Lean Manufacturing from Berkshire Labels – Digital and Flexo in Harmony

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Interestingly, at Berkshire Labels the digital presses are not housed in a separate clean-room as is so often seen. Instead, the entire factory is one big climate controlled space where flexo and digital are working in harmony, along with a large bank of finishing equipment. ‘Digital is approaching half of our business now and I believe that is where it will settle,’ explained Mr Roscoe. ‘It wouldn’t make sense to have a big wall running down the middle of the factory, dividing the two technologies; we want them working in tandem.’

So it is less about the type of print technology and more about putting all the measures in place so that print jobs come off the press as intended. By fingerprinting all the presses to the same standard and guaranteeing the same print quality, individual SKUs in a product range can be printed either flexo or digital as needed. Mr Roscoe shows me one current job which involves printing shrink sleeves for a range of juice drinks, where some are personalised one-offs printed digital, and others are longer runs of various flavours, printed flexo on the P7. Both deliver and the quality is excellent.

Another puzzle in the standardisation programme has seen the four Mark Andy presses paired with Apex GTT anilox rollers across the board. Ordered at Label expo last September, this new set has eliminated some 26 anilox rollers from the existing inventory. Inks come from Pulse Roll Label Products in the form of a newly developed range of ISO process ink plus the Pure Tone mono-pigmented range.

An in-house studio of seven, plus four staff in the pre-press department, deal with artwork, proofing and approval. Full HD Plates, recently upgraded are made in house; imaged on an Esko CDI and then processed in a DuPont Cyrel Fast system, which was chosen for its green credentials and high quality output.

The full integration between the MIS and the workflow means that the production process sees artwork simply dropped into the system, contract proofs produced and sent to customer in hard copy in one seamless action. Upon customer approval, press-ready files are released to either digital press or flexo CDI within seconds.

Digital and flexo presses stand side by side at Berkshire Labels closed loop colour management guarantees that print matches proof every time.

Copyright Neel Madsen FlexoTech Magazine March 2016