22 January 2015
Burntwood, UK & Eede, The Netherlands,
Mercian Labels installs world’s first Xeikon Cheetah
Xeikon, an innovator in digital color printing technology, is pleased to announce the first installation of its breakthrough Xeikon Cheetah digital label press, just months after the dedicated label printing solution was announced. UK-based Mercian Labels is the world’s first pilot site of the Xeikon Cheetah and has chosen this innovative, high-speed press to help it continue its double-digit growth path. Xeikon Cheetah, the most productive five-color digital label press in its class, will be installed early February at Mercian Labels’ new factory in Staffordshire, and run alongside their existing Xeikon 3000 Series digital press; as well as hotfoiling, flexo and inkjet technologies for an exceptionally robust label manufacturing platform.
Dr. Adrian Steele, Managing Director of Mercian Labels, comments: “We have chosen to adopt the latest generation of Xeikon digital label printing technology on the back of above-average growth in the digital part of our business, where we have run out of production capacity. Adding the Xeikon Cheetah will better position us for expected growth and we are confident the capacity to be quickly filled.”
Prior to the investment, Mercian Labels thoroughly evaluated other potential options available on the market. “We looked at competitive technologies from liquid toner to UV inkjet as well as the latest offers from Xeikon dry toner,” says Steele. “Every investment has to have a ROI. We like to sweat our assets, regardless of whether they are software or hardware. We are in the business of making money – not just labels. Everything has to earn its keep, and we are convinced that the Xeikon Cheetah will definitely do just that.”
Time and cost measurements
“The advantages of the new press will be measurable in terms of speed and reduced running costs,” continues Steele. “As a result, we expect to take more market share from what is traditionally flexo territory as digital becomes more competitive on longer runs. What is compelling is that it will open up a larger share of the market for us. We will look closely at how digital can grasp even more jobs that used to be printed in flexo, thanks to the faster running speed and lower consumables cost. With increased capacity, the cost point also goes down. And with a genuinely different cost base to our competitors, we can improve competitiveness.”
Mercian Labels is proud of its independence when it comes to software and the benchmark the company has set in the UK for three-day lead times. “Our mantra is speed and service,” says Steele. “This means we must be very informed about and accurate with our pricing, so we can offer the benefits of the best of both digital and UV flexo technologies to our customers. As a full service label printer we see both areas growing at a similar pace for different reasons; thus our strategy is to offer the best technology for every specific demand. Customers increasingly want to deal with one supplier for their custom packaging requirements, and not be forced to use multiple suppliers who only serve a narrow profile of work because they refuse to adopt the best of both digital and analogue worlds, and in different product areas such as cartons as well as labels. That is why we have already taken a small but significant step into digitally printed cartons, adding to our label business. This move has really connected with our customer base.”
Confidence drives early adoption
Also important to the investment was the strong relationship Mercian Labels has with Xeikon: “This is not the first time we have entered into an R&D agreement to be an early adopter,” Steele explains. “Our long-standing and successful relationship with Xeikon is key to us as a user. We understand the technology and strategy, and how it will benefit us in the future. We wouldn’t have embarked on being the first global Xeikon Cheetah user unless I had a high degree of confidence in the platform and the relationship to get any issues sorted out quickly. You have to have faith and confidence in the strategy of the company. We think we will get to full production capacity very early based on customer demand, our talented staff and our very productive relationship with the digital printing experts at Xeikon.”
Supporting future growth
The investment fully supports Mercian Labels’ expansion following growing demand for its digital and security labelling products. Previously based in a 6.000sq ft. site in Cannock, the company’s new 24.000sq ft. factory in Staffordshire represents a significant increase in capacity. Now spread over two sites, with 50 staff and 31.000sq ft. of label and carton manufacturing capacity, the £3.4m turnover firm has a customer base of approximately 9.000 and is acquiring around 40 new customers a month. “We have experienced seven consecutive years of double-digit growth and see our future growth coming from various combinations of product innovation, market share and acquisitions. We formally completed our merger of AC Labels in Derby into the core Mercian Labels business at the end of last year and remain acquisitive,” states Steele. “The Xeikon Cheetah will solve a number of headaches for us and it can count on a very warm welcome to the Mercian family by both our production and sales teams.”
Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Director Segment Marketing Labels & Packaging, concludes: “The Xeikon Cheetah represents the most important advancement in the digital label market in 15 years, and we are delighted that innovative operations like Mercian Labels are adopting its cutting-edge technology. Its unrivalled speed can deliver a previously unattainable mix of speed, quality and efficiency that will enable our customers to stand out from their competition.”
To showcase the new Xeikon Cheetah, Mercian Labels and Xeikon will be holding an exclusive preview event at the Mercian Labels premises in Burntwood, Staffordshire. This two-day event will take place in the afternoon of February 24th, one day before the Packaging Innovation show at Birmingham NEC; and in the afternoon of February 25th, the first day of the Easyfairs show.
ABOUT MERCIAN LABELS
Mercian Labels is an award winning manufacturer of custom printed self-adhesive labels, cartons and security seals. Originally started in 1969 from a small shop in Penkridge, Staffordshire, England, the business, now in its 46th year, has grown organically and by acquisition to become a brand and market leader in its niche markets. It operates from two manufacturing sites in the UK with 50 employees and benefits from over 9.000 business customers, exporting to over 20 countries across 6 continents. Its technical specialties are in digital label & carton printing and high volume variable data & barcode labels. On December 31 2014 it merged its AC Labels Ltd operation in Derby into the core Mercian Labels business.
For more information, visit www.mercianlabels.com or contact Lynne Hathaway – PA to Dr. Adrian Steele – on Lynne.email@example.com or telephone +44 (0) 1543 431 095.
ABOUT THE XEIKON CHEETAH: FASTEST DIGITAL LABEL PRINTING ANIMAL IN ITS CLASS
The Xeikon Cheetah has a top speed of 30 m/min (98 ft/min), 60% faster than any other model in its current press portfolio. The 1200 x 3600 dpi digital press is dedicated solely to the production of self-adhesive/pressure sensitive labels. It offers all the renowned benefits that make the Xeikon 3000 Series unique, including the use of dry toners that meet FDA regulations for food contact and the ability to print opaque white toner in one pass. It also enables printing on a variety of heat-sensitive substrates due to incorporation of Xeikon’s ICE toner technology which requires a much lower fusing temperature than typical toner-based presses. Xeikon presses are based on dry toner electro-photography. This enables the use of conventional substrates that do not have to be pre-treated. Extremely high toner light-fastness and truly eco-friendly printing (no VOCs) are some of the other industry leading features of the Xeikon presses for digital label and package printing. The presses offer easy integration of third-party workflow software and converting/finishing solutions and incorporate professional color management capabilities. In addition to the standard CMYK + White, the fifth station on the Xeikon Cheetah can be used to print gamut expansion colors or security toner. Media weights range from 40 gsm to 350 gsm. For more information, visit www.xeikon.com/en/cheetah.
Xeikon NV (XEI: AEX) is an innovator in digital printing technology. The company designs, develops and delivers web-fed digital color presses for labels and packaging applications, document printing, as well as commercial printing. These presses utilize LED-array-based dry toner electrophotography, open workflow software and application-specific toners.
As an OEM supplier, Xeikon designs and produces plate makers for newspaper offset printing applications. Xeikon also manufactures basysPrint computer-to-plate (CtP) solutions for the commercial printing market. These proven CtP systems combine the latest exposure techniques with cost-efficient UV plate technology, high imaging quality and flexibility.
For the flexographic market, Xeikon offers digital platemaking systems under the ThermoFlexX brand name.
ThermoFlexX systems provide high resolution plate exposure including screening, color management, as well as workflow management.
All the Xeikon solutions are designed with the overarching principles of profitability, quality, flexibility and sustainability in mind. With these guiding principles and a deep, intimate knowledge of its customers, Xeikon continues to be one of the industry’s leading innovators of products and solutions.
For more information, visit www.xeikon.com, or contact:
Marketing Communications Manager
Xeikon International BV
Brieversstraat 70 – 4529 GZ Eede, The Netherlands
T. +31 (0)117 37 50 20 – M: +32 (0)494 50 00 52
Frank.Jacobs@xeikon.com – www.xeikon.com
PR agency Xeikon International
Barastraat 175 – 1070 Brussels – Belgium
T. +32 (0)2 560 21 50 – M: +32 (0)486 26 05 59
Nancy.firstname.lastname@example.org – www.duomedia.com