First Gallus Labelfire 340 in New Zealand at PhilStic

Provide 24-hour turnaround service

Gallus Labelfire 340
The first Gallus Labelfire 340 in New Zealand is installed at PhilStic photo PhilStic

The latest investment of PhilStic, a family owned company in New Zealand,  is a new Gallus Labelfire 340. It is the first Labelfire in New Zealand after two machine system being installed in Australia. PhilStic celebrates the installation as well as its 40th anniversary in operation with a ceremony in August 2021.

The company was founded by Phil Fewings in 1981. Today, it is under the direction of its second generation, Phil’s daughters Helen Fewings, now managing director, and Rebecca Piek, director. While two Labelfire have been installed in Australia, the PhilStic machine is the first for New Zealand, giving the company a distinct quality and productivity advantage.

Dierk Wissmann, national sales manager for Heidelberg, says it’s this versatility, productivity and quality which continues to impress both print businesses and their customers. He continues, “As well as CMYK + white, the machine can be ordered – as this one for PhilStic has been – with an extended colour gamut including green, orange and violet. That allows for a very high accurate coverage of the Pantone Plus Color Gamut.”

Performance and quality

With a promise to provide a 24-hour turnaround service, and a reputation for the ability to deliver a huge variety of label products, PhilStic has set the bar high, but Steve Holmes, Operations Manager, says the new Labelfire 340, which was installed in mid-June, is already delivering on its promises.
“This new Labelfire press features all the latest improvements and enhancements and has been configured to our specifications. It includes two flexo printing units and metallic cold foil upstream of the central digital inkjet print unit, and a further three flexo units, plus a cold foil station for foiling or lamination, as well as a varnishing unit with extended curing track, all downstream,” Holmes explains, saying the company selected the machine after looking at a range of options.

Full flexibility and fire power

“One of the key advantages of the Gallus Labelfire is that it’s a true hybrid machine, so the whole label converting process can be handled in a single pass, with quick set up, very fast run speeds and easy operation,” says Holmes and adds, “Quite simply, it was by far the best solution to produce the quality and variety of products we need, productively and profitably – and our operators love it!”
Production Manager Bart Mann agrees and explains, “We produce a huge range of products, with a special focus on booklet and multi-web labels for the chemical industry – just one of the sectors which requires extreme accuracy and precision processing.”

“The Gallus applies the ink directly to the substrate, with no mixing or need for additional calibration, and the Heidelberg ink set is fantastic for light fastness and longevity. That’s really important, particularly for some labels which are used on things like chemical drums, which are often stored outside”, Mann explains. “The colour consistency is also a huge bonus with high-end, brand-conscious clients and regular repeat jobs.”

UV inkjet printing

“The Labelfire delivers accurate colour matching and repeatability, whether that’s across various labels in a range, different product labels for the same brand, or repeats of previous runs. We can have eight or more versions of a label in a job, so being able to easily achieve that consistency across the entire range is vital.”  As well as significantly reducing lead times and enabling the company to lift capacity without having to increase staff numbers, Holmes adds that the Labelfire has also exponentially increased the number of options PhilStic can offer to its customers.

Gallus and Heidelberg make service and support a priority with factory-trained technicians not only here in Auckland, but backed by experts in Sydney and Melbourne”, says Mann and states. “This longstanding relationship, not only with Gallus but with Heidelberg in this region, gives us the kind of confidence you need in your supply partners.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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