Contact Originators enters flexibles and labels with Esko

Company becomes the first in EMEA to install three CDI Crystal flexo imagers with XPS Crystal exposing units  

(L-R) Steve Mulchay, CEO, Gary Walker, finance director, both Contact Originators, with Mike Ball, Esko flexo sales manager

(L-R) Steve Mulchay, CEO, Gary Walker, finance director, both Contact Originators, with Mike Ball, Esko flexo sales manager

Flexographic plates manufacturer Contact Originators (Contact) has entered the flexible packaging and label markets with an investment in Esko CDI Crystal XPS imager.  

The company has invested 32,500 square feet on a super site in Dukinfield, Manchester, to well over 5m EUR since moving to the facility in March 2021. Today, the company has become the first in the EMEA region to house three machines on one site.  

Steve Mulcahy, CEO, Contact Originators Group, said: ‘This investment underpins our business growth and development for 2023 and beyond. We believe it’s critical for the future of platemaking and provides greater capacity for us as we gain market share in the flexible and label markets and back up our already established corrugated business. After a period of rebuilding and installing industry-leading and unique equipment, we are now in phase two of our growth strategy. After seeing an influx of new customers this year across all flexo print disciplines, including wide web flexibles, further investment makes complete commercial sense. This new CDI Crystal XPS represents the start of a new era at Contact. We always have one eye on the future and are excited to bring best-in-class technologies and expertise to the flexibles and label arenas.’  

The company decided to enter new markets in addition to its corrugated packaging operations. 

The CDI Crystal XPS will be installed next week in a dedicated HD production hall for flexible packaging and label plates. It is expected to be fully operational before mid-April and provides Contact with three completely inline flexo workflows for integrated and automated platemaking.  

Nick Mitchell, operations director, added: ‘We are setting the standard for screening technology with the CDI Crystal XPS. As a long-standing Beta testing partner for Esko, it enables us to exploit future screening developments, continues to be early adopters and ensures we stay ahead of the market. With two CDI Crystal XPS’ already in place, the solution has already proven itself as setting the standard in flexo platemaking. The equipment fully integrates into our existing workflows; it’s a “plug and play” solution that provides the business with even greater production security as we grow, enabling us to offer customers more flexibility.’ 

The CDI Crystal reduces manual steps and operator intervention and reduces errors. With UV main and back exposure, the XPS Crystal uses LEDs that require no warm-up time and emit even light.  

James Mason, Esko regional business director, said: ‘We are delighted to be the partner of choice for Contact Originators as they standardize their platemaking with 100 percent Esko solutions. Adding a third line of CDI Crystal XPS plate imaging and exposure hardware to an already impressive setup now enables Contact Originators to diversify its offering and increase its productivity while ensuring the quality of the plate and resulting print quality. We are proud to be a part of this exciting period for Steve and the team as they continue to develop. We look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come.’  

‘Brands and their print partners must be on top of their game with every run, regardless of length and complexity. As one of the most established and trusted names in corrugated packaging prepress solutions, we’re now leveraging three decades of experience and technical capability to uplift and enhance print origination far beyond industry standards for converters of every size and market,’ Mulcahy concluded.