Mercian Labels is looking forward positively to a second 50 years' trading as it celebrates its golden jubilee with a ceremony involving all staff and VIP guests including Lord Stafford.
“Labels will always been needed in some form or other,” says sales director Hugo Gell. And that form has already changed towards digital where Mercian is one of Xeikon's key UK customers. It is currently looking for a further Xeikon operator.
The next shift, according to Gell, will be towards sustainability. The company has this launched Mercia Zero, an initiative to guarantee that nothing goes to landfill, that production avoids the use of solvents, label stock is recycled or from certified forests and that the digitally printed labels are completely de-inkable.
Now the company is planning a seminar on the subject to engage designers and brands owners to the benefits of working sustainably. “It sparks the conversations, and we have to keep doing that until people understand what is available and what is possible,” he says. Raw materials manufacturers will also be invited to participate.
“We should all be considering something little different because more of the same isn’t going to last forever. At the moment a lot of theses people simply do not understand what is available.”
The company is working with a hotel chain in the Maldives to supply a label which dissolves in water to allow the glass bottle to be reused with a new label, he explains.
In the same vein of innovation led change, Mercian Gold has been introduced to bring together the embellishments that are possible on a label from varnishes, embossing and foils and materials to create the impact that the customer is looking for.
“It’s about taking the digital capabilities and mixing them up to produce unique effects. It is one of the advantages of digital printing that you can create these effects, varying them for each label if necessary,” says Gell.
One the open day itself, ten students from Chase Terrace Technical College joined customers that in some cases stretch back 30 years joined staff enjoying a cake cut by the longest serving employee Alison Witton who has been with the Burntwood business for 25 years and Anna Folwarska, who joined the company 25 days earlier.
By Gareth Ward