Willowbridge Labels, which is based in Bury St. Edmunds, UK, has installed Xeikon’s entry-level Label Discovery package, which includes a Xeikon 3030 dry toner device complete with the new entryDcoat digital converting line.
Commenting on the new addition, Karl Seeley, managing director of Willowbridge Labels, said: “Flexo is still the core of our label production business but more and more customers are asking us for a fast delivery of short run labels. The Xeikon unit will help us to meet those demands, and produce them at a lower cost.”
The company previously used a Memjet-based desktop inkjet printer but found that it was limited to pre-treated substrates. Seeley says that he much prefers the dry toner technology because it allows Willowbridge to print to the same stock as the flexo presses, with the same image quality, and that there’s no need to optimise the files in prepress.
The 3030, as with all Xeikon presses, is a web-fed device. It can take media up to 330mm wide and is primarily aimed at the label market, though it can also print pouches and banners. It’s a dry toner device, capable of printing at 1200 dpi resolution and producing up to 190 sqm/hr. It runs at 9.6mpm though it can be upgraded to the Xeikon 3030 Plus, which runs at 15mpm or the Xeikon 3300, which runs at 19.2mpm on the same web chassis. The Xeikon also has the advantage of its QB-IC and QB-CH ice toners, which were designed for working with heat sensitive substrates allowing Willowbridge to produce thermal direct labels.
The entryDCoat is a compact converting unit that includes varnishing, semi-rotary die-cutting and rewinding. It’s a good match with the Xeikon press and can be used either inline with it or offline. Duncan Sargeant, UK sales area manager for Xeikon, explained: “The Label Discovery Solution is a turnkey label production system that provides everything needed for a label printer to offer an expanded range of services to their customers, and to experience the benefits digital production can bring to their business.”
Willowbridge has grown considerably from its initial start-up in a local village shed back in 1983. Today it serves over 700 customers from all over the UK. The company supplies a wide range of labelling solutions, including informational, promotional and functional labels to industries ranging from automotive to cosmetics, food and drink.
The company was acquired by the Denny Bros group in 2005. Willowbridge currently operates out of a brand new factory built in the grounds of the Denny Bros facility in Bury St Edmunds. Denny Bros itself has already invested in a Xeikon dry toner press, buying a 3500 label press in 2014, also running the Ice toner. Seeley notes: “We will now be in a position to support each other when either operation is in need of extra capacity.”
Willowbridge already operates an Arsoma and two K2 KDO flexo presses. Arsoma was a German flexo press manufacturer that was bought by Gallus in 1998, which initially sold them under the Gallus Arsoma brand but dropped the Arsoma name in 2005. The KDO’s boast features such as full automatic web tension control, large capacity die unit and an end-of-roll detection facility with auto press stop. K2 has subsequently been taken over by Nacom Automation, based in Chesterfield, UK, which specializes in industrial automation solution and has set up a new Flexopress division.