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Bridlington based AB Graphic International has announced the installation of its first SabreXtreme laser label cutting system in the UK at leading Hull printer, Springfield Solutions. The installation marks the final stage in a long conversion from traditional to digital printing methods that has seen Springfield invest £750,000 in new digital presses, the laser and a sophisticated management information system (MIS).

"The new digital set-up enables us to offer a much quicker, more flexible and efficient service and makes management easier in terms of stock levels and financial exposure," says Springfield Operations Director, Dennis Ebeltoft. "It was a big decision to go all digital, but technology waits for no one and we realised we could offer a more efficient and effective service by moving away from analogue. We turned off the last of our analogue printers last year and as a result we are now one of the largest, all digital printers in the UK. The laser system was the last link in the chain."

The SabreXtreme laser technology dispenses with the need for conventional die cutting tools and the costs associated with production and storage. There are no engineering times involved as with conventional die cutting and no heavy lifting of rotary tools. Network or MIS connection enables a company's art department to directly load a library of label cutting patterns to process. The patterns are selected by the operator using barcodes printed on work orders. In addition, the software system permits all machine settings to be saved so that the exact performance of a pattern can be duplicated later.

AB Graphic International's Matt Burton adds, "While we have a number of SabreXtreme installations in the USA and Europe, this is the first in the UK and we are proud to have been a partner in Springfield Solutions' transition to digital. We strongly believe in the laser and a digital future for the label industry. We are starting to see a die cutting revolution within the industry with interest in the technology increasing tremendously over the last six months."

Label converters using the SabreXtreme can typically offer their customers a selection of five or six materials and finishing options for small jobs. Offering a smaller number of materials makes it easier to group the jobs for efficient printing. Several different jobs can be digitally printed on each roll of material taking note of the order in which they are processed. Each roll is then varnished or laminated on the system and subsequently laser cut, matrix stripped and rewound. Patterns can be changed without stopping the web so there is no time lost in set-up. Hundreds of small jobs a day can be manufactured profitably. The saved costs of conventional dies alone easily offsets the initial investment cost and small jobs then become a profit center rather than a burden. In addition, by removing the small jobs from semi-rotary or flatbed die cutters, the whole print operation runs more efficiently.

About AB Graphics.
AB Graphic International is a worldwide supplier of label converting and finishing machines with facilities in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and United States. The company offers a full range of converting and finishing lines either standard or tailored to customer requirements.