Baker Labels expands into pouches

Jo Francis
Monday, October 28, 2019

Baker Labels is entering the pouch market with a new brand and a £2m spend on equipment and facilities.

The Brentwood, Essex-based trade label printing specialist has set up a new division – BakPac – for the upcoming offering of flexible packaging and pouches.

Managing director Steve Baker said the firm had been looking into the potential new market for the past couple of years and it was the right time to make the move.

“The conversations and chatter that have been happening recently among the packaging people and HP are exactly the same kind of conversations that were happening 15 years ago with label people and it’s very rare that you get that sort of opportunity come round twice,” he explained.

Equipment for the new venture includes an HP Indigo 20000 digital web press, an Enprom thermal laminator and a Karlville Pouchmaker, which was on show at Labelexpo in September as part of HP’s ‘digital pouch factory’ exhibit.

The firm is also refurbishing a unit within its factory to hold BakPac as part of the circa £2m spend, which will include an innovation centre and testing laboratory.

It will continue to focus on the trade market with the new venture.

“We’re continuing our position as suppliers to the trade market not end users, so we’ll be offering digital flexibility and short runs to current label printers looking to offer flexible packaging and to traditional flexible packaging manufacturers who may have turned customers away that require quick turnaround and short runs,” Baker said.

He cited special offers, seasonal promotions, new brand testing, and the testing of new materials such as recyclable and biodegradable substrates as being among the potential applications.

"Our emphasis will be on the niche market of special finishes and materials, and short runs. It’s not volume we’re after, it’s the niche market. We’re ambitious enough to have installed a power supply for a second press in the future!" 

Phil Smith, who has spent more than 20 years in the labels industry, most recently at Multi Packaging Solutions, has been recruited as general manager of BakPac, and the business has been working closely with HP over recent months on training.

“Our operators have been gaining the relevant qualifications to run the new 20000 press and we’re working towards BRC accreditation. The materials has been a new language to learn which seemed daunting in the beginning but when you consider that there are already over 500 different self-adhesive materials it was just a matter of learning a few more,” Baker added.

BakPac is set to be up and running at the beginning of next year.

Family-owned Baker Labels employs 98 staff and has sales of more than £10m.

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