General Converting Leverages Quality and Automation with GlobalVision

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"[With GlobalVision], we can minimize defects, and ensure our customers a quality carton"

-Mike Harper, Pressroom Manager, General Converting

Founded in 1982, General Converting. (GCI) grew from a small, family-owned business to one of Illinois’ leading folding carton manufacturers. What began decades ago with a two-color press, a small die cutter, and a gluer has now grown to a full-service printer composed of over 60 employees, many of whom have been with the company for over a decade. The company currently occupies a 122,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Bolingbrook, IL, and serves a variety of industries ranging from pharmaceutical and consumer goods to automotive packaging.

With candy, confections, and food packaging accounting for roughly 70% of our business, GCI places a big importance on having the latest technology and equipment to meet and exceed their customers’ needs. As management has a strong belief in buying the best materials and technology available, their commitment to quality, and customer retention, remains very high. Their philosophy is to thoroughly understand the needs and requirements of each customer while operating in the most cost-effective way possible.

Production speed creates the potential for errors

Part of what makes General Converting so successful is its ability to meet customer deadlines at rapid speeds. With printing equipment that can produce 18,000 sheets per hour, the printing department at GCI has its hands full when it comes to ensuring high-quality press sheets are being produced. At those speeds, there are several variables that a pressman has to keep an eye on when it comes to quality control.

One issue before implementing GlobalVision was that the press personnel were having difficulty catching errors due to the speed in which sheets were being produced. Some sheets contained up to 60 cartons, making it very difficult for the pressman to manually inspect every carton while simultaneously operating the press. As General Converting can produce up to 150,000 sheets in a standard shift, that level of production meant the company had to look for a better way to control their quality control process. Keeping aligned with their mission to invest in the best technology possible, GCI set out to find quality control software to aid press personnel in detecting errors at rapid speed.

A quality system that goes beyond proofing

GlobalVision was selected as a means of ensuring that General Converting was giving their staff the tools they need to provide customers with the best possible products. The company chose GlobalVision over competing quality control systems due to the fact that it could be used in other departments aside from the pressroom, particularly on the front-end. Their goal was to find a tool that could help press personnel pick up on the small, fine details that can easily be overlooked by the human eye.

With GlobalVision, GCI’s sheets can be quickly inspected to check for smashes, hickeys, and content errors. These are errors that can usually cause the inability to read instructions or ingredients on the packaging, leading to missed defects in the pressroom. In terms of cost, any issues can be caught immediately, avoiding the need for further inspection downstream. GlobalVision has helped eliminate lost time and materials.

“Even though GCI’s procedure is to proofread every job before going to production, [GlobalVision] has resulted in at least 50% time-saved proofreading on the press versus visually inspecting the sheets. The more sheets there are, the more time savings we can observe.”

- Dave Mickiewicz, Sales Manager, General Converting

Along with time and cost savings in prepress and production, General Converting has been able to use GlobalVision as a sales tool. According to Sales Manager, Dave Mickiewicz, the sales team at GCI uses its quality control system as a way to secure customers. From pharmaceuticals to food packaging, having GlobalVision on-site helps put customers at ease and makes them more confident in the supplier they are choosing.

The GlobalVision process

General Converting has been using GlobalVision in its production process for around 2 years. The company recently installed the software in their prepress department with the goal of getting the press personnel to start scanning in sheets as soon as possible to build a library of digital files, making the inspection process even more streamlined.

GlobalVision is first used in the prepress department where the customer file is compared to the prepress ready file. The platform is also used during the prepress stage to ensure that no errors were introduced during prepress revisions. Once the file is approved, it is sent to plate making, and finally into production. The press operator is now ready to print the first article. This printed piece is scanned through the GlobalVision Print Inspection system and compared back to the customer approved file.

Final results

With GlobalVision’s Quality Control systems, General Converting has been able to further its position as a leader in print technology and equipment. The company’s continuous expansion can be attributed to its commitment to customers, quality control, and personnel. By choosing GlobalVision to automate its proofing process, General Converting has experienced both cost and time savings while gaining a useful sales tool. Overall, the decision to invest in automation technology has resulted in significant benefits for both General Converting. and its customer base.