The Kennedy Group boosts efficiency with Esko AVT Helios automated inline inspection - Esko

The Kennedy Group boosts efficiency with Esko AVT Helios automated inline inspection

Leading label manufacturer improves throughput speed and saves on operator time and waste with automated inline inspection solution.


The challenge

Remove bottlenecks, streamline inline inspection

The solution

Automated inline inspection

The benefits

Improved results, greater efficiency

Seeking improvement and versatility

Since 1974, family-owned The Kennedy Group, Willoughby, Ohio has specialized in delivering quality labels to its customers, helping businesses across the globe make their mark in industries ranging from automotive to food and beverages and beyond.

The Kennedy Group uses state-of-the-art printing techniques – from print technologies including economical and chemical-resistant water-based printing, high-quality and fade-resistant UV printing to ASTM-grade UV printing for smaller runs and variable data printing inkjet systems for flexibility. The company’s environmentally friendly servo drive presses ensure higher productivity, while its flexographic printing capability offers up to 10-color printing. The group regularly handles specialty labels like pressure-sensitive paper and films, as well as roll-fed films.

So, why did The Kennedy Group come to Esko?

“We have 16 presses at our facility,” said Mike Carnahan, Shift Production Supervisor at The Kennedy Group. “We had an inspection system running already, but it really wasn’t performing as well as we’d hoped. It was missing errors and was proving difficult to use.”

“One of our main concerns was the versatility of the system when being used by our press operators,” said Mike. “Previously, we’d looked at solutions we considered to be the best value. But we ended up with various systems, with our press operators needing training for each one. Each inspection system worked differently, causing bottlenecks in our workflow.”

“We wanted to streamline the process and create consistency, with all operators using the same inspection service,” said Mike. “We also wanted to give the operators a step up from the previous equipment.”

Gaining a firm focus

“After AVT demonstrated its features and performance, we took the first system,” said Mike. “It can monitor multiple different inspection zones at once. For example, if a customer has a logo that they’re very particular about, we can set the sensitivity highest around that element of the job.”

“It essentially allows us to focus on the defects that the customer is most concerned about,” he said. “More importantly, it allows the operator to focus on the operation of the machine rather than worry about the inspection.”

The AVT Helios product line is a market-proven automatic 100% inspection solution designed for labels and other narrow web printing applications. AVT Helios automatically inspects printed labels or packages for defects and imperfections, delivering exceptional quality results and eliminating customer rejections. The Helios product supports every stage of the print production process – with a comprehensive range of print scenarios and workflows.

Maximizing performance and ease of use

“We now have AVT Helios inline inspection systems on three of our MPS flexo presses,” said Mike. “We decided after around three or four months that this was by far the superior product and we would install it across our MPS (multi-print system) flexo presses.”

Mike explained that in comparison to the previous system, AVT Helios provided the ideal combination of maximum performance and ease of use. “For example, the previous machine wasn’t easy to backtrack,” he said. “If the operator was at the back of the machine, it would alert them to an error, but they’d then have to expand the print and search to find it. Whereas AVT Helios shows the operator specifically what the defect is and where, at the click of just one button.”

Mike was also pleased that the installation process was simple and straightforward. “The interface was great, and we now have technology which is both accurate and easy to use,” he said. “It saves on operator time, reduces waste and improves throughput speed, so delivers significant efficiency gains to the business. We’re now in the process of adding a fourth Helios system so that we have one on all of our MPS flexo presses.”


AVT Helios


3 ways to integrate print inspection technologies into your label production plant

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3 ways to integrate print inspection technologies into your label production plant

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