In early February, UK label specialist Mercian Labels is to become the world’s first pilot site to install Xeikon’s new Cheetah press.
Mercian Labels will place the Cheetah system into its new factory in Staffordshire, UK, to run alongside an existing Xeikon 3000 Series press; as well as hot-foiling, flexo and inkjet technologies. Founded more than 40 years ago, Mercian Labels is a manufacturer of self-adhesive labels, cartons and security seals. Its technical specialties are in digital label and carton production and high-volume, variable data and barcode labels.
Xeikon Cheetah is a five-colour label press based on dry toner technology. It is rated to produce a native 1,200 x 3,600-dpi resolution, reaching speeds of up to 30 metres per minute (98 feet per minute). It holds a printing width of 7.9 to 13 inches.
“Every investment has to have an ROI. We like to sweat our assets, regardless of whether they are software or hardware,” said Dr. Adrian Steele, Managing Director of Mercian Labels. “We are in the business of making money – not just labels. Everything has to earn its keep, and we are convinced that the Xeikon Cheetah will definitely do just that.”
Mercian Labels states its Cheetah investment supports a production expansion based on demand for its digital and security labeling products. Previously based in a 6,000-square-foot site in Cannock, UK, the company’s new 24,000-square-foot facility in Staffordshire brings much more capacity for the company's benchmark of three-day lead times for label work.
“Our mantra is speed and service,” said Steele. “This means we must be very informed about and accurate with our pricing, so we can offer the benefits of the best of both digital and UV flexo technologies to our customers.”
Mercian is now housed in two sites with a combined 50 employees and 31,000 square feet of label and carton manufacturing space. It has a £3.4 million annual turnover and a customer base of approximately 9,000. The company states it is acquiring around 40 new customers per month.
“We have experienced seven consecutive years of double-digit growth and see our future growth coming from various combinations of product innovation, market share and acquisitions,” said Steele. “We formally completed our merger of AC Labels in Derby into the core Mercian Labels business at the end of last year and remain acquisitive.”