Local printers visit monster Euro label plant

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Mark Daws, Currie Group Director – Labels & Packaging ANZ, took a dozen Aussie and Kiwi label printers to the world’s biggest digital reel-to-reel label plant All4Labels, as part of the Labelexpo event.

Visiting All4Labels: Aussie and Kiwi printers with Mark Daws (centre) at the Hamburg site
Visiting All4Labels: Aussie and Kiwi printers with Mark Daws (centre) at the Hamburg site

The Hamburg-based business has some 14 HP Indigo digital presses running in its factory, and 17 converting units from ABG and Kurz Jetliner, both brands also supplied in Australia and New Zealand by Currie Group.

All4Labels has a trio of HP Indigo 20000 wide web printers, with the other presses the HP Indigo 6800 and 6900 models. The business has revenue in excess of €30m. It runs 24 hours a day, five days a week with overtime on weekends. Some of the run lengths are so long it takes two or three weeks of non-stop printing to complete the job.

Roger Gehrke, executive vice president at the plant spent the morning with the Aussie and Kiwi printers, explaining how the plant operated, how it had grown, and the market sectors it operates in.

Mark Daws said, “Thanks to Roger for showing us round. This plant is a real eye opener to see what can be achieved with HP Indigo digital presses. The level of automation is what keeps this plant operating at such a high level, and its growth is testament to the quality of print it produces.”

All4Labels benefits from some Europe-wide contracts, which mean the same job is printed in multiple languages, ideal for digital printing. Gehrke also told his guests that brands were increasingly wanting multiple SKUs as their own marketing became more targeted, which he said also helps the drive to digital.

He also said run length was not the sole determining factor whether a job went to digital or to one of the company’s 30 flexo presses at a sister plant five kilometres up the road, saying that ease of set-up and the look were also determining factors.

Gehrke said the plant was highly automated, with the timeline for order receipt to be printed as little as 30 seconds, and repeat jobs, which comprise 75 per cent of the work, have no human touchpoints.

The plant produces between 5000 and 6000 jobs a month, which in volume terms was around eight to nine million labels, with just two prepress staff on per shift.


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