The group commenced investment at the same time as it introduced its Coveris Performance System (CPS) supply chain strategy, aiming to make production leaner and standardise operations across the division’s five sites.
The investment itself has involved the upgrading of around 28 core label and flexo machines, of which it has 57, with new GEW ArcLed Rhino systems, taking out a number of older GEW UV systems. While this operation is nearly complete, it is now in the process of a wholescale finishing upgrade, replacing 14 rewinders with SRI Rewinders from AB Graphic International, of which three have so far been replaced.
“We are replacing all the UV systems across most of the core machines with Rhino systems and increasing reliability to the customer in delivery,” said operations director Michael Marshall.
“We are looking to increase reliability and save on failures and energy from our point of view, which is good for the environment as well, with 40% energy savings typically.”
Running off GEW’s E2C low-energy UV lampheads, GEW said the Rhino enables high-performance flexo printing at full production speeds using as little as 90W/cm of energy, reducing the environmental impact by 46%.
The group is also initiating a number of more minor upgrades, including bringing in updated servo drives and graphical user interface systems on its flexo presses, with a greater focus on waste reduction.
Supply chain excellence director David Smith said: “There are two things here, the investment and the lean journey, based on the CPS. This was done for a variety of reasons, to improve consistency, bring standardisation, improve quality and service to the customer and drive involvement and engagement in our colleagues.
“Because it is a difficult time in manufacturing you have to invest to make sure you cut out waste and see if you can be competitive in the market. We’ve also seen a lot of growth in new markets within the food and beverage sector, which has particularly enabled new ways of printing.”
With 1,200 staff, comprising just under half of Coveris UK’s overall staff numbers, the labels division has three sites in Lincolnshire, one of which was upgraded last year with a Converter 530 series 3 label finishing line, one in Hereford and one in Newcastle. At £180m, it comprises around half of Coveris’ overall UK sales.
The programme is running alongside a similar £3m investment programme in Coveris' cartonboard division, initiated at the start of this year. In August, this division picked up several assets from Gelpack Industrial, which fell into administration in early August.