When Tension Corp. extended its streak to multiple years of winning Excellence in Flexography awards last May, President and CEO Bill Berkley was quick to credit his associates and suppliers in the important role they play in providing a consistent product. He believes having long-tenured employees and a 40 year-plus partnership with INX International Ink Co. is producing extraordinary results.
“We are fortunate to have experienced people with high standards who understand the value of quality, service and consistency of product. They work hard and have created a culture of excellence day in and day out,” says Berkley, who assumed his position in 1988 and is the great-grandson of company founder William Berkowitz. “We recognize service anniversaries twice a year. Last month we honored one associate who has worked at Tension for 45 years, two others who reached the 40-year mark, and many who have been with us for over 15 years. Our relationship with INX has been for just as long; we did business with Acme Printing before they were bought by INX. They provide tremendous ink support and the relationship has strengthened over the decades. Their ink technology resources have been invaluable.”
Building lasting connections has been part of Kansas City-based Tension’s credo for a long time. Established as an advertising novelties and business stationery firm in 1886, the company got its name from the string and button envelope closure invented during that decade. Tension’s first envelope patent was issued in 1909, and new high-speed envelope folding machinery to produce varying sizes and styles soon followed.
Tension expanded internationally in the late 1990s. In 2010, they moved into automation for online order fulfillment packaging and the pharmacy market before rebranding itself from Tension Envelope to Tension Corp. in 2011.
The company counts 120 associates in Asia and 900 more at seven locations in the U.S.: Kansas City, Des Moines, Fort Worth, Marysville, KS, South Hackensack, NJ, St. Clair, PA, and Temecula, CA. INX dispensing systems are in place at each location, which Berkley says gives Tension an advantage.
“The dispensing systems are tremendous for their consistency and quality of color. They are extremely important to our quality reputation,” Berkley says. “INX was part of an important milestone when we transitioned from solvent to water-based ink. They provided support for all our facilities. When we run a job at multiple locations or repeat a job, we dispense the color and know it will be the same match every time.”
Berkley acknowledged it has been reassuring to have INX’s around-the-clock support.
“It helps to have their ink support and ink manufacturing facility capabilities when we need it. The INX technical services group has been invaluable. Joe Krstulic and others provide yearly and refresher training and ink seminars for our team, and whatever else we need. It’s part of a two-prong approach to support our customers 24/7.”
INX’s water-based products are known for their “blacker blacks”, cost-effectiveness and superb color on coated, uncoated and recycled paper. Tension uses INXVelope® envelope inks, which provide greater ink stability, more consistent color, and improved printability.
“We like the INXVelope inks because they print extremely well at high speed. They also have great drying capability and print stability,” he noted. “One of the best things about INX is the consistency of their product. The pH is very stable and the viscosity is extremely consistent. This allows us to be more consistent because our printing is enhanced by the quality of the ink. We run longer, print cleaner, and the sheet lies more flat. This is important to us and INX provides excellence in these areas.”
Tension’s commitment to high quality is defined by their many years of gold, silver and bronze Excellence in Flexography awards. This year, the two bronze honors were in the Line, Uncoated Paper, and Process, Uncoated Paper categories.
“The 4-color flexo process work was a little more complicated than the spot color job,” Berkley says. “Both pieces demonstrated the quality of Tension’s work and how it all comes together to result in us winning these awards. Delivering higher, consistent quality for Tension customers is our goal. As an organization, we’re proud to be consistent in the delivery of our product to them. That’s what is exciting to us and INX is a very supportive partner. They do everything necessary to help us succeed and we appreciate it.”