Contact Originators marks entry into flexibles and labels markets with major Esko investment


Platemaker becomes first in EMEA region to home three CDI Crystal flexo imagers with XPS Crystal exposing units

Contact Originators has made it a hat-trick and invested in a third Esko CDI Crystal XPS imager and exposure solution to support its move into the flexible packaging and label markets.

The purchase takes Contact’s investment in its 32,500 ft2 super site in Dukinfield, Manchester, to well over £5m since moving to the impressive facility in March 2021. It also means the company becomes the first in the EMEA region to house three of the state-of-the-art machines on one site.

Steve Mulcahy, CEO of Contact Originators Group, said: “This investment underpins our business growth and development for 2023 and beyond. We believe it’s critical for the future of platemaking and provides greater capacity for us as we begin to gain market share in the flexibles and label markets and back up to our already established corrugated business.

“After a period of rebuilding and installing industry-leading and unique equipment, we are now in phase two of our growth strategy. After seeing an influx of new customers this year across all flexo print disciplines, including wide web flexibles, further investment makes complete commercial sense. This new CDI Crystal XPS represents the start of a new era at Contact. We always have one eye on the future and we are excited to be bringing best-in-class technologies and expertise to the flexibles and label arenas.”

The company made the decision to enter new markets, in addition to its well-established corrugated packaging operations, after noting that in combination with its impressive equipment portfolio, its reputation for quality, innovation and service is ideally suited to the needs of today’s flexible packaging and label printers.

The CDI Crystal XPS will be installed next week in a dedicated HD production hall for flexible packaging and label plates. It is expected to be fully operational before mid-April and provides Contact with three completely inline flexo workflows for highly efficient, integrated and automated platemaking.

Nick Mitchell, Operations Director, added: “We are setting the standard for screening technology with the CDI Crystal XPS. As a long-standing Beta testing partner for Esko, it enables us to exploit future screening developments, continue to be early adopters and ensure we stay ahead of the market.

“With two CDI Crystal XPS’ already in place, the solution has already proven itself as setting the standard in flexo platemaking. The equipment fully integrates into our existing workflows; it’s a ‘plug and play’ solution that provides the business with even greater security of production as we grow, while enabling us to offer customers more flexibility too.”

The CDI Crystal offers efficiency and quality gains by reducing manual steps and operator intervention, as well as reducing errors, meaning less plate waste. With UV main and back exposure, the XPS Crystal uses LEDs which require no warm-up time and emit even light to ensure consistent plate quality.

James Mason, Esko Regional Business Director, said: “We are delighted to be the partner of choice for Contact Originators as they standardise their platemaking with 100% Esko solutions.

“Adding a third line of CDI Crystal XPS plate imaging and exposure hardware to an already impressive setup now enables Contact Originators to both diversify its offering and increase its productivity while ensuring the quality of the plate and resultant print quality. We are proud to be a part of this ongoing, exciting period for Steve and the team as they continue to develop, and we look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come.”

Steve Mulcahy added: “Brands and their print partners have to be on top of their game with every run, regardless of length and complexity. As one of the most established and trusted names in corrugated packaging prepress solutions, we’re now leveraging three decades of experience and technical capability to uplift and enhance print origination far beyond industry standards for converters of every size and market.”


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