18th September 2018
Founded in 1980 as a Kraft gummed paper printer and converter, Windmill has grown through filmic adhesive tapes, moving into label production in 2004. Since then, the label business has grown very strongly.
They now employ 55 people at two sites in Stockport, close to the motorway network and Manchester Airport, with labels constituting over 60% of output of their £6m turnover.
In 2013 Windmill bought their first HP digital print engine, a WS 6600 and ABG’s Digicon Series 2. Today printing constitutes the majority of label production, but they still produce large volumes of plain labels and paper-based tapes.
"We have invested heavily in our manufacturing facility to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for quality new products and shorter run lengths,” says Andrew Southern, Windmill’s MD.
“Windmill is a customer led organisation and we can see more and more demand for variety & unique labelling. This is chiefly driven by the retail industry and the demand for eye catching, point of sale product placement in the supermarkets & online.
“This demand led us to invest again in label finishing. We print digitally on HP presses and flexographically on Mark Andy’s, but high print quality is now a given and customers want to see other features such as embellishments, foiling, spot varnishes and laminates to provide their products with USPs that make them stand out from the crowd.
“To this end we recently acquired a new DS3 from ABG, our preferred partner in label finishing.”
The specification of their Digicon Series 3 has an added semi rotary screen printing unit, along with 2 print stations and a turn bar.
“The screen printing unit enables us to provide relief (up to 250 microns) to our labels for applications such as Tactile Triangles, Braille and spot embellishments. The turn bar delam/relam unit means we can print on the reverse or adhesive side of labels.”
In addition, they opted for time saving automation modules which reduce costly set up times.
“Set up times on the Digicon Series 3 are much quicker these days thanks to the easy die loading and auto knife settings. As run lengths become shorter, this is important, so we can keep speed with both the HP WS 6600 and 6800 digital presses. Our operators find the Digicon easy to operate and ABG give us first class support both online (linked in to the machine) and through training programmes.
“We see this acquisition complimenting the current label production facility and are confident it will enable us to keep our customers satisfied in terms of quicker lead times and overall quality.”
Tony Bell, ABG’s Sales Director comments: “Windmill Tapes and Labels are another UK success story. Despite having grown their label business in a relatively short time, they embrace new technology to offer new exciting labels to their customers.
The introduction of digital printing has put a greater emphasis on converters to stand apart from their competitors. One of the ways this can be done is to offer tactile embellishments and novelty labels.”