Digital only packaging printer ePac has thrown open the doors to its first UK site at Brackley in Northamptonshire. And according to managing director and managing partner of ePac UK, John Peat, this could be joined soon by a site in the north and the British Isles could support as many as four operations. It takes between 90 and 120 days from finding a site to being open for business.
The first UK site has a brace of HP Indigo 20000 digital presses supported by a new design laminator from Nordamerica. This is the Simplex SL e800, a machine designed specifically to meet ePac's requirements. After lamination the job needs to rest between 24-72 hours, less than the customary week. The machine in the UK is only the second to be built and the first to go into operation. This is followed by a slitter coater and pouch making line.
The space in the plant will support a third press and additional finishing lines. Some of the group’s 11 sites run with two machines, some with three. In all instances the sites will produce short run flexible packaging, on the roll flow packs as well as pouches, for artisan and start up businesses from a radius of 120 miles, supported by regional sales teams. Emma Winton has joined as regional sales manager for the north, joining from the UK’s first user of the HP Indigo 20000 technology.
Peat says: “We are now in production here and will be looking to set up in the north soon and appointing sales people for the regions. Then we can look at Ireland and the rest of Europe. Initially we can serve customers for Europe from here.”
At the opening of the UK plant, Jack Knott, ePac CEO, said that “we want to serve customers and the community, providing high quality flexible packaging with rapid speed to market”.
“We have watched over the years as the large global brands have consolidated and pushed large flexible packaging producers to bring in ever larger pieces of equipment and so have pushed smaller customers away.” EPac now serves almost 6,000 or this type of company.
The first of the ePac centres was opened three years ago after the company signed a 24 press order with HP for the Indigo 20000. This year it followed up with an order for a further 20 machines. So far 30 presses are installed and finger printed to identical specifications, running four colours plus white.
“The market in the UK shares similar demographics to the US,” says Peat, adding that the US model will be adapted to suit the difference in cultures.
By Gareth Ward
The first ePac site outside North America is now in full operation at a factory in Brackley which received its official opening last week. The plant is home to two HP Indigo 20000 web presses with space for further machines as demand increases.