Uni-Nam Labels, a Windhoek-based label converter, recently invested in Namibia’s first ROTOCON ECOLINE RFP 340 flexographic press, plus a complementary ECOLINE RSI 340 slitting, inspection and rewinding system and ECOLINE Pro Mount platemounter.
Since its establishment four years ago, Uni-Nam Labels has strived to become the preferred self-adhesive label supplier to Namibian companies by producing world-class quality products.
Director Schalk Burger explains that brand owners have traditionally been afraid that Namibian manufacturers cannot deliver world-class products. ‘It initially took much internal prompting within local companies to convince management teams to give us a chance,’ he recalls. ‘We won them over by consistently producing the desired results and have subsequently entered into a tripartite agreement with Namibia Dairies and its packaging supplier, Polyoak Packaging.’
Schalk adds that last year’s Covid-19-induced import restrictions and reduced transportation of goods fast-tracked the opportunities for Namibian manufacturers to prove themselves to brand owners. ‘The situation motivated companies in the food, beverage and chemical industries to order locally produced labels. As our quality, price competitiveness, service and delivery times were much better than they expected, we have experienced such tremendous growth in the past year that we ran out of capacity on our eight-colour flexographic press for high-quality process work.’
Business partner Barry Skjoldhammer – a stalwart of the South African label industry with over 40 years’ experience – adds that this prompted an investment in a ROTOCON ECOLINE RFP 340 LED flexo press, which will also enable Uni- Nam Labels to pursue opportunities in the wrap-around label and flexible packaging markets. ‘Angola’s wrap-around labels, for example, are generally supplied out of Europe. We have strong contacts in this neighbouring market and are excited to explore opportunities there,’ he states.
According to Barry, the company took a leap of faith with this new value-for-money flexo technology offering from ROTOCON, which balances registration accuracy with high running speeds, and had a well-supported initial install base in the region. ‘We have come to rely on the team’s excellent level of around-the-clock service, precision and attention to detail when ordering dies and magnetic print cylinders over the past four years.
‘Additionally, Patrick Aengenvoort explained that all the parts and components are specified according to European standards and the printing units are designed for optimal ink transfer and pressure adjustment to guarantee high-quality printing in high line counts, text, linework, solids, adhesives and varnishes,’ Barry reports. ‘He also assured us of support via remote log-in in case of an emergency, fault or error for instant troubleshooting and resolution, as well as comprehensive training and technicians to hold our hands in navigating the nuances of the UV LED curing system.’
Schalk adds that being brand new to the UV LED game, Uni-Nam Labels is also grateful to Gareth Ketley of Innovation Shrink & Wrap (another ROTOCON RFP 340 customer) and the team at Millian Inks for their help with broadening the understanding of the LED technology and inks.
Patrick points out that the UV LED curing system ensures an improved energy footprint across the short web path. Additionally, filmic material isn’t affected by the curing temperatures during printing thanks to a water chiller system linked to the impression cylinder.
According to Barry, technicians Reggie Gilbert and Sachin Sukhlal were phenomenally professional during the commissioning and training. ‘The press arrived on a Tuesday in early July and they had it running for the first time on Saturday. They also commissioned an ECOLINE RSI 340 slitting, inspection and rewinding system and an ECOLINE Pro Mount platemounter and trained the operators comprehensively on all three machines.’
The fully servo-driven RSI 340 slitter-rewinder represents the first complementary investment to match the tripled production capacity of the RFP 340 and its 90mm wider web width. It also accommodates plans to diversify into wrap-around labels and flexible packaging.
Schalk explains that investing in the RFP 340 and the Pro Mount simultaneously has saved time, decreased errors that could previously only be seen on the press and required remakes and resulted in waste. ‘Now the operators are assisted by the 650-line camera, which reaches 70 times amplification ratio and provides clear, bright images on the high-resolution display screen for maximum precision and highly repeatable accuracy. Adaptors also enable plate mounting on the 250mm cylinders from our other flexo presses.’
Barry emphasises that investing in state-of-the-art equipment, improving the skill set and expanding its service offering is part of Uni-Nam Labels’ forward-looking vision to keep satisfying the needs of the company’s evolving customer base.
ROTOCON technicians Reggie Gilbert and Sachin Sukhlal with Uni-Nam Labels’ owners, Barry Skjoldhammer and Schalk Burger, and the operator of the ECOLINE RFP 340, Johannes Tushimbeni. In preparation for the commissioning of this eight-colour flexo press, the company had to install a new transformer and mini substation to upgrade its power supply from 80 to 300 Amps.
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