The team at Abbey had been researching the market for some time prior to making the decision to purchase the Xeikon 3300 machine. Tom Allum, Chairman of Abbey Labels, said: “We had been examining the potential for digital and the equipment available for some two or three years. Question marks about speed of digital devices, print quality, and the space required to set up a digital operation were constantly on our minds.”
The company has an existing labels business, with multi-colour u.v. flexo presses providing the firepower, but digital was certainly a point of focus for the Bury-St-Edmunds based business. Having narrowed down the equipment choice, visits were made to both LabelExpo and Drupa 2012 to help finalise a decision. “The latest range of equipment from Xeikon did seem to solve our speed queries, and the dramatic improvements in print quality in recent years ticked all of the boxes in that area of concern. What really made up our minds in favour of the Xeikon product though was the lack of click charge, which simply made costing and quoting for jobs a lot easier, and the fact that the Xeikon people seemed to speak our language”.
The addition of the company’s first digital press has opened new doors and has enabled the company to create new business opportunities. “I would say that 90% of the work is new work – some from existing customers, but most of it from new customers. The new work is being mainly generated from our new updated web site. The ability to produce short runs or multiple sorts of colour labels without the associated cost of plates has allowed the company to compete for many orders that were just out of reach with flexo pricing,” said Tom.
The Xeikon 3300 is supported by an AB Graphics Digicon 2 for post printing production. “It is a great addition to the Xeikon. The new finishing line has allowed us to provide a wide range of embellishment options such as lamination, foiling, varnishes, and spot colours to the labels. Due to the special die cutting system on the Digicon we can use our existing stock of over 5,000 cutters which we have stored for our flexo work. This has made us very flexible for both new and existing customers “
What has impressed the team at Abbey Labels now that the Xeikon is in and running? “They are a great supplier to work with. The product training has been first rate. They are a very customer friendly business, and offer excellent technical service. The Xeikon team have given us every confidence in the product and in the whole service package that they provide.”
Abbey Labels is BRC (British Retail Consortium) registered for food production work. “This has been a tremendous help to us in generating business from the food sector. Local food producers have been especially keen to use our services: they don’t need millions of labels in most cases – more often they might need a few hundred labels of several different sorts. This makes them ideal customers for digital label printing.”
Had digital surprised Tom and the team at all? “The Xeikon has delivered in all of the areas that we expected, but the print quality has certainly surpassed our expectations. On the technical side, the machine has proved more reliable than we were expecting as well. We have also been very pleasantly surprised by the excellent back-up provided by Xeikon. They understand this market and its needs extremely well.”
Abbey Labels has been in existence for over 20 years. The company has grown into East Anglia’s leading label supplier in terms of supply range, quality, expertise, resources and in-plant capabilities. The company’s aim is to provide help, advice, and to produce, cost-effective and compliant solutions for all labelling projects. With a focus on accuracy, print quality and operating meticulous control procedures throughout all aspects of label production, Abbey is fully compliant to IS0 14001 environmental and BRC/IoP production standards.
The flagship narrow-web label press of the Xeikon 3000 Series, the Xeikon 3300 is the company’s most popular press model of the range. In addition to prime label applications, the press is also suitable for numbering, barcoding and personalisation. It runs at a top speed of 19.2 m/min (63 ft/min) and can handle production volumes of up to 380 square meters/hour (589 MSI/hour).
The Xeikon 3300 won the prestigious New Innovation Award at the Label Industry Global Awards during Labelexpo Americas 2008 and was the first digital label press to be awarded an InterTech™ Technology Award in 2009.
The Xeikon 3300 uses the Pericles screening library. The screen ruling can be adjusted for every image element, resulting in images pleasing to the eye.
An inline densitometer enables the user to calibrate a press to ensure uniform and accurate colour and colour consistency between jobs and between presses. The four process colours plus one of a range of standard or custom-made spot colours provide an extended colour gamut. One-pass opaque white helps to create immaculate images on transparent and metallic label stock.