But back to the labelling business. Prati was founded in 1973 by current MD, Pietro Prati. The company’s prime focus is on the label printing market, offering technology for post-press finishing of self-adhesive labels. With its strong mechanical expertise and technical accuracy, Prati anticipates and meets the needs of label printers worldwide, supplying rewinders, inspection units, slitters, die-cutters and overprinters.
Representing an €5-million investment, the new premises are characterised by brightness and lightness, including the 650m2 showroom where guests were able to see several of Prati’s machines in inspiring action. At 3 300m2, the Faenza site is four times larger than the previous premises, of which a remarkable 1 500m2 is dedicated to production.
The reason for this expansion is that Prati’s turnover has escalated impressively in recent years (almost doubling between 2009 and 2010 from €5,9-million to €10-million respectively) with a notable increase in export sales (from a 50/50 split to a 30/70 split in the same period), thanks to the efforts of Prati’s global network of distributors, exemplified by Ipex Machinery in South Africa, which is playing its own role in this spiralling business.
There are now some 1 000 Prati machines in operation in 50 countries. So far, five of these installations are in South Africa, but several more orders are pending, reports Ipex Machinery’s Bruce Allen with a satisfied grin.
While the accent is on technology and global expansion, Prati remains essentially a family business. Gratifying for Pietro Prati is that his two daughters are active in the business – Chiara as sales director, and Annalisa as financial director – and a heartwarming touch at the grand opening was the participation of each of their little daughters in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, bringing a third generation into play.
As Chiara Prati remarks, the open house marked a major milestone in Prati’s expansion strategy, with larger headquarters and production facilities helping the company to build on its success and spur further growth.
The demonstrations of Prati’s leading-edge systems allowed visitors to gain a clearer understanding of the impact these could have on their own set-ups. All in all it was an excellent opportunity for label printers to learn how they can improve their print environments and work more profitably.
‘We’ve significantly increased our activities in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, so we needed production facilities that could service burgeoning demand,’ explains Chiara Prati. ‘2010 was a successful year for Prati. With larger premises and an ever-growing global presence, we’re optimistic that our solid growth will continue. An increasing number of first-class customers are choosing Prati as a business partner.’
South African success story
One such customer is Durban-based VR Print, whose owners – Paul and Hilton van Rensburg – took advantage of the open day to announce their purchase of a second VegaPlus Booklet, just six months after the installation of their first machine.
VR Print is an independent specialist print company renowned as a supplier of labels, leaflets and booklet labels to the food, consumer products and agrochemical sectors. VR Print’s market-leading booklet labels, distinguished by the Attach-a-Leaflet trademark, provide valuable space for further product information.
As reported previously (PPM Feb11, p58), VR Print added further capability to its already impressive list of services with its investment in a Prati VegaPlus Booklet LF 330 to produce booklet labels off-line. And now they’ve ordered a second machine.
‘Our first machine is running really well,’ Paul confirms. ‘Its performance has exceeded our expectations, and now we’ve placed an order for another VegaPlus Booklet machine. It’s the same model as the first one, but has the added capability of producing coupon labels,’ he explains.
‘Increasingly, our customers have to include additional information on their labels and coupon labels provide the answer. They’re also a cheaper option than booklet labels for promotional labels – including competitions, and scratch-off features,’ he adds.
With this additional capacity, Paul and Hilton are confident that VR Print can take advantage of many opportunities to take on new business. ‘These fast and efficient machines make us particularly competitive in the booklet and coupon label market,’ Paul maintains.
He’s also insistent that Prati’s alliance with leading partners – notably Longford International, Global Print Services (GPS) and Kocher + Beck – are the key to success.
‘The feeder is critical,’ Paul adds, ‘and Longford’s inline feeder, which presents folded booklets in register with base labels, gives us great confidence in the machine.’
The brothers are also thrilled with the patented nip roller system from GPS, which creates the correct curl on finished booklets for trouble-free application to small circumference containers (eg small medical vials) without wrinkling. Equally, they’re full of praise for the rotary die-cutting station – using magnetic die technology from Kocher + Beck – that allows preprinted labels to be die-cut in register.
In addition to the VegaPlus Booklet , VR Print ordered a Saturn TE 330, a slitter rewinder inspection machine equipped with special accessories for processing booklet labels.