Labelmakers has become the largest label converter in Australasia in the time since it was founded in 1987. That kind of growth does not happen by waiting around or playing catch-up. Now the company has demonstrated once again that it has no intention of sitting on its laurels with the installation of its first HP Indigo 20000 digital press.

Adam Bamford was appointed managing director of Labelmakers Group in March this year. He joined the family-owned business after a career at Rothschild & Co, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory firms. He spent his first few years understanding every facet of the business and the label industry and is a passionate advocate for sustainability, having driven immense focus in this area across the group.

Last year, Labelmakers appointed the group’s first dedicated environment and sustainability manager, Damian Smyth, to work collaboratively with customers, suppliers, research institutions, and industry groups to drive forward the vast array of projects across the business.

“The environment and sustainability committee at Labelmakers Group is charting the course for a greener future and the road map focuses on six key pillars, with landfill minimisation a core component of the strategy. As a member of APCO [the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation], we are committed to developing product solutions for our customer base that support improved recycling outcomes,” Smyth says.

Labelmakers recently announced its Recycled Cores Program, currently in pilot stage. It is a good example of how Labelmakers is thinking creatively about waste minimisation – specifically closed-loop solutions. In this case, polypropylene label matrix waste from its printing processes is collected and transformed into plastic cores, replacing the traditional board material. Labels are supplied to customers on plastic cores and returned to Labelmakers for reuse in the label printing process. This initiative will divert 400 tonnes annually from landfill from its site in Victoria.

But Labelmakers is not just a printer; it has strong research and development capability in Melbourne, capturing materials development and sustainable label design. It says its local research and development team is “heavily focused” on innovation, continuous improvement initiatives, as well as cost optimisation.

A key pillar of Labelmakers’ value proposition is its vertically integrated business model. It is the only converter in Australia to manufacture its own pressure-sensitive label materials.

New at Labelmakers: HP Indigo 20000

Labelmakers is a major supplier of printed flexibles for the label industry. The company is seeing more demand from brand owners for shorter-run and more customised solutions in the flexibles space.

The HP Indigo 20000 digital press it has just installed is recognised as the world’s leading digital printing technology for this category of packaging, including shrink sleeves, linerless food wrap labels, wrap-around labels, and pouches.

The new HP 20000 strengthens its suite of digital offerings across Australia and New Zealand.

Bamford says the company chose the HP Indigo 20000 because it opens a new suite of offerings with regards to mass customisation, short-run campaigns, and is safe technology for primary food contact.

“The investment means we can better support brand and marketing teams explore new avenues for consumer engagement,” Bamford says.

“This is all without the cost of printing plates or cylinders associated with conventional printing.”

The HP Indigo 20000 – supplied by Currie Group – is located at Labelmakers’ Digital Flexibles and Linerless Division in New South Wales, a facility added in August last year following the group’s acquisition of Le Mac, the largest producer of shrink sleeves and linerless label in Australia.

For the past 33 years, ambition and innovation have been the key drivers at Labelmakers, and are certainly not in short supply today, with their customers reaping the rewards of the company’s commitment to development.

This article was originally published in the November/December issue of PKN Packaging News.

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