Existing Xeikon digital label press user Hine Labels, Rotherham, has doubled capacity by investing in a speed upgrade for its Xeikon 3030 machine, enhancing throughput speed up to 19.2 meters per minute.
The 3030 installation took place back in February 2009 and was Hine Labels second digital press following its initial Xeikon 330 purchase back in December 2007. Since those early beginnings the share of digital production has grown at a considerable pace, though flexo and hot-foil production also take place at the Yorkshire company: “The share of digital production has certainly increased,” confirmed Bill Hine, Managing Director of Hine Labels. “We needed more capacity. For us, the typical overall run-length per order has not changed significantly, however, that one order now asks for a lot more label types than before. It might be broken down now into maybe a dozen or more different versions. It’s all about smarter marketing on behalf of the customer, combined with the fact that they now know that, because of digital, we can produce these shorter individual run-lengths of each label at sensible prices. This has been key to driving the growth for our digital production.”
Work for the Xeikon 3030 at Hine Labels had grown to the point where production time on the machine was close to full. “The Xeikon 3000 Series offers the unique opportunity to upgrade entry level presses, such as the Xeikon 3030, in speed or substrate width in the field,” said Filip Weymans, Director Segment Marketing and Business Development Labels and Packaging at Xeikon.
A meeting with between Bill Hine and Xeikon’s Duncan Sargeant, UK Label Sales Manager for Xeikon, examined this opportunity. “The 3030 was configured to run at 9.6 meters per minute, which was considered very productive at the time of installation,” said Duncan. “Developments in the technology now allow us to upgrade that machine to effectively turn it into a Xeikon 3300 which runs at 19.2 meters per minute. It has provided Hine Labels with a massive increase in production capability for an investment that was a fraction of the cost of a new machine, and without the undoubted upheaval that a new installation would cause.”
An Esko-based front-end allows Hine Labels to handle files for print production before deciding which technology they will use for the final process. “Many jobs dictate either by run-length or delivery schedule which process we should use, but others remain flexible until the last minute. We can switch production to flexo or to digital right up until the last minute and our systems will adjust the files as necessary to ensure the same quality of label is produced,” said Bill Hine.
Commenting on his digital label history, Bill Hine added: “Our original Xeikon 330, installed back at the end of 2007, allowed us a good insight into the digital labels market, providing us with the opportunity to talk digital with our existing customers, and to work our way through the whole of the digital production cycle – which is, of course, quite different to our traditional flexographic business. The further enhancements in both image quality and production speed for the Xeikon 3000 range meant that it was the next logical step for us. This upgrade moves us on to the next level of production for the most effective investment cost: we can now print at more than twice the speed of our 3030 press.
“We had no hesitation in keeping with Xeikon for our digital label production. In our opinion, the company’s products lead the market for label printing, and we have been delighted with the service and support that we have received from Xeikon,” he added. “For us, dry toner technology is currently the best way forward for digital production. It provides both quality and reliability, and on top of that one-pass opaque white. With Xeikon technology Hine Labels will remain competitive in the coming years, hence a capacity upgrade for our Xeikon press is a good decision for the business.”
The five-colour printing engine in the Xeikon provides for the four standard process colours plus a choice of spot colour, special security toner for anti-counterfeiting applications, or an opaque white for the “no label” look on transparent material. The press is capable of handling an unrivalled range of substrates including self-adhesive films, co-extruded films, unsupported films, paper, transparent and opaque foils, and paperboard. The environmentally friendly dry toner electrophotography imaging process enables the use of conventional substrates without the need for coating or pre-treatment.