Edenbridge-based The Alexir Partnership has become the latest high quality UK packaging producer to invest in a highly specified Rapida 106. The press, an eight colour with two coating units, was installed early in 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning.
The Alexir Partnership have been operating for over 30 years from two production sites in the South East of England. They produce high quality cartons for well-known high street brands and for a range of market segments which include food, healthcare and FMCG.
The Alexir Partnership is also a member of the International Packaging Group Association, which provides a framework for packaging producers to meet and share technical information on packaging manufacturing and best practice. During these meetings, they found that several other members of the group had recently invested in Rapida 106 technology with great success. The press was specially configured to cope not only with their current work mix, but also to allow them to target new markets and to offer the most advanced print options to their customers.
Andy Crack, Factory Manager, said, “We have become incredibly busy since the press was installed and production has increased by 25% since 2019. The pandemic and the trend for plastic reduction has created a big increase in demand on our carton production volumes. Managing the installation, reorganising the factory to improve the workflow and the restrictions on staffing during this time has been a challenge but we have coped really well. The print quality from the press is good and due to the quality assurance tools supplied with the press we have experienced a big reduction in quality issues.”
He continued, “We took one press out and the Rapida has coped not only with the work from that machine, but also a big increase in additional demand for our production capacity as well. We have had to invest in new pile turning equipment to keep the press fed with fresh pallets and a good deal of our work is now printed on both sides.”
Commenting on the level of service support, Crack added, “Throughout the installation and when issues have arisen since, the service department of Koenig & Bauer have provided an almost instant response which is particularly pleasing. We anticipate further growth in business which will increase our impression counts further but we fully expect the press to cope with the extra volumes required from the production department.”
The Rapida 106 is a special configuration press called a ‘Plus 1’. It features seven printing units and a coater, two drying units followed by another additional printing unit and a final coater unit allowing the widest range of effects and finishes to be produced on a press. The press has a top speed of 18,000 sheets per hour and can print with both UV and conventional inks and coatings on a special sheet size of 780mm x 1060mm.
Chris Scully, Director of Sales, Koenig & Bauer U.K. Ltd, concluded, “We could not be more delighted to have added the Alexir Partnership to our growing list of high quality packaging printers who have made the switch to producing their cartons on the Rapida 106. They have developed a superb and successful business and we are thrilled that we have played our part in their continued growth. Packaging businesses have been put under considerable pressure since last year and have had to work in difficult circumstances.