Belgium’s Mels Verpakkingsinnovatie has invested in a hybrid Anapurna printing system from Agfa, allowing the Temse-based business to bring packaging work that was previously outsourced back in-house.

Ilke Mels and husband Filip Van Steirteghem are the second generation of the Mels family to run the company, which was founded in 1978. Finding a niche as a specialist in high-quality packaging for various applications and end-uses, as well as displays and placards, Mels often works as a subcontractor for printing and graphic companies that do not have the necessary packaging expertise themselves.

Whilst the use of digital printing to produce limited and short editions is not new to Mels, until recently these assignments were outsourced. The introduction of an Anapurna H1650i LED has allowed the production of small runs and samples in-house.

Mr Van Steirteghem commented, ‘It always went well, but the big advantage of doing it in-house lies mainly in the flexibility, time savings and the possibility to switch gears more quickly. It also gives us the freedom to experiment and test new ideas and concepts. The Anapurna will therefore be an important asset in future product developments.’

Ms Mels added, ‘By combining the Anapurna with our cutting solution, we can now also do small productions and sampling completely in-house.’

She continued, ‘Print quality is extremely important to us, because orders are increasingly often a mix of different products. If you have a packaging printed in offset because of the circulation or appearance, then a digitally printed display or POS material within the same order must look just as good. With the Anapurna this is perfectly possible and we can now also offer this as an extra service. The ability to print white was a must because it makes almost any substrate printable.’

Ease of use and integration with existing cutting technology were also an important criterion in the decision-making process, as Mr Van Steirteghem explained. ‘Working with the Agfa Asanti software is very intuitive and both our operators mastered it in no time. Especially the connection with our cutting solution, which we thought was going to be complex, but turned out to be a non-issue. This simple operation also makes the platform very accessible for both production and trying out new ideas and products.’

Environmental performance gains afforded by the new press were further important to Mels Verpakkingsinnovatie. ‘We process a lot of cardboard and that is of course a very rewarding product, because it is 100% recyclable and reusable, but we also see room for improvement there,’ said Ms Mels. ‘Now we can digitally print the cardboard directly with the Anapurna in small quantities, so that the gluing process or lamination is avoided. This is not only faster, but also uses fewer raw materials and energy. Combine this with the GreenGuard gold certified inks and the energy-efficient UV LED technology of the Anapurna, and you know that this investment benefits the environment.

‘That gives us a good feeling and I am sure our customers appreciate that too,’ she concluded.