Plastic card manufacturer Nitecrest has spent £500,000 on a plastic card affixing-and-inserting machine with print capability to increase productivity and capacity and push up turnover.
The Lancashire-based company, which processes over one billion cards a year, has invested in a K91 machine from Kern to tighten up on accurate end-to-end audit control and to attach multiple cards to a carrier.
The machine is billed as the first of its kind to be installed in the UK and includes a full-colour CMYK printer for white paper cutsheet processing.
Kern installed the K91 in late March alongside Nitecrest's existing plant, including 20 Atlantic Zeiser printing, cutting and wrapping machines and Bürkle and Ga Vehren laminating and finishing kit.
The K91 offers high-speed integrated sheet feeding and folding technology, ability to read all necessary code types on the card and carriers and robot technology for card affixing.
It also enables Nitecrest to track the entire affixing process from start to finish.
Sales director John Hart said: “It is a priority for Nitecrest to ensure our customers receive an integral system that is not subject to human error.
“This has become of increasing importance to the business following our expansion into the financial market, providing institutions with prepaid, secure-pack, MasterCard and Visa cards.
“The K91 machine will enhance our ability to fulfil both large- and small-scale production requirements thanks to its 4,000 pieces per hour output.”
Managing director Ronnie Hart said his 250-staff business hoped the new investment would add about £2m to the existing turnover of £25m in two years.
“We hope the new purchase will push us into the growing gift card market – instead of vouchers and coupons, stores are giving plastic cards, which are seen as giving more value.
“We chose the K91 because Kern has a strong place in the enveloping-inserting and card-attaching market.
“We have had German and Swiss machines that have always been quite good at putting a card on a letter but have struggled on the inserting side. Kern's background is in inserting and card attaching.
“We typically spend £500,000 to £1m a year on new equipment and have been looking at the Kern for five or six years, watching developments. Kern has made progress and the time is right.”
Four high-capacity insert feed stations, document grouping, envelope inserting and sealing, and PCL production control reporting software ensure audit trails of each completed pack.
The single-run processing system will help Nitecrest process both short-run complex daily production and large batch work efficiently.
It was suited to its requirements because of its ability to provide a camera audit from start to end which ensures Nitecrest and its customers receive a secure and reliable service, said Hart.
Sensors at each stage of the input channels and base system detect and track each card, carrier sheet and ultimately, the completed pack.
A variety of insert types can be processed from the four servo controlled high-capacity feeders where inserts are added to the card-affixed pack on either a selective or fixed count basis.
This enables Nitecrest’s customers to amalgamate a range of business collateral with plastic cards including terms and conditions, promotional leaflets and communications booklets or flyers.
Kern UK national sales manager Alan Thompson said: “Every element of Nitecrest’s current and known future requirements around this project were identified and worked through in detail."