July: 2019: Last March, Reflex Label Plus acquired a 14-colour FA flexo press from Nilpeter, for its Keighley site in England, to meet customer demands for unique designs, high quality and embellishments, and to achieve ambitious business expansion goals. We checked back a year on from installation to see if their initial goals have been met, hear what feedback they have received, and learn about their plans and expectations for the near future, in this Q&A with Shaun Hanson, Operations Manager, Reflex Label Plus.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning – what were your thoughts and ambitions prior to acquiring the FA?
A: “Well, as you know, we deal in wine and spirits, beers, cosmetics – label jobs that require high-end printing capabilities, lots of embellishments, textured varnishes, foiling etc. With that in mind, and in order to meet our expansion goals, we came to the conclusion that we needed to invest in new, state-of-the-art equipment. After a full evaluation process including our own in-house experiences, we decided that Nilpeter’s new FA was the way to go.”
Q: How was the process leading up to installation, and did you feel confident going into it?
A: “During the build-up, the Nilpeter team invited us on many, very helpful training sessions – myself, and three members of my team, were invited to Italy to see and work with the press in a live environment, to ensure that no stone was left unturned. And in Denmark, during the press pass/acceptance test, we were just filled with confidence that we were going to hit the ground running as soon as the press was installed.”
Q: You and Group CEO, Ian Kendall, spoke of anticipating future market requirements in advance, and a more effective use of materials. Has the FA helped in that regard, and can you give any specific examples?
A: “For starters, the installation took about two weeks, and by week three we were in full production. Myself and group ownership are over the moon with direction this press has allowed us to go in – production numbers are absolutely fantastic, and we have been able to progress into different fields, in large part thanks to this press. From a numbers standpoint, we are now running 100% more efficiently on around 50% of our jobs.”
Q: Has the FA helped you seize the opportunity and capacity for rapid growth in high-end label production, you mentioned the last time we spoke?
A: “Prior to acquiring the FA, we were primarily printing wine labels, but since its arrival, we’ve been able to attack different avenues in the spirits market, labels that require higher embellishments, the use of more expensive materials, while demanding full job control with zero spoils. The FA, our partnership with Nilpeter, and cooperation with their Customer Care unit, has given us the confidence as a business, and the opportunity, to succeed with this expansion.”
Q: Overall, would you say that you are happy with your Nilpeter press?
A: “To summarize, and I think the best way to answer your question would be to say, that our next investment at this site will most definitely be another FA from Nilpeter, with more features and added embellishment options. I like the “your printing partner” slogan, and the partnership has indeed been key - the collaboration on both sides of the table, from start to finish. We are extremely excited for the next step in this journey!”
The Reflex Group was formed in 2002 with the goal of being “the world’s most sustainable packaging company” – a goal still entrenched at the heart of operations. Reflex seeks to be on the forefront of innovation, investing in technology and people for continuous improvement. Today, Reflex is one of the largest companies of its kind in the UK, and with an international customer-base, Reflex serves a broad range of customer sectors. Products include self-adhesive labels, shrink sleeves including R.O.S.O., liner-less labels, flexible packaging, in-mould labels, artwork, and design. The company prints high-end labels in combination for many bespoke brand owners through their Reflex Label Plus division.