Windmill Tapes and Labels expands finishing capacity with AB Graphic Digicon Series 3
UK-based Windmill Tapes and Labels has installed a Digicon Series 3 finishing line from AB Graphic, as it at seeks to, ‘keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for quality new products and shorter run lengths.’
Founded in 1980 as a Kraft gummed paper printer and converter, Windmill Tapes and Labels has grown through filmic adhesive tapes, moving into label production in 2004. Since then, the label business has grown very strongly. The company now employs 55 people at two sites in Stockport and Manchester Airport, with labels constituting over 60 percent of output of its £6 million turnover.
In 2013 Windmill purchased its first HP digital print engine, a WS 6600, along with a Digicon Series 2. Today printing constitutes the majority of label production, but a large volumes of plain labels and paper-based tapes are still produced.
Andrew Southern, managing director at Windmill Tapes and Labels, explained: ‘We have invested heavily in our manufacturing facility to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for quality new products and shorter run lengths.
‘Windmill is a customer-led organization and we can see more and more demand for variety and unique labelling. This is chiefly driven by the retail industry and the demand for eye catching, point of sale product placement in the supermarkets and online.’
He continued: ‘This demand led us to invest again in label finishing. We print digitally on HP presses and flexographically on Mark Andy’s, but high print quality is now a given and customers want to see other features such as embellishments, foiling, spot varnishes and laminates to provide their products with USPs that make them stand out from the crowd.
‘To this end we recently acquired a new Digicon Series 3 from AB Graphic, our preferred partner in label finishing.’
The specification of the Digicon Series 3 has an added semi rotary screen printing unit, along with two print stations and a turn bar.
Windmill Tapes and Labels also specified time saving automation modules to reduce set-up times.
‘The screen printing unit enables us to provide relief (up to 250 microns) to our labels for applications such as tactile triangles, Braille and spot embellishments,’ noted Southern. ‘The turn bar delam/relam unit means we can print on the reverse or adhesive side of labels.
‘Set-up times on the Digicon Series 3 are much quicker these days thanks to the easy die loading and auto knife settings. As run lengths become shorter, this is important, so we can keep speed with both the HP WS6600 and WS6800 digital presses. Our operators find the Digicon easy to operate and ABG give us first class support both online (linked in to the machine) and through training programs.’
Southern concluded: ‘We see this acquisition complimenting the current label production facility and are confident it will enable us to keep our customers satisfied in terms of quicker lead times and overall quality.’
Tony Bell, sales director at AB Graphic, added: ‘Windmill Tapes and Labels are another UK success story. Despite having grown its label business in a relatively short time, the company embraces new technology to offer new exciting labels to its customers.
‘The introduction of digital printing has put a greater emphasis on converters to stand apart from their competitors. One of the ways this can be done is to offer tactile embellishments and novelty labels.’