In an era where the Covid-pandemic constrained travel and the traditional ways of doing business, Silver Fox, a leading UK company that develops and sells its unique cable and equipment labelling solutions worldwide, took a remarkable leap of faith with Nilpeter.Their story exemplifies adaptability, trust, and the potential of virtual collaboration using digital communications.
The decision under constraints
Purchasing a new press is no small task. Every detail matters, from the speed to the material handling capabilities. Traditionally, companies would physically visit the factory and experience the press before making such a significant investment.
However, the pandemic posed a unique challenge to Silver Fox and Nilpeter. Even a trip to Nilpeter in Denmark was off the cards, but that did not stop them. They undertook an online demo of Nilpeter’s FB-350. What would generally involve tactile senses and physical presence was now replaced by screens and cameras. However, as circumstances changed, everything was done virtually, and, in the end, the online Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) of Nilpeter’s FB-350 was performed from Nilpeter’s location in India, where the press was manufactured. Though the virtual nature of the FAT was uncharted territory, it was the profound trust in Nilpeter that facilitated this decision, especially in the absence of a physical visit.
The flexo advantage
Silver Fox’s decision to invest in a new flexo printing press was driven by the sheer potential, it offered. Being primarily a developer and manufacturer of specialist labels for the data and electrical instrumentation markets, either for Silver Fox branded solutions or for OEMs, such as LabelFlex® produced exclusively for Belden, the Nilpeter Flexo press comfortably covers them all. Offering vast flexibility, impressive volume capabilities, efficient material handling, and speed, it is topped off with optimum drying using the LED systems produced by GEW. Silver Fox was the first company in the UK to adopt these GEW LED drying techniques. A vision, that has proved to be more than it’s worth with the recent surge in energy costs. As a fringe benefit, LED-drying also offers Silver Fox the power to stop and start the press as needed, says Nick Michaelson, owner, and founder of Silver Fox.
Trust and research: The road to Nilpeter
The relationship between Silver Fox and Nilpeter did not start overnight. Silver Fox greatly expanded its production capacity, and a powerful and versatile Flexo press formed part of this strategy. They had long conversations with Nilpeter UK’s John Hammond, many of which were virtual due to restrictions imposed during the pandemic. All these ensured that every question was answered and every option carefully investigated, considered and resolved. This very detailed consideration was not just for existing label types, but crucially to cover new and innovative future developments, that undoubtedly would be needed. As such, it was also essential, that the press came from one of the globe’s most recognised press manufacturers. “Future proof” – if you like.
“I have to be honest, the effort that John Hammond put forth, combined with his proactive and attentive approach, played a significant role in our decision-making. While equipment and price are crucial, in the end, it also comes down to chemistry and trust – and both were impeccable,” Nick Michaelson added.
Diving deeper into specifications
Silver Fox’s journey to finalise their ideal new press was one of constant learning and evolution. As their understanding deepened, so did their requirements. Their final decision was a 4-colour press with numerous additional facilities, such as Domino InkJet solution. As mentioned, this choice wasn’t just for its immediate capabilities, but also with an eye towards the future (of Flexo). They are considering adding more Flexo units, showcasing the press’s flexibility and upgradability.
The ability to toggle features on and off as needed is particularly valuable to Silver Fox. As the owner, Nick Michaelson, points out, this ensures that energy consumption can be optimised – a crucial feature in a world, where sustainability is paramount and energy costs are soaring. Moreover, the water-cooled GEW LED solution, they opted for, ensures consistent temperature management throughout the process.
Building trust with Nilpeter
Today, the press is running full production at the Silver Fox location in Hertfordshire, UK. Any challenges they face are swiftly met with support and service from Nilpeter, underscoring the depth of trust and partnership between the two companies.
“We’ve been with them every step of the way, right from the initial phase, when Silver Fox began exploring the Flexo press market. We assisted with the installation, setup, and, of course, any subsequent challenges. It’s all about ensuring our customers feel well-supported, enabling them to get the most out of our solutions,” John Hammond, Sales Director, Nilpeter UK, explains.
A celebration at Labelexpo Europe
Fast forward a couple of years, the world saw a glimmer of normalcy. This year, Silver Fox made its debut at Labelexpo Europe in September. In what can only be described as a symbolic gesture, they finally got to ring the bell at Nilpeter’s stand, a cherished tradition to celebrate the purchase of a new press.
Unveiling new horizons
This acquisition has equipped Silver Fox with the capability to delve into fresh markets. The press has expanded their product line and given them a foothold in burgeoning markets with increased demands. They can now produce innovative label types and cater to new sectors, making the FB-350 a perfect entry machine for their way into Flexo printing.
Silver Fox is the leading global manufacturer of systems and solutions designed for cable and equipment labels primarily focused on the electrical instrumentation and data markets.
Silver Fox was founded in 1979 by Nick Michaelson and remains a family business today.
The company proudly manufactures all products in-house in Hertfordshire, UK, with no intention of outsourcing this crucial piece of the product offering.