BOREAL IMPRESSION INSTALLS ITS FIRST DIGITAL PRESS, EPSON'S SurePress L-4033A
A new player in the label printing business
Boréal Impression is a very young company that specialises in continuous printing of adhesive labels and has taken the plunge into digital: from printing with Epson's SurePress L-4033A to finishing with laser cutting.A strategy that's paid off
Thierry Lafargue, co-founder of the printing firm, looks back over his beliefs about digital and the things that motivated his choice to install a SurePress.
When it was set up in June 2013, Boréal Impression had one very specific aim: to create a people-sized business that would produce exactly what customers needed. To achieve this, the company decided to steer clear of conventional production tools in favour of digital equipment. This is a decisive factor in the market and constitutes the very spirit of Boréal Impression, as emphasised by Thierry Lafargue, who describes himself as a "high-tech craftsman" and has the skills to prove it.
After building a career as a production manager at a label printing company that used traditional technology, Thierry Lafargue decided to stay in the same business and specialise in a niche market: small and medium-size print runs of labels.
"When we were setting up our company, it didn't take us long to decide on the structure that we wanted for it: rather than equipping ourselves with conventional AND digital tools, we chose to bank entirely on digital to give us complete freedom in our work and not be constrained by the limitations and costs associated with traditional machines," Thierry Lafargue explains.
Thierry Lafargue's experience has taught him that all too often, requirements for small and medium-size print runs of labels were not dealt with very well. Frequently, either the printer would refuse these requests or they would be produced using traditional equipment, at a very high cost to the customer. In the end, no one was winning.
Boréal Impression therefore decided to take advantage of this gap in the market and quickly realised how high the demand was. Today, the company performs jobs for two types of customers:
Printers who are unable to fulfil customers' requirements for small and medium-size print runs of labels
Direct customers needing short and medium-size print runs in industries such as winemaking, automotive, food etc.
Although they talk about small and medium-size print runs, it doesn't mean that their output is low. In fact, Boréal Impression is capable of processing very high volumes – for example, an order of 400,000 labels (50 different labels, each printed in small quantities ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 copies).
These days, customers require flexibility in the production of their labels, including being able to break them down into print runs of 1,000 to 5,000 labels. To fulfil these requirements, you need an equally flexible production tool, and using digital is the only way you can offer customers an attractive price.
"Epson quickly stood out as the brand that matched our needs best," Thierry Lafargue explains. The SurePress L-4033A was selected for five key reasons:
* Epson quality is a vital asset that enables us to attract new customers, differentiate ourselves from traditional production and benefit from top-of-the-range positioning.
* Epson inks for SurePress offer excellent resistance, without varnish. This is an essential asset when you consider that customers almost always carry out a mechanical resistance test.
* The SurePress L-4033A is capable of printing on structured papers. The graduations are beautiful and the colour density is impressive, whereas with traditional tools, structured paper is still delicate to work with.
* The SurePress is also a truly autonomous production tool. It works without needing to be monitored, which means that you can continuously take on production, sales and technical tasks.
* And lastly, the cost of investing in the SurePress has the best quality/price/performance ratio on the market.
As far as productivity is concerned, Boréal Impression finds that the SurePress, together with a finishing system, makes it possible to manage mixtures of files.
"We operate at a maximum width of 33 cm, so we can position a different label on each row. This way, our productivity level is perfectly adequate for our needs. Also, it's so quick and easy to change print media that we can slot another print run into the production flow at any moment. This means we can stay responsive," adds Thierry Lafargue.
To keep the production process fully digital, Boréal Impression uses a laser cutting system alongside its SurePress L-4033A. This combination makes it possible to optimise the execution of the work, as well as offer original label shapes (flower petals etc.).
Thierry Lafargue feels quite confident about the future: the right choice of technology, together with a specific positioning in an underexploited niche, means he can plan the next step with confidence.
"I'm sure there's an enormous market for small and medium-size label print runs that's not visible yet because some people think it still isn't economically viable. So my aim is to activate new markets and show people who haven't taken that step that it's possible to do so quickly and inexpensively, with high-quality results," Thierry Lafargue concludes.