Baker Labels, a trade label manufacturer has added a new flexible packaging arm to the company with the launch of BakPac. BakPac will manufacture digitally printed flexible packaging in the form of stand-up pouches, pillow pouches, shrink wrap and printed film.
BakPac was officially opened on 12 Feb with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Marian Baker, who founded Baker Labels with her husband Roy in 1973.
The $3.2M USD investment in BakPac included a factory expansion and renovation plus the installation of three new presses that will allow the whole process of manufacturing flexible packaging within the same facility. The process involves digital printing on an HP Indigo 20000, thermal lamination on an Enprom thermal laminator and pouch conversion on a Karville pouchmaker. The business model is geared towards offering the trade print and traditional flexible packaging industries the option of offering short to medium runs of digitally printed pouches their customers.
‘It’s a big step to move into the manufacture of flexible packaging so we’ve been planning this for a couple of years,’ said Steve Baker, managing director at Baker Labels. ‘Making the equipment investments, designing the factory refurbishment and the training and educating of our staff all took meticulous planning and a lot of time but it’s been a brilliant journey and we’ve had great support from HP, ABG and Karville along the way. I’m more than confident that it’s the right decision for Bakers and I’m excited about the future.’
The production of digitally printed flexible packaging is a more sustainable option for packaging compared to traditional methods and more environmentally friendly, with reduced waste and energy consumption during production, reduced carbon emissions and zero hazardous chemicals, less material used in production and less fuel used to ship the finished product.
In addition BakPac will offer recyclable, compostable and biodegradable material options to customers.
With a much reduced time to market and the option to order only what is required rather than their large minimum order quantities, traditional packaging manufacturers will now, through BakPac, be able to benefit from offering seasonal or event-driven promotions, market testing packaging and product life cycle solutions.
As a trade supplier BakPac will offer production of complete pouches, print only roll stock, print and laminate, pouch conversion from customer printed stock, material supplied by customer, concept proofing and white label packaging and invoicing.
Phil Smith joined Baker Labels in June 2019, and is the general manager of BakPac.
‘The prospect of joining the Bakers business and running such an exciting project was too good to resist, having seen the evolution of digital in the labels industry and understanding what benefits it would bring to the flexible packaging market I wanted to be a part of that journey,’ he said. ‘From joining the business and hitting the ground running eight months ago we have converted an empty warehouse into a state of the art digtial flex pack factory which involved a new mezzanine floor, room build, high voltage substation install, internal power circuit revamp, three machine installs, staff training, testing equipment and BRC standard program. It has been such an exciting and busy few months all made possible by the support of an incredible team at Bakers.’
The HP 20000 was the first major investment for the BakPac plan, being delivered and installed in August 2019 before being wrapped up for protection as the factory and BakPac facility was refurbished and constructed around it. Baker Labels already produces labels on three HP Indigo 6900 presses and has a long established relationship with HP since first producing digitally printed labels on an HP 4050 in 2006 so it was a natural progression with the move to flexible packaging to continue the investment with HP.
The HP 20000 is a proven application fit for food packaging and with technology such as HP Smartsteam Mosaic and Collage it can offer variable images, data and brand protection. In addition, HP ElectroInk is fit for use in compostable and recyclable packaging
Enprom is a company of AB Graphic International and Kocher & Beck. Baker Labels has a long-established relationship with AB Graphic, with a fleet of Digicon finishing equipment for label embellishments and finishing. So when Steve Baker heard of the connection to Enprom he knew they would be able to manufacture a thermal laminating machine suitable for the digitally printed flexible packaging market. Steve worked closely with Matt Burton and the Enprom engineers as they designed and built their first ever thermolaminating machine and delivered it to Bakers in December 2019.
For the conversion of the printed, laminated film we invested in the first ever dual web Karville Pouchmaker. As well as the expected folding of a wide web of material to create a pouch with doyen or K-seal, this Karville allows the production of pouches with different materials on the front and reverse as well as another for the gusset. It has a very low scrap rate during machine start-up, changeovers and roll changes therefor reducing waste.