One of Europe’s largest capacity card manufacturers has invested over £300,000 in unique Sakurai technology to enhance special finishes.
Nitecrest claims the new Sakurai MS 80 SD is one of the first in the UK card industry and changes the way special finishes are added to gift and loyalty cards. It was installed last month.
The new technology is in addition to existing kit and alleviates alignment issues when overprinting screen-print finishes such as high-gloss varnish on logos and text.
Commonly plastic card printers experience distortion when laminating sheets which can cause registration issues when applying popular metallic finishes such as gold and silver.
Group chairman Ronnie Hart said: “We move card stock around different machines but this machine lets us do it all in one.
“We are responding to demand; as a group we invest in machinery as and when needed. The Sakurai speeds up delivery and offers better output of quality than what's available in the market.”
Hart said a big problem with other kit was creasing of lamination before cutting, but the new gear eliminated the need to guillotine distorted edges by printing directly onto heat-laminated sheets.
“The real stand-out-feature of this technology is the camera auto alignment, which ensures accuracy and big stand-out quality for the finished product.”
Nitecrest has over 25 years experience in the plastic card industry manufacturing cards for gift, loyalty and banking in the UK and exporting to over 140 countries worldwide.
It produces more than five million cards on a daily basis from its 12,000sqm Visa and MasterCard secure facility in Lancashire. Other kit includes two Svecia screen presses.
Early this year the plastic card manufacturer and printer boosted its production capacity with the installation of an Otto Künnecke KS 104 P two-stage punch costing around £240,000.
And two years ago Nitecrest spent £500,000 on the UK's first Kern K91 plastic card affixing-and-inserting machine with print capability.
Hart explained that special effects on cards were a growing requirement in the gift card industry, but that retailers were disappointed with the screen printing of special effects.
“We wanted to change that. This new technology uses cameras and auto alignment on a screen press to ensure the cards of clients or retailers stand out from the crowd when on display,” Hart said.
An added bonus was the machine operated at nearly double the speed of Nitecrest's two other screen presses, so it was a “massive increase” in daily capacity.
A Natgraph drying system on the machine allowed instant drying, with no need to rack the card sheets for further drying.
Technical director John Hart added: “The new system is up and running the results are phenomenal. We can achieve results on this new press that were previously unheard of.
“To say this is one of our best investments is an understatement. It is a game-changer in card finishing and takes our card plant a level above our competitors.”