Labels & Labeling’s Danielle Jerschefske reports from Consolidated Label Company’s new facility in Florida. This is an extract of her editorial.
While pressure-sensitive labels represent the vast majority of the converter’s business, over the last six years Consolidated has invested to produce printed, unsupported film labels and multi-layer film materials. Packaging accounts for 10 percent of sales, and remains a steady, growing piece of the business.
Joel Carmany, President at Consolidated Label, explains, “When you can go into a market where there are few competitors, it gives you more opportunities. Customers can buy what they want cheaper somewhere else, but you still have a shot”.
Sun tanning and sun protection brand owners started adopting shrink sleeve labels to avoid carrying the inventory costs of pre-printed cans. Due to the interest, a few key customers worked with Consolidated to perfect the production process at an early stage in the decoration technique’s uptake. At one point, the converter was the only shrink provider in the state of Florida.
Consolidated chose Nilpeter as its partner to move into packaging production in 2014 with the purchase of a 12-colour FB-4200 servo press. The flexographic press offers servo automation and auto registration tolerance required to achieve high quality print on flexible packaging materials.
Paul Teachout, VP of Sales & Marketing for Nilpeter USA, explains, “The first one in captures market share and that’s hard to lose. Consolidated Label saw a gap in the packaging industry and gained the knowledge they needed, and acquired the right equipment to move in to the space without stumbling. They went from being one of the biggest and best label shops to immediately ready-to-print and convert packaging materials.”
There is a risk in moving into package printing and as Consolidated evolves, Carmany and his team are evaluating which investment should come next. It takes mare resources and requires a higher spend to move into such markets, and service and quality must be superior.
“We’ve always been more of a boutique shrink provider”, Carmany explains. “We are targeting the under-served portions of the business: Small volume, high SKU count of products ad a demand for faster turnaround. We’re not going after these Fortune 500 accounts that run high volumes of labels. We’re focused on accounts that need better service”.
The market has seen narrow web press manufacturers introduce advanced, more powerful machines in widths of 22, 26, or even 30 inches to service a mid- to high-volume production run with great efficiency. A press with a 26-inch width could be the ideal fit, where typical product sizes can run two labels across.
“The level of automation now available on inline narrow web presses has greatly improved”, says Teachout. “We now have the ability to process these types of flexible packaging materials as efficiently as wide web central impression presses. This allows our partners to enter into new markets. We can now compete directly with these wide web processes in web transportation, faster change-overs, shorter runs, higher print quality, and time to market”.