Published: 7 May 2021 | No comments yet
A Screen Truepress Jet L350UV SAI S inkjet digital label press installed at Print-Leeds, opening the business up to the world of self-adhesive labels.
In early 2021, Print-Leeds took possession of new technology that promises to set the UK-based converter on a path to future growth and prosperity.
This has seen a Screen Truepress Jet L350UV SAI S inkjet digital label press installed, opening the business up to the world of self-adhesive labels.
Print-Leeds was founded in the mid-1980s as a repro house, moving into printing in the early 20th Century. This saw it purchase a Heidelberg press that acted as a springboard for the company into print. A little over a decade later and the acquisition of S&C Labels saw the business take the plunge into labels. Fast-forward to today, and Print-Leeds is renowned as a supplier of wet-glue labels, in addition to its activities in packaging and wide-format printing.
The company’s managing director, Rod Fisher, notes that in recent years there had been a marked increase in the number of customers asking if Print-Leeds was capable of producing self-adhesive labels also. ‘We are well known in the beverage industry through wet-glue, and a lot of our customers were moving to self-adhesive. This meant it was necessary for us as a business to move in this direction also. This has opened us up to a much larger market, and we are now able to sell our services to a different and broader profile of customer.’
As well as the inkjet press, an A B Graphic (ABG) Digicon Series 3 finishing line has been installed. This machine is bespoke to the printer’s requirements and features a number of options, including flatbed screen, delam/relam, two flexo modules, and auto-slit functionality.
‘What you can with do this equipment is amazing,’ states Mr Fisher. ‘You can add so many things to a label these days.’ (see page 36 for more on finishing and embellishment).
He likens this to some of the wet-glue labels that Print-Leeds already produces, which are described as ‘like artwork’, and featuring embossing, foiling, and soft touch and matte varnish. The main difference he identifies, is the physical production demands. With the Screen press and ABG finishing line, he notes how this combination can be used to do what much of the rest of the factory does, but in a smaller footprint. The company is building an air-conditioned and humidified production environment with room for further digital self-adhesive equipment.
‘We’ve already recorded strong interest and big business in the self-adhesive market. There’s still a long way to go, but it has been a good start. We are building for the future, which includes a greater presence in digital printing and the self-adhesive market.’
An additional benefit of its investment in inkjet digital printing is noted as furthering the company’s environmental credentials and narrative, whereby it is moving away from plastic and producing more environmentally conscious printed products.
‘We are working to move away from plastics and make all of our packaging sustainable. As a new venture, we are able to write our own unique story and build a strong sustainability narrative. Digitally printing self-adhesive labels on more environmentally friendly, fibre-based substrates will be key to this.’
Mr Fisher says that Print-Leeds is also unique in having such a variety of technologies and applications at its disposal, as there are a limited number of companies producing wet-glue labels. Whilst the self-adhesive market is far more competitive, he says the company will benefit from having the combination of such production capabilities and the access to customers this brings.
These different parts of the business will also soon be unified through Cerm MIS software. Brought in to coincide with the launch of its digitally-driven self-adhesive activity, the entire business is to be running on Cerm’s software in the coming weeks and months.
Mr Fisher concludes, ‘Digital can be used to produce longer and longer runs. The first job we printed after completing training on the Screen was for 380,000 labels. It ran fantastically and was a perfect showcase of Print-Leeds’ expanded capabilities.’