£2M investment in print and coating equipment

Skanem Newcastle, one of Europe’s single largest label production facilities, is to spend nearly £2M on its second Nilpeter M3300 combination press and a new adhesive coater. The £1.4M press, which joins an existing M3300 at the 125,000ft2 plant, is due to be fully operational by mid December, while the new coater (from an undisclosed supplier) should arrive by February.

Capable of printing in up to nine colours, the new Nilpeter is based on the ‘platform system’ and will initially be equipped to undertake four different printing processes – offset, flexo, screen and hot foiling – ensuring maximum versatility for the plant. Skanem is considering whether to specify additional gravure printing facilities – if it does this will be one of the first M3300 machines in Europe to incorporate all five print processes.


The Newcastle plant’s existing M3300 is used mainly to print high quality labels for detergents, washing powders and other homecare products for one of the site’s biggest customers.

Managing director Ken Forster explains: “The second combination press which, like its companion, can print at up to 150m/min, will take up the slack of some of this work, as well as being used to print labels for a wide range of other, mainly non food products. This is clearly a massive investment for us, reflecting both the good business growth we are currently seeing in our five main sectors, and our renewed confidence as a designer and supplier of high quality labels to some of Europe’s top retailer and brand owners.”

With 30 per cent annual growth in demand for its recently introduced SE Sleeve paperboard sleeve labelling system – a biodegradable linerless, multi positional label for ready meal meat, poultry and pasta packs, the company is also investing around £400,000 on the new adhesive coater.

The new equipment is being installed in what is described as a state-of-the-art factory working to World Class Manufacturing Standards, where around £160,000 has been spent in the last two years to optimize operating efficiencies, improve turnaround, enhance responsiveness and minimize waste.

A radical reorganization of working practices has seen the creation of dedicated production cells, each devoted to one of the plant’s key business sectors. Customer service staff are located in offices adjacent to their respective cell to ensure the fastest possible transition from initial order to finished job, says Skanem.

Adds technical development director Doug Carr: “Everything on the factory floor is geared towards maximizing throughput, optimum quality and ultra fast change-overs while, where possible, finishing equipment, such as slitters and rewinders, is incorporated in-line.

“Thanks to the presence of specially trained personnel who are on hand at the completion of each job and the start of the next to hand over everything from plates and cutters to inks and the works order to the press minder, we can now undertake change-overs in as little as 50min.”

Non stop

The stable of existing printing equipment includes presses from Nilpeter, Arpeco, Arsoma and Comco, including two machines operating non stop producing large volumes of labels for the milk industry. The plant also has its own studio producing concept design, with mock-up facilities for initial market research, digital photography, origination and repro departments, and all under one roof, making the facility a ‘one-stop shop’.

The Norwegian based Skanem group employs 1,150 people in 14 plants in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK. These provide labels, film and metal packaging for some of the world’s largest companies. The group’s turnover in 2002 was €250M.


Skanem Newcastle
Tel: +44 (0)191 482 8000

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Skanem Newcastle