What's going on at PCI

PCI is Attending!


PCI will be attending the following events:

March 31-April 2, 2020 CinemaCon, Las Vegas NV
April 20-22 2020 North Central NATO Convention, West Des Moines, IA
April 27-29 2020 Tri-State Theatre Convention, Tunica, MS
May 2020 Theater Owners of New England, Foxboro, MA
May 13-14, 2020, Mid-Atlantic NATO Convention, Hanover, MD
July 27-31, 2020 Annual Concession & Hospitality Expo (NAC), Orlando, FL
August 2020 Show South, Braselton, GA
August 2020 Cine Show, Dallas, TX
September 1-3, 2020 Rocky Mountain Theatre Convention, Whitefish, MT
September 2020 Geneva Convention, Lake Geneva, WI
October 2020 ShowEast Convention, Miami, FL

We look forward to seeing you.




CinemaCon is the most prestigious and longest running event exclusively for the cinema exhibition and distribution community. In this competitive landscape for market-share, theatre owners and operators need to know about the latest products and services, the newest technologies, industry happenings and upcoming films. That's why, every year, over 5,000 motion picture industry professionals make CinemaCon their "must-attend" event.


Be the Change You Want to See


'Be the change you want to see': Packaging Concepts makes commitment to lessen its footprint

By Anita Watts
FJI Concessions Editor

Last year I reported on the green movement making its way into the theatre industry and highlighted some concession companies that were changing their business practices to be more environmentally conscious and friendly. The movement continues to gain ground. One company that has made the choice to reduce its impact on the environment is Packaging Concepts Inc. (PCI).

PCI manufactures and distributes concession containers including popcorn bags and trays. A few years ago some of PCI?s customers, such as Disney, Universal and AMC, began asking, ?What are you doing to go green?? PCI had already started researching new products and materials and realized that the interest in changing their product line was both internal and external.

Brothers John and Tony Irace, owners of PCI, made the decision to change their products and revamp their entire operation at the same time. Both with their vendors and their internal operations, they decided to ?make a concerted effort to conserve energy and leave a smaller footprint,? says John.

PCI signed an agreement with Wausau Paper Company to develop and market their EcoSelect paper line to their customers, released to the theatre market in mid-2008. The product line is 100% biodegradable, with water-based inks on natural unbleached paper, Green Seal-approved. The popcorn bags use much less material than tubs and they are leak-proof at the same time. It?s also economically good for the theatre as well; because the EcoSelect products biodegrade, they produce less waste?which saves on waste management.

PCI already has many customers using this product line, including Carmike Cinemas, Malco Theatres, Metropolitan Theatres, Gold Medal Products and Vistar. Canada?s Cineplex Entertainment is using their recycled carry-out trays. PCI is committed to helping their clients advertise the qualities of this product line to the consumer with point-of-sale material. This allows the exhibitor to show the consumer its own level of commitment to corporate responsibility. You think the consumer doesn?t care? Think again. It?s all about change. The generation coming behind us believes in reducing our footprint, even if ours hasn?t fully embraced it. This generation comes to the movie theatre.

?From a theatre viewpoint, it?s the right thing to do,? declares PCI?s Martin Olesen. ?It?s a good product and gives the theatre a good image from the consumer?s perspective. Both PCI and its customers are trying to make a difference now and start with what we can do as an economic entity.?

This is the key. When we look at everything that can be done and needs to be done, it can be overwhelming. But if we just start with what we as individuals or companies can do to make a difference, it?s a significant improvement.

PCI has made the full commitment. They recycle everything possible, they are converting to eco-sensitive product lines, they have converted all lighting in their four-year-old facility to energy-conserving lighting, and they are investigating and converting other sources of energy to conservative alternatives where possible. PCI has joined forces with Ameren UE?s Pure Power program to reduce its carbon footprint by keeping 796,608 pounds of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere each year. This is equal to the CO2 reduction equivalent of protecting 82 acres of forest storing carbon for one year, or taking 78 cars off the road for one year.

Pure Power is sourced largely from Missouri's first commercial wind farm, Blue Grass Ridge, which is located in King City, Missouri. PCI purchases Green-e certified? renewable energy certificates from this facility and other Missouri wind farms. By retiring the renewable energy certificates on behalf of PCI, and having them Green-e Certified?, Ameren UE insures that the environmental benefits of the renewable energy production accrue to PCI.
PCI is leading the way for others to follow by demonstrating its commitment to the community and to environmental sustainability. Increasing the demand for renewable energy is an easy way to continue to support sustainable business practices, stimulate a growing part of the economy, and help the country increase energy independence. John Irace is determined that ?we will spend the money and effort to change and be better corporate citizens to future generations and to ourselves today.?

My children?s elementary school motto this year is ?Be the Change You Want to See in the World.? The students learn to apply this in every aspect of their school life, from recycling and reduced energy use to charity and character. It sounds easy, but in practice it takes work. The green movement can get a bad rap sometimes for having little effect against a mountain of bad habits. People and companies have to make their own decisions about when and where they can alter their behavior. PCI made the decision to embrace change throughout their business and make a difference today.


The Complete Package


Pulling the Trigger
Packaging Concepts Implements CTP, FIRST.

FLEXO? Magazine | Feature Articles
This article appeared in the May, 2008 Issue

By Christian R. Bonawandt

The moment was right. Homework had been done and research conducted. All were on board; it was time to make the move.

Packaging Concepts Inc., a St. Louis, MO-based flexible packaging printer/converter catering to specialty and concession packaging, was ready for change. This FTA member had decided it was ready to start in-house digital computer-to-plate (CTP)platemaking. At the same time, the firm went a step further and embraced FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances) guidelines.

Digital Experience
The 100-percent flexo print shop was founded in 1972 by Joseph F. Irace. Under the leadership of his sons, John and Tony, Packaging Concepts has been making plates in-house since 1985. Adam Irace, grandson to the founder, said that the firm took its first foray into CTP in Oct. 2003.

"At the time, we had a demanding customer in the theater industry asking for a difficult job," he explained. "We called in all of our suppliers and they insisted we could accomplish this with digital plates. We started doing a job digitally here and there, and before you knew it, we were doing 100 or so that way each year."

But all of the digital platemaking was outsourced. In-house jobs were still done analogue. "We had a long history of making plates. From 2003 to 2006, we were picking only those jobs that were the most challenging to be done digitally, including all the Lord of the Rings products, and those that had screens, vignettes and process work on small images."

Eventually, Irace stated, Packaging Concepts was doing so many jobs digitally, that it had to consider bringing the technology in-house. With costs of devices coming down, it seemed like the time just might be right. So, in early 2006, Irace and his team went to their plate supplier, as well as four other manufacturers, and began testing. "We brought in dozens of jobs and trials to test plate longevity and quality. The decision came down to quality, support, and price."

"They knew that a system was a system," recalled Randy Reynolds, regional sales manager at Anderson and Vreeland, which worked with Kodak and Flint Group to help Packaging Concepts in the conversion process. "What they needed was a supplier that was going to help them through the learning curves."

"Anderson and Vreeland came in during the trial phase," said Irace. "We told them the changeover had to be seamless. We have to able to run existing separations on the new material because it isn't feasible to re-separate hundreds of jobs. So, they came in and provided us with plate material that ran on the same curves and with minimal adjustments on viscosity."

In addition, Reynolds and the team from A&V helped establish a process that Irace called PQA, or plate quality assurance. "This allows us to measure the mask, the finished plate dot, etc. to make sure we are holding the dot true. Target blocks are placed on the plate that can be cut off and measured for the finished dot. If we see drift in the platemaking process, then we identify the issue and correct it. So far, we haven't had any issues."

Irace admitted that the company still does some analogue platemaking. "We have a lot of designs that are repeat orders. So if there is no benefit to converting the job to digital, it stays analogue," he said. "But even a simple line job, if it's running three across, it might save us time to burn it digitally. All of our new separations are digital, we are phasing out analogue. In fact, it's happening a lot faster than we thought it would because of the time we save in the prepress workflow.

Without having to follow the analogue process, Irace estimated the CTP system is saving as much as 20 percent in prepress time. "It also standardizes our plate material in house, as opposed to having to store film material," he added. "So it allows us to carry less inventory."

Who's On FIRST
Around the same time, Packaging Concepts committed to implementing FTA's FIRST specs into its total production workflow. Irace noted that the firm has always followed FIRST in its prepress workflow, but was now seeking to measure and control the full process using these guidelines.

Joe Tuccitto, currently FTA education director, who previously worked with A&V, helped Packaging Concepts in both the integration of digital platemaking as well as the integration of FIRST. "Everything that these guys were looking to implement aligned with the writings of FIRST," he said. "In addition to getting to a level of compliancy with color and so forth, they were able to put into practice a serious amount of measurement and control of all the areas in between."

"A&V helped us find the color space for each press," said Irace. "We identified the best printable minimum dot, adjusted the mid-tones, and checked the color saturation. With this we created a set of profile plates, ran them on press, and supplied web samples to Prepress for analysis."

In essence, the company identified all the points at which it could produce consistent and repeatable results. "On the print side, we have our densities and dot gains setup to measure," said Irace. "We are working to standardize our anilox selection and adjusting the inks to be as close as possible to the FIRST specs. It's basically identified for us what we need to be measuring and looking at, but we've placed our own numbers in those boxes."

Now, with the new guidelines established, Irace asserted that troublesome print jobs are a lot less troublesome. "There are many variables in the flexo process, chemistry of inks, plates, mountings tapes, etc. You change one of those and you change the outcome of the job. In the past, we would adjust the on press variables to match the proof. But when you do that, you're constantly chasing your tail. And each time you replace an anilox or plate cylinder, your waste numbers are going up. Being able to put everything in and know what it's going to do is invaluable. What's happening now is that we are controlling the process. It makes so much more sense. It comes down to trusting the numbers and seeing the results."

"Now they have much more consistency and control over their process," confirmed Reynolds.

Irace claimed his suppliers were both supportive and helpful when it came to implementing FIRST. "In fact, we have teamed with our ink supplier to reduce press-side color matching through new equipment and procedures. If successful, we will see more press up-time and improved color matches. With luck, we should be eliminating press-side color matching for spots and PMS colors."

Keep an Eye Out
Packaging Concept's decision to bring in digital platemaking was based on careful observation of the technology, the cost of investment, and the benefits seen from trials. The company keeps a constant eye on trends in the flexographic printing/converting industry. "We watch technology develop and follow it the best we can," said Irace. "Keeping a close relationship with our suppliers allows us to do this."

Patience is key factor. Irace insisted that Packaging Concepts doesn't have to be the first to market with a new technology; it's more important to ensure that it will reap the return on investment, and that it works the way it's supposed to. "We don't just look for the product," he added. "We look for support too. Our suppliers are important to us, and we rely on them for training, be it inks, plates, anilox, mounting tapes, etc."

Copyright ?1996-2008 Flexographic Technical Association. All rights reserved.


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