Dr. Adrian Steele, Managing Director of Mercian Labels, said, “We have chosen to adopt the latest generation of Xeikon digital label printing technology on the back of above-average growth in the digital part of our business, where we have run out of production capacity. Adding the Xeikon Cheetah will better position us for expected growth and we are confident the capacity to be quickly filled.”
Prior to the investment, Steele said that Mercian Labels thoroughly evaluated other potential options available on the market. “We looked at competitive technologies from liquid toner to UV inkjet as well as the latest offers from Xeikon dry toner. Every investment has to have a ROI. We like to sweat our assets, regardless of whether they are software or hardware. 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.”
“The advantages of the new press will be measurable in terms of speed and reduced running costs,” continued Steele. “As a result, we expect to take more market share from what is traditionally flexo territory as digital becomes more competitive on longer runs. What is compelling is that it will open up a larger share of the market for us. We will look closely at how digital can grasp even more jobs that used to be printed in flexo, thanks to the faster running speed and lower consumables cost. With increased capacity, the cost point also goes down. And with a genuinely different cost base to our competitors, we can improve competitiveness.”
Also important to the investment was the strong relationship Mercian Labels has with Xeikon: “This is not the first time we have entered into an R&D agreement to be an early adopter,” Steele explains. “Our long-standing and successful relationship with Xeikon is key to us as a user. We understand the technology and strategy, and how it will benefit us in the future. We wouldn’t have embarked on being the first global Xeikon Cheetah user unless I had a high degree of confidence in the platform and the relationship to get any issues sorted out quickly. You have to have faith and confidence in the strategy of the company. We think we will get to full production capacity very early based on customer demand, our talented staff and our very productive relationship with the digital printing experts at Xeikon.”
Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Director Segment Marketing Labels & Packaging, concluded, “The Xeikon Cheetah represents the most important advancement in the digital label market in 15 years, and we are delighted that innovative operations like Mercian Labels are adopting its cutting-edge technology. Its unrivalled speed can deliver a previously unattainable mix of speed, quality and efficiency that will enable our customers to stand out from their competition.”
To showcase the new Xeikon Cheetah, Mercian Labels and Xeikon will be holding an exclusive preview event at the Mercian Labels premises in Burntwood, Staffordshire. This two-day event will take place in the afternoon of February 24th, one day before the Packaging Innovation show at Birmingham NEC; and in the afternoon of February 25th, the first day of the Easyfairs show.