Dufex looks to roll out innovative foiling finish through partnerships

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UK-based foiling specialist Dufex Foils has developed an award-winning patented engraved aluminium foil embossing finish for luxury packaging, labels and POS applications and is looking for UK print and packaging firms to roll out the process to a wider audience.

Dufex Foils
Dufex Foils

“I’m looking for print and packaging partners that have client bases in perhaps the cosmetics or drinks industries, or any sectors that have a demand for premium products,” said Dufex Foils managing director Doug McBride.

The process works by partner companies laminating Dufex supplied foils onto paper, which are then run through a conventional or UV litho press running specially developed inks, also supplied by Dufex. Dufex’s engravers then use a test sheet to create a master engraving from which they then develop clichés to create the finished product.

Precise details of the Welwyn Garden City-based firm’s production methods, which use a number of specially developed machines, are a closely guarded secret.

McBride said that in some respects the process is a rival to lenticular or holographic printing, insofar as the 3D effect it offers, although he added that it offered a much more subtle, high-value impact compared with rival processes.

While he admitted the process wasn’t cheap, he said it was highly scalable and just as suited to long-run packaging or label projects as it was to high-value, short-run applications.

“Once the tooling is made, then you can use it many times as you want,” said McBride.

“I’m already talking to several packaging companies, because everybody is looking for a point of difference and on that front this can really deliver as a high-value 3D effect.”

Dufex’s history is in producing decoupage products for the greetings card and craft industries, but McBride, who has a background in the print industry, bought the company two years with two partners: commercial printer Fingerprint FO+, also based in Welwyn Garden City, and substrate manufacturer Frith’s Flexible Packaging in Southend. The three companies then pooled their resources to develop commercial print applications for Dufex’s established foil technology.

McBride is in early talks with Enterprise Europe to take the technology to the continent and is actively looking to create a network of print and packaging partners in the UK and beyond that operate in non-competing sectors, applications or geographies to ensure that the Dufex process maintains an element of exclusivity as a high-return, high added-value process.

“The Chinese tried to replicate the effect several years ago using computer technology, but they found that they couldn’t achieve the same finish as it really requires an engraver to interpret the artwork properly,” said McBride.

“So partners will really be able to offer their clients something that is genuinely unique.”

The process was recently used by Frith’s Flexible Packaging on a limited edition Bugatti wooden cigar humidor produced for Integral Logistics, which won an Alufoil Trophy at Interpack earlier this year. The Award-winning humidor used the Dufex process with a domed resin effect over the Bugatti logo and piano lacquer.


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