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    Sarcina Packaging ltd.
    • Sustainable Paper Based Packaging
    • Competitive Pricing
    • Consultative Approach
    • Packaging and Print Design Experts

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Your Questions Answered

      What are the setting up (origination) costs?

      Origination or printing plate costs are the costs associated with producing the printing plates that impartthe ink to create the finisheditems. In recent years add on charges for lithographic printing plates have all but been abolished –and we certainly don't charge extra for them.

      Flexographic printing plates-mainly used in the production of flexo printed corrugate boxes and labels arehowever chargeable. Mainly because unlike litho plates'flexo plates are more costly to produce and can be used for subsequent production runs. The cost of the plates will depend on the size and the complexity of the print. As a rule,the more detail within the print the more they tend to cost. Flexo plates are also costed per colour per side. As such it's a sensible idea to try and future proof your artwork in thiscase to maximise the longevity of the plate.

      There are no origination costs associated with digital printing.

      What is a die forme?

      A die forme is the toolthat cuts the board into the desiredshape. Mostcommonly used in a flat bed format it comprisesaflat base, usually made of wood, with blades or rules embedded into it. The blades –that can either cut or crease the board -mirror the shape and size of the finished packaging whichturnsa flat sheet of board into the desiredbox or carton.

      The costs of the die forme needsto be factored into the budget as they are complex to make and are precision in nature. By definition,bespoke packaging results in a box or carton that is specifically designedto your demands. One of the costs of this tailored approach is that a die forme will need to be commissioned. The positive news is that these costs are one off and assuming the architecture of the box doesn't change, the forme can be used for future production runs.

      The costs of the die forme will depend on the meterage of steel orrule used in its construction and its overall size. But typically they range for £220 -£500 plus VAT.

      What is a CAD sample?

      Prior to the bulk production of any box or carton, itis common to receive a plain CAD cut sample for size and style testing. These samples are produced on a Computer Aided Design table –a large format cutting table mounted with a digital cutter.

      CAD samples are usually provided free of charge and are there to help reduce the riskof incorrect sizing or styles. The samples can be cut using the correct (or very close to) material and the architecture of the sample will exactly mirror the final production item.

      CAD samples are provided plain withoutprint. For the printed elements of the packaging anonscreen PDF proof will be issued for approval. In some cases, for litho work, a wet or press proof can be providedbut in almost all cases this will come with additional charges.

      How long will pre-productiontake?

      As a rule,the time you should allocate for pre-productionproduct design, sampling and artwork checks should be as long or longer than the bulk productionitself. There is a general assumption that pre-production work can be completed very quickly. But the reality is that bespoke packaging is often an evolution of thinking. What you start offbelieving will be the solution is often not the case. Bespoke packaging with its minimum order volumes and set up costs (not always applicable) can be costly. Itis therefore important that sufficient time is given to ensuring that the end product is right for the contents within, for the brand, and for the end customer

      We can help with all these elements –from initial brief, sampling, colour swatches and assistance and guidance with artwork.

      How long will production take?

      The time it takes to produce your item will depend on the materials used, the volume required, the complexity of the itemand the time of the year. Quarter four is always the busiest within the packaging sector and lead timeswill nearly always push out in the run up to and immediately after Christmas.

      Generally four weeks is theindustry standard to producebespoke packaging.At less busy times we may be able to improve upon this but equally this may push out during busier times. Itis always beneficial to plan your packaging requirements and where applicable a forward order schedule is a simple but effective way to mitigate against stock outages.

      In all cases leadtimes fluctuate and are always stated as post all approvals. The advice is to always leave extra time for artworkamendments, structural changes and production proofing.

      Will I get a pre-productionprinted proof?

      It is industry standard not to provide a printed pre-productionproof of your item.This is due to the time it takes to set up and clean down the machines. That said, an unprinted CAD sample will be issued for size a style for your approval prior to production. We would be happy to send you a printed sample from a previous production run to show the quality of print you can expect to receive. If this meets with your approval the artwork template will be issued to you (or your creative agency) to place in the artwork. This is then checked,and a production proof is issuedoutlining the sizeand print colours in question. When this is approved production can begin.

      What are manufacturing tolerances?

      Manufacturing tolerances generally relate to size, movement in productionand thefinal productionvolume.Given the complexity of the machinery involved its accepted that a +/-tolerance applies to the production of bespoke packaging. The specificswill depend on the materials used and the print method being employed. As a rule, movementtolerance can be up to 4mm and volume tolerances are generally plus or minus 10% of theordered volume. Although for some products, at smaller volumes this can sometimesbe upwards of 20%. In all cases you will only be asked to pay for what has been delivered.

      What's bleached vs unbleached paper?

      As the name suggested bleached papers have been bleached at the mill stage of paper production. This process removes the natural brown pigments that make natural paper brown.

      What is four colour process vs pantone colours?

      Four colour litho printing is the process of using just four ink colours -Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black–to generatethe images and colours contained within your printed packaging. By using these four primary colour in different sequences or layers any number of colours can be created. Itis possible to print any image and branding using four colour process alone.

      Why then the need for pantone inks? Unlike processedinks that are made up of just four colours, pantone inks, sometimes knownas spot or solid colours, are pre mixed and are made up of a palette of 18 colours. Pantoneprovides a universal language of colour that enables colour-criticaldecisionsthrough every stage of the workflow for brands and manufacturers.

      What'sthe best grammage for my packaging?

      The weight or grammage of your packaging will depend on severalfactors; the budget, the weight of the contents, the environment in which the packaging willbe used and the personal preference of the buyer. Other factors to consider are the fragility of the goods within and the mode of transport to be used to distribute the goods. For example, if the items are to be distributed on pallets, it may be necessary to increase the specification to avoid bowing/crushing.As part of our service to you we can help determine the best material for the specific application.

      What print options do I have?

      There are three printmethodstypically used for printing packaging –Lithographic, flexographic and digital. The method employed is partly determined by the material in question and the detail of print required. Forlithographicprinting, which can benefit from four colour process and tone work, thepaper or board thickness can't usually exceed 0.8mm. Although there is the option to adhere lithoprinted liner on toa thicker substrate such as a grey board or corrugated board.

      For short runs or multiple SKUs work (the material and size must be common) digital printing has become an increasingly popular option. The technology associated with digital print has advanced considerably over the last decade. Although the DPI obtained from a digital press doesnot match that of a litho press, to the untrained eye, minimal difference can be seen. Of course,with digital printing you are limited to the CMYK colour paletteprohibiting the use of pantone colours.

      For corrugated packaging flexo printing remains by far the most popular choice. The reason for this is primarily down to the price point that can be generated from a flexo press. The speeds at which thepressesoperate coupled withlarger sheet sizestranslate to a commercial upside. The downside to the print method is that printing plates can beexpensive to produce and although are reusable they are chargeable to the customer. In addition,flexo printing onto corrugated boxes is a relatively blunt tool in comparison to litho. Limited tone work can be achieved and four colour process is not an option. There is also a greater tolerance to print and cut movement withflexo work on press.

      What is a crashlockbase vs a snaplock base?

      A crashlockbase is a base that is pre glued meaning there is no need for tape or cumbersome flap folding in the construction of the box. The base is multipoint glued so all the packer needs to dois push the corners of the flat packed box and it auto erects,locking down in the process. This speed of assembly on the pack line translates to a time saving and is thereforelabour saving. Whilst a little more costly to manufacture than a carton that has been straight line glued itis quickly offset by the labour savings on offer.

      A snaplock base –sometimes knownas an envelope base hastwo short flaps and two longer flaps thatslot togetherin sequence to secure the base without the need of glue or tape. When locked into place thebase provides a robust solution for many applications.

      How do I measure my product for its packaging?

      All boxes and cartons are measured internally to reflect the cubic capacity-length, width and height in millimetres.

      Things to consider when determining the size:

      • Fragile -does it require any protective packing?
      • Can it be brokendown to a smaller size by removing and repositioning parts?
      • Will you need room for any accessories or literature inside?
      • Does it need to be oriented in a specific position?
      • Get the package as small as safely possible without compromising your products safety in shipping and handling.
      • Too much interior room can be just as detrimental as too tight fit. If your product rattles when packed in its box, you should double check to find a solution where it doesn't.
      • Consider the VOLUME of your package. It is a critical factor when optimising packing, shipping, warehousing and distribution costs and also affects printing and material costs

      If possible and by far the best way to ensure a snug fit is to send us the product within. We can then design the box aroundthe contents and return them to you within the preproduction sample for your consideration.


      Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or wish to speak to a member of our team for free advice. We endeavour to respond to all emails within 24 hours.

      Prefer a consultation over the phone? Call us now on 01243 573982

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