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Label success for Chilean commercial printer

Iganacio Ramos, commercial manager at R&R Impresores, speaking at Label Summit Latin America 2020

A Chilean converter with a background in commercial rotary and sheet-fed printing is finding success in the label and packaging markets as it continues its quest to diversify its business. 

R&R Impresores commercial manager Igancio Ramos recently spoke at Label Summit Latin America 2020, held in March in Santiago, Chile, about his company’s decision to turn to the label market.

The company began 30 years ago on a foundation of commercial print, producing 50 to 60 editorial magazines per month. ‘As time went by, however, we realized we were facing some difficulties in that market,’ recalls Ramos. ‘That means that this migration can be a life or death situation for a company. For us, it had to happen. We couldn’t wait any longer. 

‘The migration of print forms that is occurring worldwide in printing presses is fascinating, versatile and very accelerated,’ he says. ‘Any means of improving your processes, diversifying or simply reinventing is something that should be done and should be in the plans of each printer right now.’

About six years ago, the company turned to folding cartons and gift box packaging. After a year of research and installing equipment purchased at Labelexpo Americas 2018 – an HP Indigo 6900 digital press, and Digicon Series 3 and Digicon Omega from AB Graphic – R&R Impresores officially entered the label market in mid-2019. Label production already makes up 12 percent of the company’s business, and Ramos expects that to rise to 25 percent by mid-2021. 

Markets 
R&R Impresores caters primarily to the wine and spirits segment. Its move into label and packaging production has allowed the company to expand other parts of its business. 

‘Our label operation has enabled us to diversify our solutions for our folding carton customers,’ Ramos says. ‘Imagine that under one roof we can make a label and a gift box for a wine customer, and also the paper to wrap it, plus its commercial printing such as a catalog or sustainability report, all simultaneously. It’s also worth noting that we have grown enormously in the gift box sector for wines and spirits because of our entry into labels.’

Other Chilean printers have been slow to adopt diversification on the same level as R&R Impresores, but Ramos says it’s only a matter of time before more follow suit.

‘I believe that if we do not diversify, the market and globalization will do it for us. In a market evolving so quickly, if you don’t offer what customers expect, they will leave you behind,’ he says. ‘It is not common for a flexible packaging company to migrate towards folding cartons or vice versa, but if that is what the market demands, it is necessary to investigate. Undoubtedly, the more solutions offered to a particular customer under one roof, the more value that company will have in the market.

‘We have gone from commercial rotary printing to commercial printing on sheets. Then about six years ago we moved to folding carton packaging, and very recently to labels. All four areas are still operating today at R&R, but these last two represent 80 percent of our annual revenue. In that sense, I think we are a good example of what conversion means and how transcendental it can be for the survival of a printing company.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chelsea McDougall is North America editor for Labels & Labeling.

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