An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Eric Serenius
Reprint of „Packaging Pakistan“ (Issue July 2017)
1) Packaging Pakistan: Please tell us something about yourself and your company?
The OHIO Gravure Technologies team in Dayton, Ohio USA has been designing and manufacturing engraving equipment since 1980. We have produced a series of first innovations such as our highly versatile engraving heads and automated machines. I joined the team in 1992 as an electrical engineer and now lead OHIO Engraving as President of the company.
2) Packaging Pakistan: What is your corporate profile in terms of products and services? Can you tell us about your new products or plans for growth?
OHIO offers several levels of engraving equipment from the entry-level manually operated Prism engraver, to the semi-automatic Prism Prime, to the fully automatic capable Spectrum. Additionally we have a broad range of robust and stable engraver Heads capable of extreme depths to 300 microns and “laser quality” line work with our Hybrid Engraving . We are also the creators of the Collage Layout system which is an industry standard layout tool capable of driving OHIO, Hell and Daetwyler engravers.
3) Packaging Pakistan: What are the trends that are shaping the printing industry and how do you predict new technologies in the future?
Shorter runs, improved edge sharpness, quality assurance, faster delivery and price sensitivity are always drivers for the market. Fortunately, we have new developments which address all of these issues as described below.
4) Packaging Pakistan: Maintaining quality standards can help you in gaining a competitive edge in the industry. In a nutshell, how do you ensure that high standards are maintained in your operations?
Excellence requires clarity of purpose. Prior to 2012 while part of Daetwyler, we focused on engineering, but OHIO was restructured in 2012 and has since been responsible for all aspects of the OHIO / Gravostar product line. We now have 100% clarity of purpose, own all issues and seek direct customer interaction. We have been fortunate to retain our key staff in engineering, manufacturing and customer support over the years with an average tenure of 20 years. We take all field failures very seriously and consider them opportunities for improvement. Our machines run 24 / 7 and last for decades. We embrace specialization and therefore outsource our non-core components in manufacturing. This allows us to focus on our expertise, high-precision engraving. We have a performance metrics system which brings internal responsibility and monitors every installed machine.
5) Packaging Pakistan: Research & Development has become an essential element in almost every industry. To what extent do you rely on conducting the research and how important it is for market penetration?
Ideas fuel our company and customer interaction is the driver for the entire creative process. Their needs are the seeds of our new ideas and solutions. Over half of our staff is active on engineering development projects. Recent developments include expanding our engraver portfolio to cover the range of manual operation with the Prism, semi-automation with the Prism Prime and full automation with the Spectrum. Hybrid and Vital Proof are our other significant developments and are described below.
6) Packaging Pakistan: Industry 4.0 is leading future trend. What is your Company’s strategy to meet future demands?
Industry 4.0 frames the challenge of an interconnected and self-monitoring factory. OHIO is currently releasing three products that are 100% aligned with this mission: Vital Proof, DocuCell™ and the OHIO Dashboard. Vital Proof is a system that measures and assigns a print density to every engraved cell (described in #10 below). DocuCell allows the customer to pre-select any areas where the cell sizes will be measured for quality control purposes. The measurements of these selected cells are done on-the-fly while the cylinder is being engraved (no added time or steps). Vital Proof and DocuCell are coupled with the test cut data to create our Enhanced Birth Certificate for a complete Self-Documented Cylinder!! Additionally , we have developed the OHIO Dashboard which makes the engraver metrics available via the web. Metrics include the number of cylinders produced daily, weekly, monthly and annually. It also provides links the Enhanced Birth Certificates that, again, brings data to the outside world to enable informed decision making. OHIO is clearly leading the Industry 4.0 charge.
7) Packaging Pakistan: What are the keys factors that give your Company a competitive edge over others in the industry?
OHIO is a very focused and experienced team of engineers, manufacturing and application specialists. We are also a creative and nimble group capable of delivering customizable solutions for our customers. Our only focus is the gravure market, so our efforts are not diluted with mixed goals.
8) Packaging Pakistan: How do you find the potential of Pakistan market in the printing industry? How do you rate its prospects in the near future?
The market has tremendous potential and will grow with the rapidly expanding Pakistani middle class. We have been very impressed with every customer we visited. They are all extremely professional, entrepreneurial and are eager to gain a benefit for their customers.
9) Packaging Pakistan: Can you tell us a bit about hybrid engraving technologies?
OHIO’s Hybrid Engraving System is a unique technology that uses the standard known electro-mechanical (EM) cell shape, but shifts the cells at the edge boundaries to eliminate the saw-tooth edge associated with EM. Hybrid engraves both the CT and LW in a single operation for a more accurate and detailed representation of the original artwork. Printers love it because it requires no adjustment In the press since it is the standard cell shape with shifting at the edges (not true of competitive technologies) and provides an easily seen quality improvement with great ink volume.
10) Anything you would like to share, comment or recommend at the end.
We believe that OHIO’s concept of the auto-documented cylinder is revolutionary. Vital Proof is the gateway to eliminating the proof press; can you imagine the time and money saved! For you technical junkies … Vital Proof digitizes the depth signal associated with each cell and converts this into a density for each cell (or pixel). These pixels are built rev-by-rev in real-time to reconstruct the actual image being engraved. These images are then overlaid for a composite image just like the proof press, only better because it is digital and therefore quantitative. Visit ohiogt.com and 3P in Lahore for more details on Vital Proof.