Me & My: BGM Elite DSR
Monday, June 28, 2021
Garage start-ups tend to be associated with the US – think Apple and Hewlett-Packard – but they’re not uncommon on this side of the Atlantic either. It’s surprising how many of the successful printers and manufacturers profiles by Printweek over the years trace their origins back to one person’s vision and hard work, setting up in a back room, a garage or, for the luxury of space, a railway arch.
Here’s another example, Aztec Label in Kidderminster, a label and tag manufacturing specialist established in 1993. Managing director Colin Le Gresley says “I started the company in my home garage, but over the past almost 30 years we have enjoyed continuous growth to reach our current size, moving within Kidderminster six times until settling in our current location. We recently expanded and refurbished our now 1,765sqm premises to ensure it remains at the forefront of delivering superior labels and tag products.” This £400,000 investment included acquiring an adjacent 450sqm unit last year.
“We have enjoyed enormous growth since our first labels rolled off the press, but we are still a family-run firm. We take enormous pride in our valued staff and believe that with in excess of 300 years of collective production and management experience, the knowledge levels of our team stretch far beyond those of many other companies.”
The company offers a wide range of self-adhesive label and tag products, from plain to 10 colours. “As a predominantly trade supplier, we offer a range of capabilities to support other label printers with their overspill capacity requirements, across a wide range of markets depending on their needs,” says Le Gresley. “From varnishing, cold foiling and printing onto liners and adhesives to laminating, under-cutting, perforating and punching, we offer a comprehensive one-stop shop for customers needing support. Our business relies on product and service excellence, and we’ve secured a strong reputation for right-first-time production.”
Production equipment centres on four Nilpeter flexo lines plus some older flexo machines, with basic inline finishing such as die-cutting, slitting and rewinding. However last summer Aztec installed an offline high-speed finishing unit that’s the subject of our story here, a UK-made Bar Graphic Machinery Elite DSR (die-cut slitter rewinder).
There is also a Trojan digital label press, which uses Memjet inkjet heads. “The Trojan was purchased for us to dip our toes in the digital pond,” says Le Gresley. “We have found small niches of the market that it is ideal for, mainly very short process work. The quality is excellent, and we have the inline die-cutting and finishing to complement it.”
What’s a BGM Elite DSR?
Bar Graphic Machinery is a Bradford based manufacturer of inline and standalone finishing equipment for labels and flexible packaging. Its range covers narrow-web slitter rewinders, inspection slitter rewinders and rotary die-cutting rewinders, to complement flexographic or digital print lines. It has a worldwide distribution network.
The BGM Elite DSR is a compact standalone machine that takes re-reeled label rolls and can be configured to accept rolls from 300mm web width (with 265mm die cut width) up to 500mm webs (with 480mm die cuts). It combines rotary die-cutting at up to 250m/minute with slitting and rewinding. It can also run just the slitting-rewinding function if needed.
BGM claims it is “the fastest, most cost- effective, compact and robust freestanding label die-cutting machine on the market”.
The die station can accept most styles of dies, so users can save tooling costs by utilising existing dies from other machines. The waste rewind is independently driven with variable tension control that handles any label shape, size and adhesive type. There’s an LCD screen for speedy setups.
“It is a fast, compact, and robust free-standing label die-cutting machine,” sums up Le Gresley. “It is the fastest machine on the market in its class. Independently driven electronically controlled waste and product rewind systems, incorporating independent variable tension control, eliminate the inconsistent tension problems typical of high maintenance mechanical clutch systems used in traditional machines. It also runs efficiently on a simple 13 amp, 230V plug.”
What is the BGM Elite used for?
“Our Nilpeters have the ability to connect directly to AB Graphic turret rewinders and big orders of bunch fan folders, of which there are many, are finished directly at press,” says Le Gresley. “Our BGM Elite is our first entry to a true offline machine that can both produce plain labels and finished rolled work from the main presses.
“We needed complete flexibility to maximise the finishing department’s capabilities. The Elite DSR can be used as a die-cutter and/or a conventional slitter rewinder. It incorporates a range of high-specification features more commonly found on more expensive machines as standard, including automatic unwind braking with adjustable roll end, reversible rewind and machine diagnostics.
“The machine flexibility was important to us, but we also benefit from it being so fast and easy to load. It enables our operators to load the dies into the machine without fuss, as the weight of the die is supported by a bottom guide rail.”
Less obviously, the efficiency of the Elite DSR fits in well with Aztec’s sustainability strategy. The company has a large array of 32 solar panels on its roof, which supply a lot of its electrical needs.
“The solar panels have been successfully working now for two years,” Le Gresley says. “In the first few months we couldn’t use all the power created and this went back to the grid. Things have moved on now, and with our continued growth I think we are probably using it all. We are installing a full-time monitoring system so we can check they are performing at full capacity.
“This will also provide data on the overall return to grid. We can then also use this information to evaluate an extension of the system and hopefully, battery storage in the future.”
The Elite DSR fits in with this drive to minimise energy use, says Le Gresley. “Investing in these types of technology that simply plug in like a basic tool, we can save cost while boosting our quality and efficiency.”
Why choose BGM?
Aztec already had experience with the company following its installation of an Elite 410iSR inspection slitter rewinder 12 months earlier. When it came to choosing the Elite DSR, Le Gresley says, “We didn’t look at another machine. We already had a good experience working with Bar Graphic Machinery and didn’t doubt it would work. Again, we like to form strong loyal bonds with our suppliers.”
How did the adoption go?
“Having already purchased a slitter rewinder, the training was minimal,” says Le Gresley. “The machine is compact and is literally plug and play. Within a couple of hours, you are ready to go.
“The machine has worked well, as we expected. I am at heart an operator and have run this machine myself. You can always pick a fault with any press, but you have to be mindful of the cost of this machine. I think it represents excellent value for money. It has allowed us to expand into larger plain label orders without interrupting work on our main presses. All from a 13 Amp plug!”
It’s been reliable too. “We don’t have any service packages with any of our equipment,” says Le Gresley. “We are experienced operators and can fix most things ourselves.
“Thankfully nothing has gone wrong with the machine. It has no minuses, it does exactly what I purchased it to do.”
So, would he buy it again, or recommend it to others? Yes, he says. “The BGM Elite DSR has done everything we had expected of it. We’re delighted with the success of this investment and would definitely recommend it to others.”
Speed Up to 250m/min
Web widths Four supported from 265mm die-cut width on 300mm web width to 480mm die-cut width on 500mm web width
Unwind 2,000 linear metre unwind capacity, diameter 700mm, 76mm air expanding unwind mandrel
Slitting Rotary shear cut
Minimum slit width 13mm three complete sets of blades supplied
Rewind 1,000 linear metres capacity, diameter 406mm, 1x76mm air expanding rewind mandrel
Power 13 Amp single-phase
Air 85psi required
Contact Bar Graphic Machinery www.bargraphic.com 01274 730 981
Aztec Label was founded in 1993 by its current managing director Colin Le Gresley and turns over around £3.2m. It employs about 20 people in a recently expanded 1,765sqm factory in Kidderminster, making a wide range of self-adhesive labels and tags for trade customers. Its main production equipment is four 350mm Nilpeter narrow-web flexo lines with inline finishing, using UV or water based inks, with inline laminating, cold foiling, sheeting/perforating, slot punching, undercutting and camera inspection. There is a Trojan T4 digital inkjet label press with laminating and inline finishing. Offline finishing includes a Bar Graphic Machinery Elite 410iSR inspection slitter rewinder and the new Elite DSR die-cut slitter rewinder.
Why it was bought...
The company wanted to maximise flexibility in its label finishing capabilities. The EDSR is an offline unit that can produce both plain labels and rolled work from the presses. “It brings a piece to the puzzle that was missing, says Le Gresley. “It does this with efficiency and simplicity and without breaking the bank!”
How it has perfomed...
“It has allowed us to expand into larger plain label orders without interrupting work on our main presses,” says Le Gresley.