A packaging manufacturer has invested £50,000 in a new sampling machine which will give its clients a more realistic idea of the products it can produce.
Nottinghamshire-based The Wilkins Group – whose customer base includes all of the leading retailers in the UK – has taken delivery of this new machine.
It is a next-generation direct-to-object flatbed ink-jet printer which uses UV LED lamps to cure the ink as it goes.
It can print on almost any surface up to 150mm thick – opening up possibilities of printing on materials such as wood and slate.
Justin Wilkins, sales and marketing director with the Colwick firm, said it was his father Andre’s idea to bring the machine in and added: “We will mainly use it for presentations to customers.
“When customers come to us, we will design some packaging around their idea, that suits their requirements and put the graphics to it, either using the retailer’s graphics and placing them on the product, or designing them from scratch.
“The difference with this is we print directly onto board, or whatever the material is.
“We have 4,000 to 5,000 pallets of board, all of varying grades, from all over the world, each one is different and of different surfaces and strengths – this can print on all of those now, for creating samples for our customers.”
The machine, which has a 71cm x 51cm print area, also puts a varnish onto the product, giving it a finish that other devices haven’t previously been able to replicate.
Justin said the new printing process enabled Wilkins, which has 270 employees in Nottinghamshire and 500 across its UK, Romania, Sri Lanka, China and Bangladesh sites, to show mock-ups of products in a more realistic, impressive way, rather than showing clients a proof that may turn out differently once it has been finalised.
He added: “Customers always ask us for innovation and ‘what’s the next thing?’ This machine replicates the final product and gives a great result.”
This machine has precise ink drop placement of up to 1,200 dots per inch, is faster and is more cost-efficient than previous machines used for this purpose by Wilkins. It has six staggered print heads, increasing the speed of the printing process.
It follows a purchase last year of a £1m Bobst Expertcut 106 PER die-cutter to expand and enhance Wilkins’ die-cutting capabilities.
For more information, visit www.wilkins.co.uk