Thousands of converters supply self-adhesive labels in Europe, but only a handful both print and apply labels. One that does is Sutterton Label Printers and Packaging (SLPP), a privately owned company formed in 1975. It is located seven miles from Boston (the original one) in Lincolnshire, East Anglia. In fact earlier this year it changed its name from Sutterton Label Printers to reflect the growth of its contract labeling and packaging business. This now accounts for some 40 percent of a turnover equal to around $10 million generated by 70 employees. Various types of labels are applied to a wide mix of containers under clean-room conditions at the rate of up to two million units per week.
Some 50 percent of SLPP’s prime product labels may be for the food sector, but the remainder cross all sectors and tend to have some added value specialization about them. Tony Harris, engineering manager, says the company has been experimenting and producing two- and three-part labels for around a decade. “We have just completed trials on a new type of three-part label. The in-line coating of adhesives and varnishes is critical and involved the close cooperation of Primarc, our UV lamp supplier.”
The main production centers around Sanjo UV-equipped rotary letterpress machines, as well as various flexo presses and a rare Iwasaki TR25F six color waterless offset press. Many of them include customized features for specific tasks. In fact, SLPP offers an engineering-based consultancy service to other converters. It recently sold an adapted 10-color Sanjo 270 letterpress machine to a printer in northern Greece for converting two-part labels.