As a group, Uniprint enjoys a well-polished reputation for investing in leading-edge technology to meet complex needs and this is evident throughout the label production area, housed in air-conditioned premises in Durban’s Umgeni Business Park. Indeed, investment continues apace, despite the somewhat gloomy economic outlook.
Just three months ago (PPM April 2013, p55), we reported the purchase of a multisubstrate Nilpeter FA4 press – the first of its kind in South Africa.
According to Leal Wright, the division’s GM, this multisubstrate capability was an important consideration. ‘We run a range of substrates – both supported and unsupported – from 12µm film, for shrink sleeves and wraparound labels, to pressure-sensitive material,’ he explains. ‘In addition, the press has ten-colour capability to meet growing demand for more colours – especially from our multinational customers.’
Hot on the heels of this major investment, now the vehicle for much of Uniprint’s top-quality shrink sleeve printing, came news of the recent installation of an AccraSeam shrink sleeve seamer and complementary DM12 inspection machine – both from the Accraply/Stanford stable.
Equipped with automated lay-flat adjustment, the AccraSeam accurately seams material and holds industry lay-flat tolerances at speeds up to 600m/min. It also features servo-based tool positioning, and a compact ergonomic frame with a cantilevered design that allows excellent operator access and fast changeovers.
The user-friendly control panel offers an onscreen manual; a step-by-step lay-flat calculation wizard, calculator with unit conversion tool; and an auto purge and prime function on the solvent system. Additionally, a lay-flat quality check system provides printed reports for each roll.
Designed specifically for shrink sleeve applications, the DM12 offers seam inspection options ranging from manual to automatic, providing unparalleled control and inspection capabilities.
‘Our decision to make this significant investment in shrink sleeve seaming equipment was driven by the increase in market share that we’ve experienced in the last year, and our view that this decoration format will continue to enjoy above-average growth,’ explains Reuben Glenny, national sales manager. ‘However, we’ve also noted the trend towards increasingly extreme bottle shapes and the use of much thinner shrink films. As these factors add to the difficulty of producing shrink sleeves to meet specifications, we’ve held lengthy discussions with major customers to ascertain their future expectations for shrink sleeves.’
As a result of these deliberations, Uniprint’s choice of the Stanford equipment followed an in-depth analysis of the world’s leading seaming equipment.
‘Our brief was to find equipment engineered to meet the challenges presented by current trends and in Stanford we believe we’ve found equipment that offers this promise,’ Explains Production/technical manager Lorne Andersen. ‘A major feature of the forming machine is its ability to print lay-flat.
‘A major feature of the forming machine is its ability to print lay-flat reports after each job, providing customers with the assurance of minimal measurement variations. Underlining our focus on serving the top end of the shrink sleeve market, the inspection machine allows a second, offline check of seam integrity and performs splicing and rewinding to match each customer’s core sizes. By doing this offline, we maintain high outputs on the forming machine.’
Apart from these equipment purchases, there’s also ongoing investment in infrastructure.
Production/technical manager Lorne Andersen has relocated the entire shrink sleeve department into a customised area that offers an air-conditioned environment and optimum housekeeping and quality control.
‘Our experienced staff members are highly motivated to perform wonders on this new equipment, and especially after the hands-on training they received from the Stanford engineers,’ says Lorne enthusiastically.
Another person who’s delighted with this installation is Accraply director Seamus Lafferty. ‘I’m immensely proud of this new installation, which speaks volumes for Uniprint’s vision of the sleeve market in South Africa, and Uniprint’s leading position in that market,’ he reports.