AT Paarl Labels in the Western Cape, general manager, Henk Jacobs, and his printing team are constantly pushed to deliver the highest quality self-adhesive labels for top brands in the wine and FMCG sectors.
‘Maintaining an FSC 22000 and ISO 9001:2008 accredited printing facility is no easy task. The only way we achieve this on a daily basis is by adopting a culture of excellence in everything we do. From our internal processes to customer service, going beyond expectations is non-negotiable,’ Henk remarks.
Investment in the latest technology enables Paarl Labels to deliver on this promise and, in January, the prepress division was boosted by the purchase of a new-generation Xeikon ThermoflexX 30 digital imager (distributed by Kemtek Imaging Systems) to achieve a more accurate dot consistency for print.
‘We were operating an older Kodak ThermoflexX digital imaging system until the end of last year, but the dot consistency wasn’t meeting our requirements,’ Arrie remarks. ‘We, therefore, investigated several imaging system options we thought could deliver. Service support was also essential for us and Xeikon and Kemtek met our requirements perfectly. Installation and training on the system were seamless.
‘Working collaboratively to improve our overall process, we’ve also recently switched to Flint polymer plates and are currently trialling Flint’s latest flat-top dot technology for UV print production called FTS,’ he states. ‘Overall, we’re delighted with progress so far. We’re continually supported by Kemtek’s technical packaging specialist, Adriaan Cronje, and the Cape Town team.’
Each Xeikon ThermoflexX system features dedicated front-end software, combining simplicity with functionality, plus a unique vacuum slider concept. The operator simply inserts the plate into the clamping system and slides the vacuum setting towards the plate edge. This eliminates the need for special tape constructions and cutting plates to fit dedicated vacuum zones.
According to Adriaan Cronje, the Xeikon fibre laser is considered today’s best technology for high-quality digital imaging and the system’s robust design is achieved with heavy-duty industrial components, making high speeds possible without fluctuations and vibrations and accurate and consistent imaging quality.
The Paarl Labels imager also comes with a high resolution option up to 5 080dpi, which assists in pushing quality standards to the highest level – providing smaller screen dots for finer details, cleaner mid-tones, sharper text, lines, barcodes and QR codes, reproduction of full image contrast, plus switching between different resolutions while imaging.
‘The latest Xeikon ThermoflexX (pictured above) is a compact, user-friendly, low maintenance and versatile system for our operation because it’s open to any workflow,’ Henk adds. ‘To complement this technology, we’ve recently migrated our workflow to one of the strongest flexographic prepress solutions called PackZ and Hybrid RIP. Unlimited editing and automation functionality, and the latest screening technology allow us to exceed customers’ expectations.’
Colour creates opportunities
Besides accurate dot consistency and the latest screening technology, ensuring a consistent colour standard is imperative. Paarl Labels, with the support of Kemtek’s packaging team, has successfully completed an internationally-renowned Mellow Colour Standard Management Audit with flying colours, achieving a score of 94%. This management concept revolves around colour measurement and the systematic approach to manufacturing using standardised procedures, targets and tolerances.
‘With the implementation of internationally-agreed colour standards, we can ensure a consistent colour appearance press-to-press, and deliver a total solution for long- and short-run work,’ Henk states. ‘With continuous improvement and process tuning, we are also improving make-ready times and reducing waste.’
The Mellow Colour audit result now allows Paarl Labels to be granted vendor status with the Woolworths group.
‘Furthermore, it has given us the scope to engage with other leading local and international brands and retailers, who are also looking for top-quality products and service excellence!’ Henk sums up.