Berkeley Machinery beats rivals to secure Xerox order
Xerox has installed an Autoflex Excel XT narrow web press at its production facility in Limoges, France, improving print quality and production efficiency.
Manufactured by UK-based Berkeley Machinery, the Autoflex was chosen in preference to other well-known technology for its ability to meet Xerox’s stringent colorimetric tests on packaging produced for its portfolio of leading international brand owners.
Print production first began at Limoges in 1999 when a locally based industrial company contacted Xerox with a view to rationalising its costs and improving the planning of its core business by outsourcing.
Initially, using simple flexo and digital presses, the company supplied self-adhesive labels and instruction leaflets, and the working partnership endured for six years on this basis.
But, in 2005, with the arrival of a new Operations Manager, Jean Michel Moreau, at the Limoges plant, Xerox began to develop a more commercial approach to its operation, which led to the installation of an iGen3 digital press and associated finishing technology, designed for four-colour printing, allowing the plant to extend its markets for commercial documentation, in France and abroad.
The year 2005 also saw the introduction of an offer to customers of ‘Performance Bonds’ – guarantees of the quality level of work being delivered. To ensure meeting these performance criteria, Xerox began to search for the latest flexo technology, and initially was interested in sourcing a nearly new press. But whn it proved difficult to find one of the right age and specification, the company turned its attention to new machinery, and contact was made with Matthew Berkeley-Hill of Berkeley Machinery.
The new Autoflex Excel XT at Limoges is an eight-colour flexo press with a 340mm web width and line shaft drive. It is fitted with a closed-loop tension system, web guide, a corona treater, automatic electronic register, and an overhead rail system with moveable turn bars and a cold foil unit. The eight flexo printing units and three die cutting stations, all with motorised advance and retard, are followed by a matrix rewind, and UV/Hot Air combination drying that accommodates water-based, UV and solvent inks. The press, which has 50mm side frames and weighs in at 23 tons, is designed to print substrates from 20-micron film and foil to 350gsm lightweight board, at speeds up to 230 m/min.
Speaking for the press manufacturer, Matthew Berkeley-Hill comments: ‘Our aim is always to exceed the expectations of our customers, so meeting the strict criteria that Xerox laid down is testimony to the engineering quality of the Autoflex. We design our presses with the operator in mind and make them easy to run and quick to change over between jobs.
This support the views of press operator, Jean-Marc Mandon, who says: ‘The Autoflex is a stable production platform that holds exceptional register even during slow down and ramp up to full speed.’
According to Jean Michel Moreau: ‘The additional printing capacity we now have allows us to service our existing contracts more easily and offer a wider range of quality products to a more diversified list of companies, mostly in the food and pharmaceutical markets in France and elsewhere.’
In 2013, Xerox launched its ‘Label” service to existing and potential customers. Based on the knowledge and technical expertise at the Limoges plant, it has become part of the sales department’s business offer, and perfectly complements existing business. Claimed savings of up to 30% in print and output costs on jobs from leaflets to short, medium and long-run label work, have transformed the Limoges production unit into a facility that produces 250 million labels each year, and has the capacity to produce many more.
‘Our aim is to provide simple answers to today’s complex business problems,’ explains Jean Michel.
Xerox now operates in 160 countries worldwide and employs more than 140 000 people. Last year, it generated annual revenue in excess of US$23 billion, making it the world’s largest provider of business process and document management services.
Commenting on Xerox’s choice of the Autoflex press, Matthew Berkeley-Hill states: ‘To have beaten off stiff competition to win an order from such a well-known company gives us enormous credibility. We feel proud and privileged to be one of their approved suppliers, and have built a very close working relationship that will benefit both companies.’
Adds Jean Michel Moreau: ‘When we put out the tender for a new flexo press, only Berkeley was able to fulfil all our requirements. It’s essential that we can meet our customers expectations at all times, and the Autoflex has allowed us to do this without the need to call on sub-contractors for complex and long-run label jobs. This allows us to provide our customers with better productivity and costings.’
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