For 49-years, the Roberts family has ensured service excellence and world-class product quality. It’s a philosophy that has stood strong, securing the company a formidable reputation in the specialised pharmaceutical and cosmetics packaging industries.
CEO, Barry Roberts, has driven the business to new heights with continuous investment in leading-edge technology and a keen anticipation of customers’ changing needs.
Sharing her father’s passion for printing and making her own dynamic impression on the business is MD, Yvette Roberts. She’s 100% committed to Pro-Print’s growth and has been instrumental in equipment specifications and building renovations.
‘Our upgrade was long overdue, yet it was a project that needed careful planning,’ comments Yvette. ‘The open-plan entrance and adjacent workspace – including reception, meeting rooms, Barry’s office, the sales and finance departments, and our DTP division – has given us an extra 1 200m2. There’s plenty of natural light and room to expand and we’ve created a comfortable relaxation area where staff can enjoy lunch breaks away from their desks. It has made a positive difference to productivity!’ she adds.
Besides a comprehensive upgrade to the premises, equipment has been purchased in the form of a custom-built Gyger Primus Braille printer, a six-colour Komori Lithrone press, a high-speed Bobst gluing machine, and an Autoprint UV coater.
A certain amount of reshuffling in the production hall has also transpired, providing extra space for printing and finishing equipment, and a climate-controlled room for the Gyger Braille printer.
‘We’ve utilised the area previously occupied by reception and administration to create a more efficient workflow,’ explains Yvette. ‘Every employee has approached these changes with a positive attitude and contributed to making the entire exercise a huge success.’
Pioneering Braille printer
The Gyger Primus Braille offline printer, commissioned in January, is the first custom-built machine of its kind in the world. Specifically designed to handle folding cartons, it’s compact and easy to operate, printing 12 lines simultaneously at up to 36m/min.
Gyger’s efficient software and design is tailored for medium and short runs and the feeding system is versatile enough to handle various board thicknesses and different carton shapes. The suction wheel feeds single sheets on to the printing area and the format is quick and easy to change from one job to another. 100% transparent UV resin dots are delivered by Gyger’s drop-on-demand technology, meeting the European Standard (EN 15823) for Braille on medicinal products.
Another highlight is its QC vision system. Based on a high-resolution digital camera with a linear LED light source mounted on the machine, it scans a specific print area and analyses composite images to detect the printed dot pattern and compare it to the correct text. Non-compliance is swiftly identified and rejected.
Yvette spent valuable time at Gyger’s Swiss head office, familiarising herself with the system and preparing the blueprint for Pro-Print’s tailor-made machine.
‘Training was pretty intense,’ she states. ‘I was set practical tasks from set-up to intricate Braille format settings – it was a huge learning curve but I passed with flying colours!’
As Yvette attests, set-up is swift, and operation is simple and cost efficient. ‘It has improved our capabilities, allowing us to offer brand owners a consistent product with versatile Braille options,’ she adds. ‘We’ve already conducted trials and our first Braille-printed packaging, for a popular over-the-counter medicine, is set to hit pharmacy shelves soon.’
Production advancements take shape
Besides the Gyger, Pro-Print has commissioned a six-colour Komori Lithrone LS29, bringing its total printing fleet to 21 machines.
Supplied by Kemtek Print Solutions, this high-performance, robust machine features the latest-generation Komori KHS-AI integrated control system designed to provide quick start-up and to minimise board waste. With conventional Komori KHS systems, the ink film on the rollers is set in advance according to the image on the plate and ink spreads across the rollers so that colour matching is facilitated from start-up.
However, printers invariably make fine adjustments based on their own quality standards or customer specifications. Slight colour changes can also occur depending on the substrate and environmental factors. To tackle such variables, the KHS-AI system’s self-learning function automatically performs optimal colour matching by merging these fine adjustments with the colour changes.
‘The LS29 is a strategic purchase to extend our printing capabilities and maximise efficiency,’ comments Yvette. ‘Kemtek’s technical specialists have assisted us with all pre- and post-installation requirements and operator training, ensuring first-class production from the get-go. We’re currently the largest Komori user in the southern hemisphere and much of our success stems from the consistent print quality and productivity supplied by our fleet of 11 Komoris, plus the support we receive from Kemtek.’
Completing the recent round of investments is a Bobst Ambition folder gluer with a pre-fold station and an offline sheetfed Autoprint UV coater. On the water is a second Herzog & Heymann miniature folding unit with parallel folding knife and an HHS glue application system.
‘Everything we buy forms part of our strategic growth plan. For instance, the new Bobst folder gluer is making light work of our high-volume SKUs with its short make-ready times, superior throughput and ability to produce flawless quality cartons,’ Yvette explains. ‘The Autoprint UV coater that we purchased from India is providing vital finishing touches to our high-end cosmetic and fragrance lines, and the soon-to-be-installed Herzog & Heymann unit, with spot glue station, will provide an additional resource for perfect outsert production.’
Breaking new ground
Innovation is a constant at Pro-Print and Yvette and the production team are working in tandem with VR Print to establish a leaflet and self-adhesive label combination for pharmaceutical and promotional applications.
‘We’re constantly seeking fresh ways to present effective and eye-catching packaging for brand owners, large and small. Pooling our expertise and resources with VR Print is allowing us to push the boundaries,’ Yvette maintains.
In terms of pharmaceutical packaging regulations, information leaflets must provide a definitive product description. Most leaflets are packed loose inside a box and often discarded once it’s opened.
‘We’re offering a more secure alternative with a booklet label, up to 32 pages, permanently attached to a container. The leaflet, printed in-house, will be pre-folded on our Herzog & Heymann folding machine, then attached to the self-adhesive label using VR Print’s Prati VegaPlus Booklet label finishing equipment. Fitted with a patented radiusing lamination unit, it creates a label that can be applied to any diameter container without wrinkling or butterflying. Most importantly, the consumer has easy access to vital dosage and ingredient information,’ remarks Yvette.
One thing’s for certain, investment in innovation forms the framework for continued success at Pro-Print and Yvette promises to share more exciting news of breakthrough projects in the very near future.
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Kemtek Print Solutions
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