Scotland-based Label Tec has installed the first Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 230 press in the UK to increase its digital printing capacity. New machine replaced yet another UK-first bizhub C71cf press installed by the converter five years ago.
Label Tec has been using Konica Minolta’s technology since 2004, when it brought in the first VP8020 laser color printer; a sprocket-fed machine which offered 25 impressions per minute. Powered by a Konica Minolta print engine, this was the company’s entry into digital printing.
‘We found that as soon as customers heard the word digital, they got very excited about it, but it was very much in its infancy when we moved into it,’ explained Paul Dunne, managing director and one of the Label Tec’s founding partners.
‘We worked closely with Konica on this project and the press produced very nice work for us over the years,’ said Dunne, explaining that the cooperation continued, with feedback from Label Tec helping to shape the development of the AccurioLabel 230. ‘We are very happy with the AL230, because it has everything we wanted: web guides, higher speed and even the ability to slit. And the toner works incredibly well with our foiling, which has been an added bonus, so it was an easy choice to invest.’
The AccurioLabel 230 has played a vital role in keeping Label Tec’s customers supplied with labels during the Covid-19 crisis, despite a large part of the company’s staff being furloughed while most others are working from home to comply with social distancing.
‘The AL230 is so easy to run, and with no plates to worry about our pre-press guy can work from home and just transfer the print files. We are now putting a lot of specialist jobs on the press that we wouldn’t necessarily have printed digitally before, and it is coping well with it all. The print is even resistant to alcohol – I tested some polypropylene by rubbing it with hand sanitizer and it’s bulletproof,’ added Dunne.
‘As well as the upsurge in demand for durable labels for hand sanitizers, ventilators and diagnostic equipment, we are also seeing new customers coming to us for other reasons related to the crisis,’ continued Dunne. ‘Some are spreading the risk and ordering from several label printers rather than putting all their eggs in one basket, while others are ordering extra stock in so they can hit the ground running when production starts to ramp up again.’
‘With supply chains disrupted due to the pandemic, there have been many changes in the market. We are seeing jobs coming back from places like China, as buyers are forced to find more reliable ways of supplying labels,’ commented Steve Lakin, label press sales consultant at Konica Minolta Business Solutions in the UK. ‘With the AccurioLabel 230 well-established in Airdrie, Label Tec Scotland can support all types of customers with high-quality labels, with just minimum staff on site. And with their long history with Konica Minolta, Paul knows this technology better than anyone else and he’s not afraid to push the boundaries.’