Bemis saves Time and maintains Brand Consistency with Alwan ColorHub

Bemis saves time and maintains brand consistency with Alwan ColorHub (formally known as CMYK Optimizer).

In short, we’re now achieving just what we wanted — consistency of brand and a common appearance across all of the packages we print for a customer”.

The flexographic print process commonly used for packaging can sometimes demonstrate a lot of variability within a single print run. How can a packaging printer leverage the latest technologies to send optimized color separations to the press and minimize this variability?

Using photo prepress/imaging software like Adobe Photoshop and working with GCR is one route. But this still leaves room for variability from operator to operator, as they don’t all make the same decisions. Color profiling software, the proper use of color management, monitor proofing and other digital imaging techniques also help – but they take time and can’t always insure an optimal level of consistency.

Bemis Company Inc., a globalsupplier of flexible packaging and pressure sensitive label materials headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, has tried them all. The company, which serves customers worldwide and produces packaging for products found in virtually every aisle of the grocery store, was a pioneer in the digital flexo world in the late 1990s and tackled the issue of predicting color from file to plate to press as an early adopter of closed loop digital proofing and color management software. But the optimal solution remained elusive. Until recently.

“Our local graphic supplier, La Crosse Litho, recommended Alwan ColorHub (CMYK Optimizer) to us in the summer of 2007. We buy a lot of our consumables from them and they were aware of our various attempts at working with GCR and more. They knew we wanted to send optimized separations to press so there would be the least variation in the pressroom possible.”

Matt Elliott, General Manager at Bemis Graphics

“We had been doing color conversions in Photoshop and used ProfileMaker for handling spot color. But we didn’t have a hot folder system, scripting or any automation. We were doing everything at the workshop, manually, each techie making a unique decision. ”

Michael Meyer, Graphics Technology Manager at Bemis

Meyer says that Bemis had been asking its suppliers for a better, more automated process for a long time – to no avail…and then, he says, “all of a sudden there it was, something that answered all of our needs. Alwan.

It wasn’t long after we started using Alwan ColorHub (CMYK Optimizer) that we started seeing real advantages.” Alwan ColorHub (Color ) brought the automation Bemis was looking for. Alwan also handles color correction and GCR manipulation, and helps maintain the purity of primary colors when it does color conversions.

“Installation and training was pretty easy. We spent about a half a day with La Crosse, and then just took off and ran with it. “We found Alwan very easy to use,” Meyer says, adding that the software’s wide variety of settings allows Bemis to easily figure out what will be best for the workflow. “We looked at the conversions on screen, our color guys knew what they were looking for in terms of verifying settings, and then we just turned it loose.”


Meyer says that the software has helped Bemis develop consistency in how it does color separations. No longer do they go to press with passes at the same image done by different operators, all of whom are making different decisions.

He adds, “When it comes to making color separations, with Alwan we have cut our color manipulation time in half. In addition, with the software’s reporting features, we can see how something was converted. This traceability allows us to see what decisions were made upstream and how that resulted, and whether anything went astray when it got to the press.”

He adds, “We’re matching colors and achieving consistency to a degree that they haven’t seen before. This is a result of our ability to consistently optimize files and automate the process with Alwan ColorHub (CMYK Optimizer). Customers don’t have to come to press runs anymore.”