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New Addition Cements Firm’s Digital Labels Move | Project Profile

Posted in CS Labels News by Admin on 08:34 October 01st, 2013
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CS Labels took a gamble by being an early adopter of digital label print technology. But now that the market is mature, the company is reaping the benefits. The time was right to upgrade further, discovers Philip Chadwick.


Who CS Labels

Aim In five years, CS Labels had bought a raft of digital print equipment from Xeikon. With clients demanding reduced run lengths, the company needed an additional digital press to improve productivity

Spend Undisclosed

What Xeikon 3500 wide format digital label press

When Late 2012

Challenge

Simon Smith was a bank manager when he was given a chance to run a business – his father-in-law’s label printer company. CS Labels, based in the West Midlands, was a short-run flexo firm and, after six months in the hot seat, Smith wondered if he’d made the right decision.“I was doing the job part time and thought I had bitten off more than I could chew,” he recalls. “But there was an opportunity to develop the business.” 

    

In 2008, the company purchased its first digital label press from Xeikon. The acquisition was made in line with the changing times for the self adhesive labels sector – run lengths were coming down and there was scope for projects incorporating variable data. Digital was a far departure from the company’s existing technology and the digital strategy didn’t initially impress one person in particular. Smith says: “My father-in-law said that digital will never work and that ‘you will never make money from it’. After the first week I thought he may have been right.”

However, the technology eventually paid off. One year later CS Labels bought its second press and, over time, phased out its flexo operation. The company retains two screen process presses and acquired Xeikon’s latest machine to boost productivity.


CS Labels Strategy For Growth


CS Labels managed to secure a “sizeable” grant from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to buy the press. “It is vital to monitor the availability of such grant options,” says Smith. “The availability of this funding was an important factor in our purchase decision, particularly with the additional cash required to re-fit the new building. It ensures that our cash flow continues to remain positive and we don’t overstretch ourselves in any one direction.”

The purchase was a Xeikon 3500 digital label press and fitted in with the company’s digital print strategy. “The gamut of digital is expanding all the time,” adds Smith. “Short run is certainly a key point of focus but the flexibility, versatility and quality offered by the process are now more important than ever, and are seen as real selling points by our sales people. We don’t sell digital on price – we sell on innovation.”


New Technology Implementation For UK‘s Biggest Label Printers


The press offered CS Labels a bigger label stock width. Its existing units produce self-adhesive and other types of labels at a 330mm wide web width – the 3500 prints on a width of 516mm. This gave CS Labels more flexibility as several jobs could be run across a single sheet. The width is designed not only to boost productivity while printing window stickers or self-adhesive labels, but also to reduce productions costs.

The machine went into CS Labels in November 2012 and the machine is the fifth Xeikon press purchased in five years with the company trading two of them out of the business during previous upgrade cycles.

As well as the new press, the company also made adjustments to its site. The business expanded into an adjacent unit at its Willenhall Trading Estate location. The move allowed the company to double its office space, add a board room and expand its studio facilities. The expansion also provided a dedicated facility for the new Xeikon press.


What Were The Results Of Digital Label Printing?


The new press has boosted the business and provided it with greater options – among the applications it has been able to develop ‘peel & reveal’ labels, window stickers and self-adhesive labels together with many others. The company has also installed the Xeikon Color Control System – a cloud-based colour management software product. CS Labels also plans to make digital finishing equipment its next investment.

The firm has picked up new business and is now the biggest Xeikon digital label printer in Europe. “Our operators are overcoming issues, or digital job challenges, due to the experience that they have built up over the years,” says Smith. “I am quite convinced that no other digital label printer in the UK could have handled some of the more complex jobs that we have produced this year.”

He adds that the investment in digital technology has paid off and allowed the company to differentiate itself in the marketplace. Smith also says that the company can take on big orders – one quote has gone as high as 22m units. “We find that bigger players have a clear understanding of the benefits offered by digital label printing and are very confident about embracing the technology,” he adds.

One convert to digital technology has been Smith’s father-in-law. “I invited him back to look at our investments,” recalls Smith, “and he said: ‘you’ve cracked it’.”

If you‘d like to find out more about digital labels, contact us now on 01902 365840.