Saxon Packaging has brought large-format litho lamination in-house with a new Lamina Blackline 1620.
The 1.6x2m format machine was installed at the company’s Suffolk premises at the beginning of August with training and commissioning taking place during the second week of the month.
To support the installation, the company expanded into an additional unit to house the new machine and took on two new staff, in marketing and sales. It is currently recruiting for customer service staff to deal with increasing trade.
The Lamina is a high-speed sheetfed fully automatic laminating and mounting machine. It provides a sheet that is ready for die-cutting into luxury, high-end retail and promotional packaging, a growing market for Saxon.
Sales manager Mike Impson said: “As a company we have seen an increased demand for decoratively printed packaging. Litho printing offers the highest quality of print available. With a high percentage of purchasing decisions made in-store, the use of colour and print enhancement to stimulate buyers helps deliver immediate brand recognition.
“Mounting these printed sheets to corrugated allows us to manufacture packaging that creates and promotes the brand in a highly effective manner.
"We used to sub out our litho laminating work; having the Lamina gives us more control and flexibility. We can do short runs if required; we can do tests on particular jobs if we want.”
The company flexo prints in-house in two or three colours but has invested heavily in litho lamination over the past decade. It subs out litho print, typically ranging from 170gsm to 225gsm, and then mounts sheets to lamination grades of fluted material for customers.
“Being a brand new machine it’s extremely accurate. With older machines the work can move about too much and that affects how a job goes through the die-cutter, which has to be really accurate. So a job that should take two hours can sometimes take five. And it can be longer than that for longer-run jobs. We do runs of up to 50,000 sheets.
The Lamina has a list price of £360,000 and is part of an 18 month, £1.5m investment programme at the company, which employs 53 people and has a turnover of £5.5m.
As well as new machinery, the company also extended its factory and added a biomass heating system.
A Bobst Vision Cut SP0160 was also installed during the second quarter of last year to increase capacity and offer a faster turnaround, at a time when the company “won significant contracts”.