaround and lower costs
By printing high-quality packaging and displays on the Nozomi C18000 Plus printer, Collazo Group Owner, Christian Collazo, anticipates being able to replace nearly all his company’s litho lamination work with more-efficient digital production.
“Just a couple of years ago, we had three litho presses,” said Collazo. “We sold them and began outsourcing the lithography we needed for packaging. We expect that the Nozomi will enable us to bring 90% of those outsourced jobs back in house. In fact, we believe the Nozomi C18000 Plus will allow us to double our capacity for high graphics work compared to what we have been producing with litho lamination. Plus, we can provide a better price and faster turn time for our customers by printing directly on the board.”
The Nozomi printer creates opportunities for businesses on the island that buy flexo printing as well. Puerto Rico has little in the way of full-color flexo printing capacity. That is a barrier for local flexo packaging buyers, businesses that can not drive greater marketing appeal with high graphics designs because of litho lamination’s added cost, time and quantity requirements. Now with Collazo Group, those companies have a better, digital high graphics option that is more cost-effective than litho lamination at the quantities they need.
Collazo Group uses whitetop liner for much of its work and found that the Nozomi C18000 Plus delivered high quality aqueous inkjet print quality. “Had we chosen a solution with water-based inks, we would have been more limited,” according to Collazo. “We would not have the quality we need to migrate our display work to digital.”
Driving sustainability with more value to customers
For Collazo Group customers, there are additional advantages to this introduction of the single-pass inkjet technology. Given that most of Collazo Group’s work is produced for customers within Puerto Rico, the economics of analog flexo and litho lamination can require costly minimum order quantities above those customers’ actual needs. Waste is an especially big challenge, with analog make-readies accounting for a significant percentage of an average medium-run job.
On top of that, analog corrugated converting has required importing and storing larger quantities of single-face corrugated rolls. This inevitably leads to high rates of spoilage in Puerto Rico’s humid climate with anything stored for too long. “The more-sustainable, lower-inventory EFI Nozomi production line will be another cost savings for our customers,” said Collazo, “since we will no longer have to account for all that waste in our pricing.”
Collazo Group is retaining its litho lamination equipment for the occasional 100,000-plus quantity jobs it produces. That said, company executives expect some larger-quantity jobs will migrate to digital once clients and prospects see the versioning advantages the new printer creates.
“Because it is a digital printing process and we are largely producing on demand, our customers can easily change their artwork based on seasonality, promotions and more,” Collazo explained. “This is a huge selling point that no one else on the island can accommodate the way we can. When I explain this capability to new prospects, I almost always get a meeting with them.”
“We are excited to be able to work with Collazo Group to bring these new capabilities to Puerto Rico,” said Evandro Matteucci, Vice President – Packaging and Building Materials, EFI Inkjet. “Even before this month’s installation, the company has work lined up for its Nozomi C18000 Plus printer, so we expect volumes to grow quickly. Collazo Group can be a leading example of what the corrugated converting industry gains in the transition to a more-efficient, more sustainable, premium-quality, and proven single-pass inkjet solution.”