CS Labels takes first steps into inkjet with latest investment round


CS Labels has added inkjet production to its offering for the first time after investing in a range of associated kit, including the first Xeikon PX3000 press in the UK.

The Xeikon PX3000 is part of a wider inkjet investment at CS Labels
The Xeikon PX3000 is part of a wider inkjet investment at CS Labels

The machine was installed at the beginning of December alongside the UK’s first GM DC350 finishing line, which runs at 80m/min and was bought to complement the PX3000, and a GM SR350 slitter-rewinder with inspection.

The new kit is all additional for the Wolverhampton-based dry toner specialist, which operates from 1,858sqm premises.

CS Labels managing director Simon Smith told Printweek: “We are a dry toner Xeikon house and this is not a replacement of dry toner. We are well aware of the limitations of dry toner and there are certain jobs that are more suitable to be done from an inkjet point of view.

“So for us, trying the inkjet was about the opportunity to open up new markets that previously the dry toner wasn’t well established in, particularly health and beauty.”

He added: “You’ve got advantages of dry toner; it’s food safe, you can print 1,200dpi, but inkjet sometimes just gives you something a bit different, more punchy, and you can run at speeds of 50 metres a minute. Some people like the tactile element, the feel to the ink, and technically it’s an easier technology to operate.

“We’re looking at things like doing peel and reveal on inkjet, and looking at printing different commercial applications inkjet, so it’s not a replacement of dry toner, it’s something that’s complementary.

“We think there’s a big role for inkjet in the future and we need to be planning for it and learning now rather than waiting for the market to pass us by and somebody else take that initiative.”

CS Labels conducted a comprehensive review of the market before opting with its longstanding dry toner supplier Xeikon for the inkjet investment as Smith said the two companies have shared aspirations for the future and a strong partnership which he wanted to continue and develop.

He added the company is still “very much committed to dry toner” where it runs a recently installed CX500 dry toner press and three existing CX3 machines from Xeikon.

It previously operated four CX3s but exchanged one for the CX500 and plans to replace the other three over the coming years, either with dry toner or inkjet equipment depending on where the greatest efficiency savings lie at the time of investment, according to Smith.

“We need to put in a roadmap where we’re hopefully either migrating to the next generation of the technology or looking to gain efficiencies and cost savings by perhaps printing wider,” he added.

“So where we’ve gone with the inkjet, we’ve actually also made a bigger investment into dry toner because we are great believers in it.”

The business, which has 60 staff and turns over more than £6m, has invested over £1m on its new inkjet and dry toner kit. The reigning Printweek Awards Label Printer of the Year, it has also just gone live with its new website.

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