Flint Group Sheetfed EMEA Business Unit transfers production of its UV inks to new centre of excellence in Trelleborg, Sweden
The continuing growth in sales of Sheetfed UV inks is a key building block for the Sheetfed business unit of Flint Group. In pursuit of that, in the second half of 2014, all production of UV inks was moved from Baranzate, Italy, to a new centre of excellence in UV ink production, in Trelleborg, Sweden.
The Swedish factory has been producing UV inks for flexible packaging and Narrow web applications for many years, so the move to consolidate all UV ink production in one facility makes perfect sense for Flint Group, both technologically and logistically. The sheetfed business will benefit greatly from a high level of UV manufacturing heritage and expertise in the Swedish plant.
The move is doubly significant, as it also frees up capacity in the Italian plant to scale up production of two other key product lines, sheetfed low migration inks and varnishes. Creating a centre of excellence for the technical development and increased production of food packaging compliant products is another building block in the Flint Group growth strategy. Significant gains in the growing sector of food packaging print, has made Flint Group the market leader in this area. Expansion of the production footprint is therefore vital to keep pace with demand.
Sheetfed UV is a growing sector too, and Flint Group has accelerated its investment in R&D and the production and marketing of their product range over the past 24 months. Product innovation has been at the heart of this. New low energy UV and UV LED lamp technology has led to a serious re-think in the formulation of UV curing inks, and Flint Group has not shied away from that challenge. The launch of the Ultraking® XCURA range of highly reactive and UV LED inks and coatings in the winter of 2013 was the springboard that took Flint Group to the forefront of this technology. UV LED curing represents the most significant development in energy curing for years. It demands an evolutionary change in ink chemistry and Ultraking® XCURA LED is a perfect example of Flint Group’s continuing dedication to providing innovative solutions to new trends in the printing industry.
Further evidence of Flint Group’s commitment to sheetfed UV can be seen in the quality of the people now at the centre its business development. Jim Buchanan, originally hired as Business Development Director, EMEA for the UV range in June 2013, has now expanded his role to a global position in recognition of the importance placed on this sector. Buchanan’s background in the UK sheetfed packaging sector, with its large UV market, is seen as a perfect basis for this key strategic role in Flint Group.
To strengthen the knowledge base and add expertise in bringing the products to market, Trevor Amps joined the company in June last year as EMEA UV Technical Application Manager. With more than 20 years technical experience, Amps brings extremely valuable expertise to support UV projects across EMEA.
In another key appointment, Richard Wilson, formerly EMEA UV Product Director, took over as Global UV OEMs and EMEA Dealers UV Technical Director. In his new role, Wilson coordinates OEM UV activities on a global basis and supports key UV technical projects at EMEA Dealers.
As part of the globalisation of the UV business, several more key appointments have been made in North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions, each of which underpins the long term strategy to grow business in the sector, globally.
Now a key sponsor of Print UV in North America and a member of the LED Association, Flint Group demonstrates a serious commitment to the technology. Doug Aldred, President of the Packaging and Narrow Web Division, EMEA and North America explains some of the strategy behind the sharpened focus on Sheetfed UV in Flint Group. “Energy Curing technology is clearly an area of intense activity in our industry, and we in Flint Group fully support this trend. We appreciate the strategic importance and the environmental and cost benefits EC brings, which is why we are investing so heavily in our R&D facility in Ypsilanti, (MI, USA) in our production platforms and in bringing top class people into the organisation. Our global alignment of EC operations and technical support provides a consistent specialized platform regardless of where our customers are located. This means we can respond to the dynamic trends of the technology, like the current global advance of UV LED, efficiently and with the same professionalism around the world. By partnering with key OEMs we are also in the privileged position of helping shape the technology and the future of print!”
As the commercial print industry accelerates its adoption of highly reactive UV and UV LED ink technologies around the world, Flint Group is rapidly becoming their partner of choice, due to this clear and focused approach to innovation and product development. All of which is underpinned by the establishment of Trelleborg as THE global centre of excellence for UV technology, bar none!