Positive ID (PID) Labelling Systems’ first EFI™ Jetrion® digital label press brought in so much new business in just the past two years that the Melbourne, UK-based company recently replaced it with a faster, highly automated EFI Jetrion 4900 inkjet printing, laser cutting and finishing line.
“Our new Jetrion press allows us to deliver high-quality, full-color labels to our customers in a fraction of the time of normal analog flexo print methods,” stated PID Managing Director John Mayers. “We remain dedicated to investment in the business and improving lead times and quality for our customers, and the Jetrion 4900 is a step towards that goal.”
The specialist label production company recently held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony to demonstrate its newly upgraded production line to customers and prospects. Heather Wheeler, Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire, officially opened PID’s new digital print production room, together with Wendy Earp, chair of the Melbourne Parish Council. After the ribbon cutting, Mrs. Wheeler watched as the advanced new UV-inkjet digital press printed a personalized label design based on the UK Parliament’s crown and portcullis logo featuring a complex laser-cut pattern produced in-line.
The press’s ability to handle short runs with high-quality color and complex cut shapes make it a great addition, according to Mayers. “We have a customer base of 2,000,” he said. “A lot of them are small food producers, of specialty honey, pickles and other foods. Others are small breweries that need beer bottle labels in small quantities. Flexo is expensive for them, as the setup alone costs £300, so if they have four products they will have spent £1,200 on setup before anything is even printed. Now they can have very small quantities of full-color labels when they need them, with the option of complex shapes without having to buy metal dies.”
“It was great being asked to officially open and cut the ribbon on the new digital printing press and laser finishing equipment here in Melbourne,” said Mrs. Wheeler. “The machine is a great new tool that will be used to enhance the business further. It’s always a pleasure to see small businesses in South Derbyshire grow, and invest in new equipment for the future. PID Labelling are also setting a great example to other small businesses in Melbourne and across the constituency.”
The complex cut required for the label printed during the open day normally would have required a week to have a die created, and it would have cost several hundred pounds, according to Mayers. “But instead, with our new digital production line,” he said, “we just drew the shape in a design program and saved it as a file.”
Mayers founded PID ten years ago together with his wife, originally as a label print broker in a barn next to his house. When his main print supplier went out of business, he quickly established his own flexographic production facility to fulfill existing clients’ orders. The company’s two-story facility incorporates flexographic production plus sales, admin, design and pre-press. The new Jetrion line is housed in a purpose-built unit attached to PID’s main building.
Dramatic growth with digital print
PID’s expansion with digital follows an initial foray with a small, laser print engine for labels that proved to have too many limitations. Local label converting equipment supplier Grafitec – an authorized EFI Jetrion dealer – gave Mayers a demonstration of the EFI Jetrion 4830 model, and it was clear that the press was the device he needed to jump start growth in the digital space. “After we installed our original EFI Jetrion press we did £250,000 worth of digital business in its first year, up from £50,000 of digital before that,” said Mayers. “It gave us the confidence to look at a bigger machine, which led us to installing the new press exactly two years later.”
While Positive ID still does flexo label work on a variety of equipment, digital provides the biggest growth and the most opportunity. “We started off with three people ten years ago and 18 months ago we increased it to 12,” said Meyers. “Now we employ 24, partly thanks to the increase in digital business.”
The new press is a completely integrated label printing, laser cutting and finishing line, which PID normally runs at 69 feet per minute, though it can be increased to 82 feet per minute. The Jetrion line takes blank substrate up to 9 inches wide, with a print width of 8.3 inches. Files are processed and sent to the printer via an EFI Fiery® system that runs on a server in the print room.
The press’s UV-cure, four-color plus white inkset offers instant drying and a consistent finish regardless of the media. PID’s new Jetrion installation also runs a wide range of standard labelstock substrates, and a corona treatment station on the press can be used to pre-treat challenging stocks to achieve better ink adhesion.
PID’s press includes a dual-laser inline cutting unit, which can cut complex shapes at full speed, eliminating the need for expensive metal dies and lengthy finishing make-ready processes. The press also has an inline back scorer, a matrix stripper, a slitter module and a re-reeling turret that can handle multiple core sizes.