Acorn Labels boosts productivity with all-in-one print and finishing unit from Daco Solutions to maintain competitive edge

When it comes to finishing equipment, Acorn Labels puts all its trust in Daco Solutions. The UK label printing company has bought 17 Daco machines over the past 17 years, with two more to come. With multiple technologies all inline, a two-colour TD350 Label Converter with a fully automatic turret rewind module, two die-cutting stations and a mono UV inkjet module is the latest investment.

Acorn Labels is going through another period of fast growth with plans to double the size of the factory in Huntingdon, in Cambridgeshire, in the next six to eight months. Having only just moved into the current premises last year, the company is also investing heavily in machinery to keep up with demand for labels. The new TD350 from Daco Solutions, which was installed just recently, is already full to the brim, so another two rewinders of the same type have been put on order.

Established in 1994 and today posting an annual turnover in excess of £7 million, Acorn Labels employs 45 staff, 20 of whom are on the factory floor where plain and full colour, printed labels and tapes for customers in a very wide range of industries are being produced. The company uses both flexo and digital print technology and has also diversified into supplying pallet wraps, strapping and thermal ribbons.

Out of small acorns

Acorn Labels has built its reputation on high quality and fast turnaround, often delivering labels later the same day after taking an order in the morning, and they don’t like to let their loyal customers down. With a buoyant label market showing no signs of slowing down, the new investment was timed perfectly.

“We installed the Daco TD350 only one month ago, and it has been a real life-saver for us,” says Production Manager Sam Heneker. “We were looking for something faster to keep up with demand and expand our capacity, and Daco had a great solution. I have to say the machine has not disappointed – the speed is incredible, and the print quality is second to none.”

The long-term partnership between the two companies began in the early 2000s, when Acorn Labels first met newly formed Daco Solutions at Labelexpo in Brussels. The first machine was installed in 2003. Since then, a steady stream of investment in Daco finishing technology has supported Acorn’s growth and development.

“Over the last many years, we have built a great deal of trust with the Daco team. They are always at the end of the phone, if there are any issues or we need advice on anything label-related,” says Sam, recounting the many times when Daco’s Managing Director David Beynon has answered his call, even while travelling on business in far flung places, like India or Australia. “This is one of the main reasons why we have stayed with them for so long, plus of course, the great quality, reliability and modularity of their machines. Why go anywhere else?”

Daco TD350 with 1m (40") unwind, 2 flexographic print stations, turn bar, UV inkjet printing, 2 rotary die stations and a fully automatic turret rewinder

Patented technology with faster changeovers

The new TD350 Plain Label Converter at Acorn has taken over the work of two older machines, cutting running time by 25% in the process. The 350mm-wide machine has been specified with two full rotary flexo stations with turn bar for printing and coating, and two servo-driven die stations along with a Daco DBS-350ES back scorer with two knife holders for edge trimming and winding.

This all-in-one solution also features Daco’s patented SVT inline turret module – an automatic servo-driven four-spindle turret rewinder – which has a unique, double-sided tape solution to secure the edge of the roll, rather than the traditional hotmelt method. Using a laser, the machine automatically positions the mandrels to align with the tape. When a roll is finished, the onboard Toshiba Tec thermal printer produces a label with all the job data, which is then used the secure the roll end.

“The auto turret rewinder is a very clever innovation and this is what really speeds up production to increase output enormously. All the operator has to do is load the new cores, add a strip of tape with the handheld dispenser, then stack the finished rolls when the automatic roll eject system spits them out, and this is all done while the machine is running,” says Sam.

All in one for added value

Meanwhile the multi-purpose machine also has a mono UV inkjet module, which has been supplied by one of Daco’s digital print integration partners Inkjet Solutions. This has expanded the capabilities further at Acorn Labels, which will now be able to offer extra value to customers by adding variable data, QR codes and barcodes to labels.

Commenting on the new machine, Mark Laurence, Daco Solutions Sales Manager, says, “The TD350 converter at Acorn Labels harnesses all our technologies in one machine for fast, inline converting of labels, and it has been a real success for them already. The next TD350 will be delivered later this year, and there is a third 430mm machine in planning too. We look forward to continuing this great partnership with one of our longest-standing customers.”

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