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Topflight’s Customers Win With Strong R&D And Advanced Printing And Converting

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Topflight Corporation is an independently held, ISO 9001:2008 and 13485:2003 certified company manufacturing labels, shrink sleeves, conductive parts and die-cut components for a variety of markets, including Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Electronics, Cosmetics & Personal Care, and Tire & Automotive. Below is our interview with Craig McClenachan, President at Topflight Corporation:


Q: Tell us something more about Topflight Corporation and your history?

A: The Topflight Tool Company was founded in 1943, as a precision machine shop for WWII aircraft parts. Along with these manufactured parts, Topflight produced tape, in order to label the machined parts. Years later with the end of the war, the company turned our focus to tape, and in 1959 completed the design and production of our first line of high-speed, short-run presses, ideal for pressure-sensitive labels. Known as much for manufacturing our own presses as we were for printing, Topflight was truly an early innovator in the field of printing.

After spinning off two sister companies, the last one in the late 1990’s, Topflight started to look toward the future and converting, and proceeded to obtain ISO 9001:2008 certification. We expanded our medical converting capabilities and became ISO 13485:2003 certified in 2013. Topflight continues to expand our capabilities both in the medical field, as well as consumer applications, in the areas of both printing and converting.

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Q: What have been some major milestones over the past few years?

A: In the printing industry, one of the most recent milestones has to be the advancement of digital printing. As a whole, the industry is printing faster, more efficiently, and with a higher quality and resolution than ever before. Topflight’s 100% digital workflow allows our customers to send a new art file to the press every time they order, giving them the ability to run seasonal, regional and promotional graphics to keep their brand and messaging current.

Topflight’s HP Indigo WS6800 eliminates time consuming and costly conventional requirements, such as complex prepress corrections and trapping, plate making and mounting and press make-ready. Shorter runs enable us to shorten our customer’s time to market, improve their cash flow and virtually eliminate any obsolete labeling inventory. Although conventional printing methods will always have their place, the ability to print variable content from label to label is truly a game-changer.

Q: Tell me more about Topflight’s ability to print specialty coatings and varnishes?

A: Topflight has vast experience with a wide range of water-based, UV, and solvent inks and varnishes, and when used in combination with hundreds of available adhesives and substrates, our R & D engineers have unparalleled design options. Depending on the dramatic look you are trying to achieve on your labeling, we can use chromatic inks, designed to change color in various conditions; thermochromic inks which react to heat or cold within a given range; or even phosphorescent inks that glow in the dark.

If it is texture you need to bring your label to life, we can create soft, rough, sandy, or rubbery sensations, as well as add depth with pearlescent or color-shifting inks. Today’s technology in combination with innovative thinking can really give your branding a whole new dimension.

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Q: What can Topflight offer in the way of brand security?

A: Product related crime and security threats have been on the increase in recent years. Protecting your brand against diversion, retail theft, fraudulent claims and counterfeiting is more important than ever in these uncertain times. With over 25 years of experience working with Fortune 1000 customers to diminish revenue loss and product liability exposure, Topflight can provide customers with the best possible solutions to protect your brand and your customers.

The best security is multi-layered, with a combination of overt and covert features. Frequent changes in the type and combination of security features will further discourage counterfeiters. Overt features, such as holograms, watermarks, tamper-evident seals and shrink bands, as well as the more subtle covert features, like taggants, color-shifting inks and micro-text can all be utilized in the multi-layered approach. These, in combination with coding (bar codes, RFID, serialization) and forensic encryption with synthetic DNA, nanoparticles. chemical and IR tags will alleviate your unique security concerns for your brand.

Q: What benefits can be realized by choosing Topflight for printed conductive applications?

A: Printed circuits are becoming integral to diagnostic test sensors and growing with the surge of wearable electronics. By using a variety of materials, inks and processes, Topflight can develop the right solution for your custom application. Printed circuits are often a time- and cost-saving alternative to traditional production methods for applications such as sensors, diagnostic devices, antennae, RFID tags, flexible displays, transistors, shields, resistors, and dielectrics.

Besides the traditional polymer thick film (PTF) inks and chemical etching of metals, Topflight has developed many applications using nano-particle silver inks as well as graphene inks. Our silver nano-particle technology delivers high-performance at a 50% lower cost than conductive inks with similar resistivity. Printed layers are flexible and can be wrapped around an object without cracking.
Graphene (carbon-nano-particle) inks are also available with a lower cost and comparable resistivity to PTFs. Lower costs and finer lines (as low as 4-mils) mean that components can be smaller than ever. Although typical conductives are screen printed, which we can do, we also print using flexo which gives us thinner lay-downs and higher speeds which is cost effective in high volume applications. We can print conductives on films as well as paper substrates all in a roll format.

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Q: What makes Topflight a good choice?

A: There are lots of high quality printers out there, as well as excellent converters. However, it is truly rare to find a company like Topflight, where the high quality printer and excellent converter are all wrapped up into one experienced, reliable and trusted company. With over 30 years of experience in the medical industry, and more than twice that many in the printing industry, we partner with our customers to design, develop and manufacture products that scale seamlessly from prototype to high-volume production. Our R&D engineers work with projects in the product development, clinical trial and production stages to develop parts that meet performance and manufacturability requirements. Our extensive array of prototype equipment is matched to full-scale production capabilities, and most designs can be prototyped without the need for tooling in a matter of days, on in-stock material.

Topflight builds quality into everything we do. We are ISO 13485 and 9001 Certified, and in addition to external auditing bodies, Topflight has a team of internal auditors that continuously monitor adherence to procedures and processes. Our quality system includes a full testing and inspection lab, in-process vision systems, and final batch record reviews to ensure that components meet customer and regulatory requirements the first time, on time, every time.

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