The Label Makers (Labmak) has achieved a world first by integrating a Big Foot hot foiling and embossing module from AB Graphics into an MPS EF flexo press.
Investing just shy of £1m in the project, the Bradford-based label specialist first took on the MPS machine in November last year. It was already running two 320mm-wide Big Foot modules, integrated into two Digicon Series 3 digital finishers.
Establishing contact between MPS and AB Graphics, the firm commissioned the pair to collaborate on the development of a Big Foot module that can accommodate material up to 430mm wide – an engineering feat never before undertaken by AB Graphics.
A completed new Big Foot was delivered to Labmak in July and integrated into the 10-colour EF flexo, with the press split into two sections after the eighth unit to make room for the Big Foot and then re-combined into a continuous line.
“When we decided we wanted to do this, I knew I had to ensure a dual partnership between MPS and AB,” said Labmak managing director David Webster. “They needed to talk to each other because the press and the module needed to talk to each other.
“I loved what I had with the smaller Big Foot modules and so I knew I wanted a bigger one and the two ended up doing a fantastic job, even if they had to go back to the drawing board somewhat. Since it was installed I have had no problems with the system whatsoever.
“For our customers, this offers a faster, more efficient and cost-effective solution than we could offer with foiling previously. I am glad we carried out the experiment – guinea pigs have twitchy noses and I am always anxious to advance our offering in surprising ways.”
Labmak’s new Big Foot module can run at speeds of up to 58m/min, according to Webster, and features 50 tons of pressure with the ability to run multiple foil feeds along and across the web for a variety of effects and finishes working in tandem with the multi-substrate EF.
The firm runs three MPS flexo presses in total, was well as four Digicon Series 3 finishers, two Durst Tau 330 digital label presses and a Tau 330 RSC that completed its beta test at the site earlier this month. Webster next anticipates the installation of a second Tau 330 RSC and another Digicon finishing line.
PrintWeek Awards 2017 label printer of the year, the Label Makers expects a £9.5m turnover this year. It employs 75 members of staff at its 2,320sqm site.