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Large-format, Commercial and Industrial Printing Solutions

GNC creates customized corrugated packaging and displays, using HP Scitex Industrial presses


“We evaluated all the
large-format digital printers
on the market, and we decided that the HP Scitex FB7500 offered us the best speed
and print quality in its
price class.”

— Mike Schliesmann
Senior VP and business unit manager
Great Northern Corporation

Great Northern Corporation (GNC) has been manufacturing packaging and display solutions since 1962. The Appleton, Wisconsin-based company is one of the largest independent corrugated operations in the United States. Its customers—industrial, commercial, and retail—turn to GNC for corrugated and custom packaging and point-of-purchase displays and signage.

Quick facts

  • The HP Scitex FB7500’s ability to print directly on corrugated media gave GNC control over the process and deliverables.
  • Adding digital printing capabilities improved profit margins, especially for corrugated work.
  • The HP Scitex FB7500 streamlined GNC’s workflow and increased speed-to-market.

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To stay competitive in a marketplace where technologies evolve rapidly and customers expect more demanding turnarounds, GNC knew it needed to continue expanding its capabilities. After careful research, it decided to add digital printing capabilities with an HP Scitex FB7500 Industrial Press.

“We evaluated all the large-format digital printers on the market, and we decided that the HP Scitex FB7500 offered us the best speed and print quality in its price class,” says Mike Schliesmann, senior vice president and business unit manager.

Short-run quality

Previously, GNC had outsourced short-run work to silkscreen or other digital printers. This approach cut into profit margins and added time pressure, especially in the retail market, which demands quicker turns and shorter runs.

Printing digitally with the HP Scitex FB7500, GNC now offers cost-effective short runs and customization. And because the HP Scitex FB7500 can print directly onto corrugated media, GNC can streamline its workflow by eliminating the need to apply printed paper to the substrate. Says Schliesmann:

“Anytime you’re doing your own manufacturing,
you have more control. It definitely helps improve our
speed-to-market by having the capabilities ourselves.”

GNC is also taking on more single-piece prototyping, sample runs, and small-quantity plain display work. Schliesmann says the quality is near offset and is consistent in color and image.

“It really is ‘what you see is what you get,’ and that allows our customers to show their clients what a prototype will look like when they bring it to retail,” he adds.

Personalized results

When a worldwide beverage company came to GNC with a customized project, it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the unique features of the HP Scitex FB7500.

The beverage company was partnering with a major grocery store chain to cosponsor a cancer awareness campaign. In each region they wanted to use in-store standing displays to recognize a store associate who survived cancer. The project called for 2,500 displays, customized with 18 different images, printed directly onto corrugated media.

Schliesmann says the project was a perfect match for digital. “It was a very large format, so it would not fit an offset press in a single form. We were able to do regional personalization and turn it in a very quick time frame, at a very effective cost.” The job was completed in about 2 weeks, and the feedback was glowing.

“The client was very happy with the results. We met all their objectives, and the displays looked great,” Schliesmann says.

Digital meets growing demands

Today, GNC prints most of its short-run jobs on the HP Scitex FB7500, running two or even three shifts at times. As business grows, the company plans to add more digital technology. Schliesmann believes the HP Scitex FB7500 has positioned GNC to take on more business than ever before.

“We can now run more cost-effective
short-run orders. There just hadn’t been a
cost-effective solution prior.”