ColorWorks wins the seal of approval from Vickers Laboratories

The customer

ColorWorks wins the seal of approval from Vickers Laboratories

Based across two sites in Pudsey, Leeds, Vickers laboratories is a leading UK chemical manufacturing, packing and logistics company; working across a wide range of specialist sectors including pharmaceutical and medical devices, education, monitoring and measuring, food and beverage, anatomical science, industrial and textile industries.

The challenge – the need for an ultra-flexible, high-quality labelling solution

A growing business, with multiple pressures on its manufacturing and label production processes, Vickers Laboratories were looking for a versatile, high quality, on-demand, colour labelling solution to replace its bank of Toshiba label printers.

Until its recent investment in Epson labelling technology, Vickers Laboratories were purchasing pre-printed label media and running it through their existing bank of Toshiba SX5 printers, but this process presented Vickers with a number of challenges, in terms of productivity, printing quality and materials wastage."  

Stephanie Bradley, Customer Services and Marketing Manager of Vickers Laboratories explains: “Our business increasingly serves a diverse range of customers across a number of industries, all of which have a number of specific regulatory and legislative requirements when it comes to labelling, including complex colour coding systems and label sizing.  In addition to this, many of our labels need to hold a significant amount of critical health and safety information pertaining to the chemicals or pharmaceuticals inside. Clearly, ensuring the resolution is good when printing small text is legible is so critical in the industries we work in, and the existing label machines we had struggled to meet our needs in this regard.

Continues Stephanie Bradley: “As a result, our existing bank of labelling machines increasingly couldn’t offer the business the flexibility and quality we needed. For example, we couldn’t print the colour coding ‘on-demand’ on the labels here at our facility, so had to order reels of labels with the colour coding pre-printed, which meant carrying large amounts of stock that was then often not all used if legislations or regulations changed – often leading to lots of wastage.

Stephanie Bradley says the lab also had to frequently adjust the size or the colour coding of the label reels on a machine at any given time each time a different batch of labels was required for a new product. As the printers also used ribbons, the company encountered issues with the ribbons creasing during production runs and the needed to continually change the ribbons.

All of this meant this element of the workflow was inefficient and costly from both a time and inventory perspective, and slowed down the overall production process.  It became clear the business needed to research the market to find a labelling solution that could offer it maximum production speed and flexibility without compromising on the quality any aspect of the printed label – the quality of the printed text, the integrity of the colours on the label or any of the diverse label sizes required.

The solution – the Epson ColorWorks Series

Vickers Laboratories worked with Epson Channel Partner, MP Logistics (part of the Reflex Group), to find a solution that could meet the demanding labelling needs of a busy production facility.   Despite the production and quality challenges it had with its existing labelling solution, it was a big step for Vickers Laboratories to move away from its existing supplier, so the first Epson C3500 label machine it invested in towards the end of the summer in 2018 had to quickly prove its promise in the field.

The first Epson ColourWorks C3500 exceeded expectations so much so, that the company invested in another C3500 in February 2019 followed by a third machine, this time a ColorWorks C7500, in August 2019 – all supplied by MP Logistics.

The Epson ColorWorks Series, including the C7500 and C3500 models, have set the standard in high quality, cost-effective label printing.  Ideally suited to those businesses with low- to mid-volume, on-demand, full colour label printing requirements, these printers help businesses improve inventory management, product identification and production workflow. They are also perfect for companies needing to print labels that comply with the latest GHS (Globally Harmonised System) standards for chemical labelling. 

The outcome – a more efficient, productive and flexible workflow 

With just over a year gone since the first of the three installations, the Epson C3500 and C7500 ColorWorks label machines have had a dramatic impact on the label production process, with costs reduced, wastage virtually eliminated and productivity and customer service all improved as a result.

Concludes Stephanie Bradley: “Overall, the Epson label printers have been a have been a fantastic investment for Vickers Laboratories and have been transformational in this part of the business. We have received excellent feedback from both stakeholders across the business and customers in terms of the legibility and colour quality of the labels themselves as well as the significant improvements the printers have had on our productivity and workflow in this part of the business.

“Each Epson label printer dedicated to run just run one label size label, which has hugely sped up the process. We also now have each of the label printers dedicated to printing one label size, so it’s not possible for the operator to select the wrong size or brand of label; further helping to eliminate waste, reducing our carbon footprint and helping us to become more environmentally friendly, which is very important to us as a business.

“An unanticipated benefit of the new machines is that they have put us in a much stronger position to go out into the market and win new business, as we have the confidence to know that our entire workflow is efficient, flexible and of the highest quality.  Labels may seem a small component of a product overall, but they are one of the most critical as they provide all of the critical information that goes with it.  We’re very pleased we made the decision to invest in Epson and we look forward to a long and positive relationship.”