Specialist Label Printer, LabelCo, Uses :Dotrix to Revolutionise Output and Diversify

LabelCo have been in business since 1951 specialising in their core market of label printing.
They are based in Beirut, Lebanon, and are a leading Middle Eastern packaging printer with a
reputation for technology innovation and a well deserved status as one of the region’s foremost
authorities in the label printing and
packaging market. Their traditional
market has been printed labels for wine,
beer, water, cosmetics, bottle tops and
pharmaceutical labels.

The company has been growing rapidly
thanks to good relationship management
with customers and a firm focus on
quality. In 2009 turnover increased by an
astonishing 40%, a mix of new business
as well as growth from existing
customers. 2010 is expected to be
another year of strong growth despite the
recessionary pressures which have
adversely affected so many of LabelCo’s
competition.

Digital UV inkjet delivers speed benefits

LabelCo’s owner/manager is Patrick Abrahamian. He owns a flexo, letterpress and offset
press. “The biggest issue we have is absorbing the new business we are attracting,” explained
Abrahamian. “The press operators were struggling to get jobs on and off the presses quickly
enough. Customers were demanding shorter and shorter runs; this is a trend we know will only
continue. The shorter runs are becoming a serious problem for traditional press production.
We were spending more time platemaking, preparing make-ready and housekeeping than we
were spending actually printing the job. That’s why I looked at Agfa’s :Dotrix digital UV inkjet
press and straight away I knew it was a much better answer to my production problems than
the traditional press technology.”

Experienced advice and support from Agfa

LabelCo wanted to see the :Dotrix in daily operation before making any decisions. Agfa
regional sales director Marc Van Braekel invited Abrahamian to Belgium to visit Reynders, an
Antwerp-based printer that run no less than four :Dotrix systems. LabelCo instantly identified
with Reynders who are also heavily focused on label production. Like LabelCo, Reynders
started as a family-run business that relied heavily on traditional press technology. However, Reynders had already made the leap into digital press production and had been guided every
step of the way by Agfa who had advised on everything from software to hardware. That same
advice was given to LabelCo who already knew that :Dotrix was the answer to the bottlenecks and problems that they faced. The security and peace-of-mind that comes from Agfa’s
extensive service and support guarantees were important factors that helped Abrahamian
decide in favour of the Agfa :Dotrix solution.

Agfa :Dotrix gives increased capacity, instantly

LabelCo were initially surprised that UV inkjet press technology could operate at the high levels
of speed and quality that they needed. Trials were conducted and Abrahamian was delighted
with all aspects of the :Dotrix, eventually buying and installing his first one in early 2010. “The
quality is near-offset,” he explained, “but it was the speed of operation that would transform the
production capacity of my company.”

Within the first month LabelCo were operating the :Dotrix 24/7. At that point it was taking care
of 20% of LabelCo’s production. “We worked with clients and were able to group many of the
main jobs on to the same type of substrate. This allowed the :Dotrix to complete one job and
start the next without even needing to stop to change the substrate. The change from one job
to the next is instantaneous; it is this that saves me so much time and money. The :Dotrix
never needs to stop.”

The short turn-around, often premium priced, print work may not suit most printers but it is a
money making opportunity for LabelCo. Says Abrahamian: “On average I can run 12 jobs on the
:Dotrix in the time it takes us to run a single job on a traditional press. I don’t need plates or
chemicals, I don’t create waste. The colour density is the same from start to finish on the
:Dotrix, but it can drift on the normal press and upset customers. The Dotrix is lean, efficient
and incredibly stable. The cost per print is the same whether you print one copy or 100,000. Short run work is no longer something to avoid.”

:Dotrix – fast and straightforward installation

The Agfa :Dotrix was easy to install and reliable to operate. With just two days of training the
staff were able to operate the :Dotrix themselves. Within five days the Agfa training staff had run
out of things to teach them. “The interface is friendly,” added Abrahamian. “It is much simpler
than a traditional press and the staff like the cleanliness, speed and simplicity. The room
where we have the :Dotrix is more like a high-tech showroom than a production area. It has
been a stress-free installation and operation. The next machine I buy will be another :Dotrix.”

LabelCo’s customers have responded well to the digital press technology despite some initial
reservations. “I told one customer he could have his work made the same day and he
presumed this was because my printing presses were idle,” Abrahamian said. “In this region it
is not uncommon to wait weeks before the printer can deliver your work. In the end we invited
him to come and watch his job join the electronic queue on the :Dotrix. He sat there in a chair
next to the :Dotrix watching in amazement at how quickly we could turn his job around. Now he
is one of many customers that insist on ‘:Dotrix quality’ production.”

LabelCo work locally with many well known brands such as Henkel and feel that the rich, deep
colours achieved with the Agfa :Agorix UV ink technology give the best possible result. “In terms
of impact the printed result is hard to beat. The four UV colours (CMYK) are applied in a single
pass so it is always in register,” Abrahamian added. “Digital is the future, the market is
changing, customers hate delays – they want jobs turned around far faster than ever before.
My customers trust the :Dotrix and so do I. I can build my business around it and feel confident
about the future of my business.”

Digital press technology keeps costs low

LabelCo are designing a web-based customer service centre, which allows clients to log in
and load new jobs into a production queue. “The system will be able to give them a price quote
and a delivery time there and then. The goal is to have the whole system as automated as
possible with the lowest number of people involved. We are aiming to be as efficient as
practically possible. This is only possible with a digital press.”

The flexibility of the :Dotrix has also helped LabelCo grow in new markets. “The print buyers
and brand owners often want to use their digital graphics to make posters, POP/POS, signage,
banners and so on,” said Abrahamian. “For special promotions these items are needed in days,
not weeks, but we can produce them in hours. It’s a new market for us but the pricing is
attractive and the short runs are really not a problem. The :Dotrix allows us to grow market
share and attract new business often at better prices than we are used to.”

:Dotrix flexibility allows innovative packaging solutions provider LabelCo to print on a variety of substrates, though the bulk of their work is on vinyl and coated white papers. But they are experimenting with some entirely new materials and techniques. “Personalised wrapping paper is a good example of something that was never possible before. We are surprised how quickly that market is growing, customers love it. Again it is a good
priced market that we are able to grow in. We are also using the variable data ability of the
:Dotrix to print pre-paid cards with serial numbers for the mobile phone top-up market,” explained
Abrahamian.

Word has spread about LableCo’s :Dotrix and provided them some unexpected new business,
Abrahamian continued: “Local magazine printers use us to print 20 proof copies of the
magazine which they can use for ‘sign off’ approval with their advertisers. Making 20 proof
copies on a web press would be impractical for them, but for me it is done at the touch of a
button and ready in a minute.”

LabelCo have been an ideal match for the :Dotrix. Like many others, LabelCo have seen the
trend towards shorter run
lengths and tighter delivery
schedules. This is a challenge
for any packaging/label printer,
but the installation of the
:Dotrix has given LabelCo the
help where they need it most.
The quality levels and the
environmental improvements
have been appreciated but for
LabelCo the real difference
has been the sheer speed of
output that the :Dotrix has been
able to achieve. Without it the
traditional press technology
would not have been able to
keep up.

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