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Keller Crescent -- Prescription for Success

November 2003
Consumer advocates are demanding more reader-friendly product information. Seniors want larger type. Globalization requires the information to be in four or five languages. Consumer coalitions are forming patient information and education initiatives. The FDA is setting new regulatory guidelines.

The amount of information manufacturers have to provide keeps growing. This presents a challenge for pharmaceutical and healthcare product producers because it affects the size and cost of their packaging, and tests the capabilities of their existing packaging line equipment. These challenges are passed on to the printers and packagers charged with producing product literature.

Equipment Upgrades

Bryan Hull operates one of Keller Crescent's three new MV-2001 Outsert Systems, while Anthony Wiggington checks and collects the outserts at the delivery end.
One such printer/packager is Keller Crescent, a supplier to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry based in Evansville, IN. Committed to staying on top of this trend, the company recently enhanced its outsert leaflet production capabilities by investing in three new Vijuk MV-2001 Outsert Systems (patent pending) introduced early this year by Elmhurst, IL-based Vijuk Equipment.

Outserts are leaflets with the final edges folded inward and spot glued so that they remain intact during the inserting process and can be affixed directly onto a container, thereby eliminating the added expense of a carton or additional packaging. Outserts continue to grow in popularity with drug and other medical products manufacturers. To keep up with the trend toward pharmaceutical booklets, Keller Crescent also purchased a Vijuk Miniature Glued Booklet System in late 2002, which produces small booklets that allow for easier access to information.

Keller Crescent now stands out as a total marketing communications organization that offers services ranging from advertising and public relations, media and market research, sales promotion and merchandising, to a full scope of printing, packaging, postpress and fulfillment operations.

Originally founded as Keller Printing in 1885, it merged with Crescent Engraving in the early 1900s to form Keller Crescent Printing & Engraving. In 1948, Keller Crescent expanded into a full-service advertising agency. Today, in addition to its headquarters in Evansville, the company serves a rapidly growing and diverse customer base from its facilities in Indianapolis, St. Louis and Louisville, KY.

Keller Crescent President Tom Smythe looks over booklets produced by the Vijuk Glued Miniature Booklet System sitting just behind him.
Keller Crescent entered the pharmaceutical and healthcare business in earnest in 1990 and, according to Tom Smythe, president, this market now represents 85 percent to 90 percent of its packaging services business.

"Cartons, labels, literature, plus inserts and outserts in glued, unglued and roll-to-roll formats, ribbon-folded and RTAs—we're ready to deliver anything and everything a pharmaceutical or healthcare company may need in the way of packaging, as well as the supporting instructional, informational and promotional materials," he notes.

The cornerstone of Keller Crescent's business philosophy is providing customers with what Smythe terms the single control point. "The idea is to ensure a maximum level of security and confidence by overseeing everything, from the printing of folding cartons and labels, to the production of inserts and outserts, literature and source tags or IRC application—all painstakingly documented throughout production." Smythe adds that Keller Crescent's production and quality assurance practices have been audited and certified by some of the industry's most respected manufacturers of pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

Keller Crescent is equipped to handle just about anything a customer wants. Highlighting its capabilities are a digital prepress system that is totally integrated with its creative services division; six-, seven- and eight-color offset presses with coating capabilities; up to seven-color rotary screen, flexo and letterpress label production; seven- to eight-color flexo carton production with in-line diecutting; plus a comprehensive line of postpress services, including diecutting, saddle stitching, glued-spine bookletmaking, and folding and gluing with EMS (electronic monitoring system) scanners.

"Our goal has always been to provide a greater array of sophisticated services than those available through ad agencies, printers and packaging firms," says Smythe. With its recent equipment purchases, Keller Crescent continues to position itself to be able to respond to the industry's demands.

Over the past few decades, the FDA has significantly revised its guidelines covering the amount and types of information that must accompany prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and other healthcare products, explains Dan Luedke, general manager at the Indianapolis production facility.

"Couple this with today's 'more aware' consumers looking for more detailed information about symptoms, dosages, possible side effects, etc., and then factor in the larger, more readable, 'senior-friendly' type sizes, and the available printing space on an outsert leaflet starts to disappear."

Going Large

With customers indicating that larger format outserts would be needed, Keller Crescent called on Vijuk Equipment. Seeing the trend for larger informational leaflets mount over the past few years, Vijuk developed its new MV-2001 Outsert System, which features electronic control and even a modem for off-site diagnostic analysis to speed and simplify system troubleshooting.

Keller Crescent installed the first MV-2001 at its Indianapolis production facility in February 2003, with two more units going online during the second quarter.

"We were currently running 8.5x24˝ flat-size sheets for outserts. Now we were looking at going up to 10x26˝ and even larger, but still folding down to the same 1 1⁄8 x 2 3⁄8˝ finished size," reveals Luedke. "In the case of one of our customer's packaging equipment requirements, we had to get the larger-size leaflet down to as close to the same thickness as before. This was only achievable on the Vijuk MV-2001." The machine is capable of producing outserts of up to 120 panels that are 50 percent larger and 20 percent more compressed.

Though Keller Crescent is still running tests on its new MV-2001s, Luedke is confident that once full-scale production begins they'll be running at noticeably higher speeds. Vijuk, in fact, rates its new MV-2001 as capable of achieving speeds up to 10,000 cycles per hour, which reportedly is, at a minimum, 20 percent faster than any previously available outsert system.

Keller Crescent's purchase of the Vijuk Glued Miniature Booklet System was also prompted by the request of one of its customers. "Concerned with the safety of the stitches, the client wanted to get away from saddle stitching and go with a much cleaner, more modern look," says Luedke, referring to a four-color process, self-cover booklet designed to carry promotional information to pharmaceutical and healthcare customers.

Luedke adds that, unlike the saddle stitching process, which involves separate, off-line steps for folding, collating and stitching, the spine-gluing technique is accomplished in just one pass. The system, which is rated at up to 6,000 pieces per hour, is capable of producing spine-glued booklets of up to 40 pages, in up to three formats, in sizes as small as 1 3⁄16 x 1 5⁄8˝. The booklet system can also be equipped to die punch bound booklets into shapes, like a bottle, circle or capsule.

"We have some very clearly defined growth plans over the next five years," concludes Smythe. "And, to meet our goals in the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets, we will continue to focus heavily on high quality, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and security."

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