Bristol Labels establishes digital service with Epson buy

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, June 12, 2015

Bristol Labels has invested in an Epson SurePress L-4033AW inkjet label press to bring digital label production in-house and boost its production capacity by around 20%.

The system, which has been supplied with an Esko Digital Front-End and a Grafisk DC330 finishing system as part of a £250,000 investment, will be installed at the firm’s 446sqm premises next week.

The SurePress, which will replace a four-colour Dataply flexo press, will join an existing eight-colour Nilpeter FA 200 analogue press, an Omega 330 label printer and a Memjet desktop printer.

The device uses the Epson AQ aqueous ink-set, including opaque white, orange and green, to produce high-quality, wide colour-gamut labels on a range of materials, including clear and metallic substrates.

The firm chose the Epson machine after looking at a wide range of other digital presses on the market from manufacturers including Xeikon, HP and Durst.

“Speed wasn’t an issue. We wanted the best quality, water-based inks and the ability to use the same standard substrates that we use on the Nilpeter press, and the SurePress was the best solution,” said managing director Paul Stokes.

“Run lengths are also getting shorter. While 10,000-20,000 label orders used to be the norm, now 3,000-5,000 label volumes ordered more frequently is pretty standard. The business of label printing is changing and this investment ensures we keep ahead of the game.”

The business had been outsourcing digital work for around five years but decided that it would be more cost-effective to invest in new kit and keep the work in-house.

“Immediately we can bring in-house the short-run jobs we have previously contracted out, and that alone will have a direct impact on our bottom line,” said Stokes.

“We can get jobs onto the inkjet SurePress in less than half the time it takes to prepare jobs for the analogue press so it gives us considerable flexibility, in addition to the ability to produce customised label batches and individually personalised labels very easily.”

Stokes said the new press will also reduce the firm’s waste.

Bristol Labels has 10 staff, including two recently hired apprentices, and a turnover of £1m. It’s aiming to increase its turnover by around £500,000 over the next two years.

The business specialises in producing labels primarily for breweries, ice cream firms, chemical products and cosmetic manufacturers.

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