Soabar Labels targets next-level speed and versatility

Soabar Labels targets next-level speed and versatility with BOBST digital inkjet investment

Inkjet technology enhances quality, precision and creativity at UK label manufacturer

Soabar Labels is a prominent label manufacturer, headquartered in Whetstone, Leicestershire. Starting life as an apparel label supplier, the business has diversified over its 50+ years of trading, and today supplies labels into multiple markets, including food, beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical and personal care.

The versatility of Soabar Labels’ product range has been a key factor in navigating economic challenges, and its global footprint is further strengthened by a field service team operating across Europe.

The business, seeking to enact a continuous growth strategy and pursue new markets, found its existing presses to have limitations in terms of versatility and speed. Exploring digital inkjet technology that could handle a diverse range of materials and substrates, the Soabar Labels team opted to integrate BOBST technology, investing in a pure inkjet 7-colour (CMYK + orange, violet and white) label printing press. The installation has been met with resounding success.

Robert Gallagher, Production Director at Soabar Labels, expressed his satisfaction, saying: “Despite being a very recent addition to our business, we’re already seeing the quality and precision at work. When looking for a new machine to add to our lineup, we knew that robustness and versatility would be absolutely key, along with faster printing.

“As we diversify and expand what we can offer, we need the capacity to print a thin CMYKOV ink layer as well as apply a thicker layer of white to create textured or tactile finishes, which are required in the personal care and cosmetics categories. Plus, we also wanted the ability to print directly onto thermal top and PE label stocks.”

So, why did Soabar Labels choose BOBST for this business transformation? The reasons are multifaceted, reflecting the diverse advantages of BOBST Inkjet Technology.

The machine’s ability to print white ink was a game-changer for Soabar Labels, enabling the company to unleash creativity by using white ink on metallic substrates to simulate effects like gold, broadening the design possibilities and therefore being more flexible. Moreover, the BOBST inkjet machine significantly outpaces Soabar Label’s other digital presses in terms of speed, operating at 85 – 100m/minute compared to the 19 – 23m/minute. This increased speed allows Soabar Labels to complete long-run print jobs in minutes, a stark improvement from the hours it took before.

The CMYKOV configuration of the technology, certified by Pantone, enables accurate spot colour matching, exceeding 90% of the Pantone book and eliminating the need for excess spot colour

inks. This is a crucial capability to serve high-end brands with specific house colours outside the CMYK colour space, expanding Soabar Labels’ capabilities and clientele base.

BOBST digital inkjet technology offers superior lightfastness and higher scuff resistance compared to toner, which enhance label durability for industrial applications without the need for additional varnishing. This reduces costs and streamlines the production process. The machine’s capability to print on a wide range of media, including metallised and clear substrates, opens new commercial avenues for Soabar Labels. The business can now transfer work from flexo to digital, tapping into opportunities for special applications previously inaccessible.

The BOBST press has proved cost-effective, reducing click charges compared to the incumbent presses, enabling Soabar Labels to compete with conventional flexo pricing while maintaining higher quality and agility. The cost savings have also facilitated longer print runs and increased competitiveness in the digital printing market. Further, Soabar Labels has received comprehensive operator training from the BOBST technical team, ensuring the business can get the most from its machine investment and operate it to best practice standards.

Robert added: “Throughout the decision-making process and the installation of our new BOBST digital inkjet press, the BOBST team has been fantastic in their support and expertise. The UK service team is very responsive to our needs and always striving to ensure things are running smoothly, making the process simple and effective. We’re getting the speed and the versatility we needed, backed by a technical team that helps us make it an everyday reality.

Steve Lakin, Sales Manager BU Printing & Converting at BOBST, emphasises: “The BOBST digital inkjet press has not only met but exceeded Soabar Labels’ expectations in terms of productivity and agility, while bringing the high quality, exceptional engineering and precision that BOBST is known for. The capabilities in white ink printing, speed, spot colour matching, and diverse substrate printing are driving exceptional value for the company.”