Cymmetrik Group expands with sleeve labels

Cymmetrik’s new Zhejiang plant uses inline flexo printing technology rather than gravure to explore the sleeve label market

Donald Liao, deputy general manager of Cymmetrik Zhejiang

Donald Liao, deputy general manager of Cymmetrik Zhejiang

Founded in 2021, Cymmetrik Zhejiang, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cymmetrik Group, is mainly engaged in the printing and production of high-end sleeve label products. The establishment of this new company is part of an important diversification strategy into new market segments.

Cymmetrik Group is a prestigious label converter headquartered in Taiwan. It was registered in Taipei, Taiwan in 1969 and started producing labels for the electronics  industry in 1981. It expanded into the household chemicals label sector in 1986 and started to build factories in Shanghai and Shenzhen in 1995. Now the group has 13 manufacturing bases located in Taipei, Tainan, Shenzhen, Kunshan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Yantai, Chongqing, Henan, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Thailand and the United States. The company has offices in Shanghai and the United States.

With over half a century of experience in label printing and production, Cymmetrik Group has been continuously cultivating and expanding into regional markets across
Greater China, Southeast Asia and North America, providing local support and services for global brands.

New needs

Today the production volume of the Cymmetrik Group of companies has reached 12 billion pieces a year, with household chemical labels accounting for 60 percent.

Cymmetrik Shanghai is an important manufacturing base for the household chemical business unit of the whole company. With the development of the Shanghai operation, the original factory space was no longer adequate to meet the needs of the company’s expanding business.

After careful consideration, Cymmetrik decided to further segment the company business into two parts: self-adhesive labels and sleeve labels, which pushed them to set up two new factories. As part of this strategy, the Zhejiang plant was put into operation in December 2022, and the Jiangsu plant began production in May 2023. Shanghai remains an R&D and sales services base.

As the new stronghold of the household chemicals business unit, Cymmetrik Zhejiang mainly produces high-end sleeve
label products, including shrink sleeves, wraparound labels and others.

Sleeve labels are easily removed from the package after use without any residue. Such advantages make it very conducive to the recycling of the whole package

‘Sleeve labels have always been a promising direction we have kept keen eyes on,’ says Donald Liao, deputy general
manager of Cymmetrik Zhejiang.

‘Sleeve labels are easily removed from the package after use without any residue. Such advantages make it very conducive to the recycling of the whole package. In particular, shrink sleeve labels could not only have 360-degree display effects but also are suitable for different bottle types. Under the background of increasingly strict
environmental protection policies, sleeve labels are attracting increasing attention from brand owners.’

Sleeve labels are the third biggest labeling technology in the world by volume, and the current market growth rate has surpassed that of self-adhesive labels, especially in the Asia market.

However, as the Chinese government has gradually tightened its ban on plastic products, sleeve label producers have been affected by the plastics reduction strategies of brand owners.

‘We believe that reducing plastic does not mean completely discarding plastic,’ adds Donald Liao. ‘As a senior label supplier, we need to collaborate with our industry chain partners to scientifically reduce the use of plastic, such as using thinner and lighter plastic label materials while ensuring product performance and promoting recyclable and degradable plastic label products.’

Flexible service

Cymmetrik Zhejiang is equipped with Mark Andy and Spande flexo presses, as well as seaming and automatic inspection systems, with a workshop area of 2,800sqm.

Most sleeve label products today are produced using gravure printing technology. Cymmetrik Zhejiang chose inline flexo presses to produce sleeve label products base on two considerations.

Firstly, the environmental attributes of flexo printing technology, including platemaking, ink and automated press control, not only reduce VOC emissions but also saves on material waste.

Secondly, the flexibility of inline flexo technology, especially for sleeve labels with different finishing requirements such
as cold foil stamping and screen, is met by the modular configuration of modern flexo presses. This makes the entire production process more standardized and automated, which will greatly improve production efficiency and reduce production costs.

The flexo presses at the Zhejiang plant are equipped with inline gravure and rotary screen printing units, allowing a range of olfactory and tactile effects to be achieved, meeting more than 90 percent of the sleeve label printing requirements in this market.

‘The Zhejiang plant aims to provide customers with high-end sleeve label products, utilizing the efficient and flexible
production mode of inline flexo press to achieve multiple combinations of different processes, thereby increasing the added value of label products, boosting brand customers in upgrading their packaging and effectively strengthening brand communication effects,’ says Donald Liao.

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Where sleeve labels are being produced by flexo printing for
the first time, transitioning from gravure, Cymmetrik Zhejiang will collaborate with brand owners and suppliers to optimize the processes from design and proofing to find the most suitable and competitive label solution for customers.

Cymmetrik has also installed a unified ERP system across the group for standardized management and control of procurement and warehousing of materials, as well as production scheduling, print process management, warehouse materials in and finished products out and invoicing. This allows the group to optimize its entire production process, which enhances overall competitiveness and provides customers with consistent delivery of high-quality label products.

Cymmetrik Shanghai was one of the first label converters to
invest in flexographic technology in China. The company has already completed the transformation from letterpress to flexo printing, and from gravure to flexo.

‘Our abundant technical knowledge and practical experience accumulated over many years in the label printing field gave us the confidence to expand flexographic technology into the sleeve labels sector,’ says Donald Liao.

Sustainable development 

Sustainable development is a concept affecting the development and transformation of the whole label printing industry in China. Cymmetrik Group has been implementing the ‘3R’ principles (reduce, reuse and recycle) for many years, and this also applies to the Zhejiang plant.

‘Although labels account for only a small proportion of the
entire product package, as a label converter we can carry through a low-carbon strategy in many ways, including label materials, ink, printing methods and waste recycling, to facilitate the achievement of our customers’ sustainable development goals,’ Liao says.

Nowadays, its clients such as Unilever, P&G, Shanghai Jahwa and many others, have put forward new requirements for environmentally-friendly label products. Regarding production process, Cymmetrik Zhejiang is giving full play to the deep-rooted professional knowledge and trouble-shooting ability of its technical team to reduce the uneconomic use of materials and waste by a range of strategies, including color management, automated
workflow, and introducing advanced layout software – all without affecting customer requirements.

Kevin Liu of Labelexpo Asia, Donald Liao of Cymmetrik Zhejiang, and Yolanda Wang of Labels&Labling during the opening ceremony on Dec 2022

In addition, Cymmetrik Zhejiang promotes a sustainability
revolution in its internal production processes. For example, the ERP system helps achieve a paperless workflow among departments, greatly reducing the amount of paper used by office workers. At the same time, the new factory has strictly implemented environmental protection measures since the beginning of the factory renovation.

The flexibility and modular configuration of modern flexo presses makes the entire production process more standardized and automated, which will greatly improve production efficiency and reduce costs

The main measures include: the current building has adopted photovoltaic power generation, which meets 40 percent of electricity consumption during peak hours; the external walls of the factory use insulation materials to collect and reuse the heat generated during the production process; all presses and finishing equipment in the plant have been equipped with energy-saving and more efficient LED-UV drying systems; ink and solvent wastes are
recycled internally and ink cans are reused.

‘Cymmetrik Zhejiang is the first factory built by the company
during the Covid-19 epidemic, which not only proves our
confidence in the label printing industry, but also keeps our
promise to our customers over the years,’ Donald Liao says.
‘I believe that the Zhejiang plant will quickly develop into
an innovative, high-end sleeve label printing enterprise with
customers’ trust and environmental friendliness.’

Yolanda Wang

  • China editor