Digital Magazine

Short & Quick

Letterpress Printing

Harkwell Labels is somewhat unique in that it relies solely on the letterpress process to manufacture its product line, which includes labels for food packaging, swing tags, and window stickers. The average job runs about 20,000 labels, but the full spectrum of production varies from 1,000–1,000,000.

Owner Tim Fountain says, “We are not interested in getting into the commodity market, and we have many local businesses we can serve. The letterpress technology we have is cost-effective and great for handling dedicated, short runs with consistent, high quality printing, job after job. We can combine that quality consistency with hot foiling, laminating, custom die-cutting, and sheeting.”

A privately owned company with six employees, Harkwell Labels occupies a 4,500-sq-ft facility that houses two letterpress printing machines supplied by AB Graphic Intl., including an upgraded two-color Delta SR400 label press and a new Lintec LPM 300 GT semi-rotary letterpress model. The Lintec press, which offers a print width of 11 in. (280 mm) and speeds to 240 impressions/min, features a patent-pending ghost-prevention function. The press includes six printing units plus varnish, hot foil, overlaminate, sheeting, and dual cutting units. GEW supplied seven of its air-cooled VCP ultraviolet-curing units with e-Brick electronic power supplies. The e-Brick lamp control reportedly boosts UV output by more than 20% while reducing energy consumption by as much as 30%.

AB Graphic also supplied a new Omega TT 270 slitter/rewinder. Accurate tension control settings reportedly can be achieved with independent air-operated unwind and rewind tension controls. The unwind and rewind mandrels incorporate a mechanical locking system said to ensure positive grip without distorting the label core and finished roll. This is critical because Harkwell Labels prints and converts vinyl, polyester, polyethylene, and paper substrates.

Value-Added Varnish
General manager Jon Cooke says, “Harkwell has identified a niche area delivering high quality, attractive labels to both small and large organizations that help them to brand and advertise their products at a reasonable cost. We always recommend our ultra-high-gloss varnishing for that added eye appeal and provide this service free of charge, as it has become a more affordable and flexible alternative to overlaminate.”

“By being able to provide tags and labels of high quality on a quick turnaround basis, we have been able to build a sustainable local business,” says Fountain. “It is not unusual for a customer to phone in a job at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, and we will deliver the completed order on Saturday morning. With the printing and converting equipment we have put in place, we are now in a position to fully support our customers.”

Harkwell’s plans for further expansion include an in-house computer-to-plate prepress department to offer customers a first-hand design service, and investment in a second press is imminent—letterpress, of course!

Harkwell Labels Ltd.

Unit G2, The Fulcrum Vantage Way
Poole, Dorset BH12 7NU, UK
+44 (0) 1202 735300; stickers-labels.co.uk

AB Graphic Intl.—PFFC-ASAP 328. abgint.com
GEW Inc.—PFFC-ASAP 329. gewuv.com

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