Sunwest Print Improves Production, Worker Safety and the Environment with Water-Wash Plates

Lessening their impact on the environment and improving worker safety is a priority for progressive companies like Sunwest Print Corporation, but seldom do these objectives coincide with increased productivity.

Sunwest Print Corporation is a vertically integrated pressure-sensitive label and tag manufacturer with multiple locations throughout Western Canada and the Western United States. The company has experienced significant growth since its formation in 2011 – in part as a result of exclusive technology required to manufacture raw paper stock that is silicone treated and adhesive coated.

Sunwest serves the grocery, dairy and co-packer sectors, plus lumber, petro chemical and automotive industries. The company uses solvent-wash photopolymer plates for tag and label printing, but has always been troubled about the safety and environmental issues of chemical plate processing.

“We considered switching to water-wash flexo plates for a number of years,” said Brandi Taché, Graphics/Prepress Manager for Sunwest. But changing production and adopting new technologies always comes with some degree of risk. Brandi advised, “In the past, whenever there was a production change and a new vendor was used, we had very limited success, which was very stressful.”

So Sunwest continued to process solvent-wash plates. But improving worker safety and lessening the company’s impact on the environment became a high priority for Sunwest. The company evaluated prepress suppliers and equipment, and considered buying new as well as used water-wash plate processing equipment.

A&V learned of Sunwest’s desire to transition to water-wash plates and jumped at the chance to be of service. “I have worked with Sean for many years and, after reviewing alternative vendors and products, decided to purchase equipment and materials from Anderson & Vreeland,” said

Sunwest purchased an Orbital X system to process Cosmolight water-wash plates up to 25” x 30”, along with a Whirl-A-Way polymer removal system. Installation required one day for setup. The next day Sunwest was burning plates and running them on press. “The installation process was totally seamless and there was no disruption in our production,” Brandi noted.

Kevin Schilling, Martin Schofield and Jessica Harrell from A&V were involved in the installation with Kevin and Martin on-site at Sunwest. “They were absolutely amazing and answered every question, no matter how small, to make sure we were comfortable processing water-wash plates. They went through everything with a fine-tooth comb, repeatedly, and even supplied me with their cell phone numbers. I was so happy with their service,” said Brandi.

In addition to improving worker safety and environmental benefits, Sunwest significantly improved the efficiency of the platemaking department by reducing the time required to produce plates. Cosmolight water-wash plates can be produced within an hour, compared to solvent-wash plates that can take 4 hours or longer to dry. This is a huge benefit for Sunwest.

It is not unusual for a plate to get damaged on press – so a new plate is required as soon as possible. Nothing is worse than having a press down waiting for a new plate to be produced. To remain productive, printers have to have to switch jobs, clean the press and transition to the new job to minimize press downtime.

Processing water-wash plates allows Sunwest to buy soaps and related accessories from local vendors, which is a benefit as the company prefers supporting their local economy,

“Our transition to water-wash plates and working with Anderson & Vreeland has been a great experience. A&V makes you feel like they are part of your team – part of Sunwest. I can call A&V just like they were in my own office. That’s the difference between A&V and other vendors I’ve dealt with,” said Brandi.

We have had the pleasure of working with Brandi for many years and take pride in our work relationship. We would like to thank Brandi and Sunwest Print Corporation for placing their business and trust in Anderson & Vreeland.


Related Read: Let the Magic Happen with Photopolymer Plates