Reflex Group is in the final stages of a re-equip of its label division that has seen £9m invested in 2017 and is intended to combat rising input costs and standardise production.
The group has been updating its kit line-up for the past two years, with the lion's share of the £9m spent this year used on seven Mark Andy Performance Series flexo label presses, the last of which is due to be installed at its Mansfield site in September.
Along with the Mark Andys, which have been installed throughout the summer, the group took five EF-series MPS flexo label presses across its sites earlier this year, four FTS plate mounters and 16 AVT Helios inspection systems.
“This is all part of a big investment that started at the end of last year, and we took 12 new machines the year before as well,” said Reflex Group chief executive Ian Kendall.
“From the investment in the year before we’ve already seen the benefits, helping us to mitigate against material cost increases as sterling goes down. So we are spending and investing to mitigate these costs.
“When the final presses come in in September, the average age of presses in the group, including old ones, will be less than two years.”
The Mark Andys range from four to 10-colour specification and are all either P3 or P5 series machines. The 430mm-wide machines can print at up to 230m/min and can run a wide variety of label substrates and films.
Aside from Mansfield, the six other Mark Andy machines have been installed at Reflex Labels’ Boston, Lincolnshire facility.
The MPS machines were installed earlier this year across Reflex’s Label Plus division in Keighley, Yorkshire and Barwell, Leicestershire. There are two nine-colours, two 10-colours and one eight-colour, with seven Bobst Gidue presses taken out of the Boston site at a similar time.
Kendall added: “This basically gives us a lot more capacity. It’s helping us with our standardisation process.
“Everything in Reflex Labels is going to be the Mark Andy performance series platform and everything in Label Plus is going to be MPS. It helps with standardisation and flexibility and makes it a lot easier with big jobs to offer standardised loads of jobs.”
The FTS mounters, manufactured by Altrincham, Greater Manchester-based JM Heaford, have been installed across the Barwell, Mansfield and Boston sites and will all be in operation before the end of August
Reflex Labels operations director Paul Sefton said that the new FTS’s will “deliver considerable efficiency improvements”.
“It mounts plates more than twice as fast as a conventional mounter. Then when you factor in its accuracy, easy operation and the minimal human intervention required, it all adds up to a huge advantage for production on the kind of scale we are handling at each Reflex site,” added Sefton.
Mansfield-headquartered Reflex, which last year became the UK's first Landa customer, also has sites in Newcastle, Kent, Telford, Ilkeston and Castleford. The £80m-turnover group employs around 560 staff.
Kendall said that as turnover continues to increase, headcount will not increase at the same rate.