A boom in work from retail customers has prompted Sato UK to invest £1.1m in two new Mark Andy presses.
The Performance Series P3 and P5 six-colour presses replaced two 20-year-old Mark Andy 2200 machines and went live last month in a new £7m facility beside the company's existing base.
They run alongside another Mark Andy P5, two Gallus models - a 20in EM-510 and a 16in EM-410, and two AB Graphic label converters in the firm's new 3,000sqm base in Harwich.
Sato UK makes £13m turnover from labelling and auto-identification systems. It has 100 staff serving the retail, healthcare and restaurant sectors.
General manager Jason Wise said: “An upturn in retail work meant we needed more capacity. Two older Mark Andy machines did not have the quality or throughput we needed.”
He added: “The Performance Series of presses offers us high-speed changeovers, cost-efficient production and the high-quality output our customers demand.”
The new depot houses office space, manufacturing and warehousing facilities. The older factory was twice as big but had been used by the company since 1958 when it moved from east London.
“It was an old office with poor lighting, no air conditioning and oil heating that cost £100,000 a year to run. The new base next door is 12 metres high, modern and excellent for warehousing,” said Wise.
The older building may be demolished to make way for an industrial unit or housing. Sato UK is in the first year of a five-year plan to boost its turnover by £7m to £20m.
“Such growth may sound amazing. But though labels represent 70% of our business, we also offer auto-identification and other solutions and we see the growth in systems rather than labels,” said Wise.
An improved office with a modern waste management system further improves productivity and reduces the Sato UK environmental footprint, Wise added.
The production floor is a temperature- and humidity-controlled cleanroom with a positive pressure to minimise contaminants when printing labels, tickets and tags.