Beau Label is building its legacy on family and power – or energy, more specifically.
Vincent J. Melapioni (VJ), president, is leading this thriving, third-generation converter with foresight and ingenuity. At Beau Label, the capabilities include state-of-the art equipment merged with skilled employees and an eye on the future. Melapioni has invested in seven Fujifilm Illumina LED Retrofit Systems, which deliver a faster cure and more energy to the substrate. The power savings cannot be underestimated, either.
“On our 9-color press, the UV lights alone required 120 amps of 480-volt service,” explains Melapioni. “That’s enough to power a small town–it’s a significant amount of power. By converting to LED, we now need just 12 amps of 480-volt service, so it’s a 90% energy savings.
“The move made sense, and it’s not just the power,” he adds. “The LED units run cool, so when you’re running films, you don’t have to deal with register issues from the heat of the lamps. There’s no stretching, and you don’t need a blower or chill rollers to cool them off. They’re not on all the time, as they only go on when the press goes on. There’s no maintenance with shutters, and you’re not venting heat and air conditioning out of the building.”
In the future, Melapioni will continue promoting sustainable initiatives. He recently inked a deal to install solar panels on the roof of his 35,000-square foot facility. In the past, Beau Label also switched to more energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs, and then ultimately LEDs, as well as upgrading the air-conditioning systems with the help of the local power company, PSE&G. Beau Label will undergo an expansion at the back end of the production plant, which will allow manufacturing to flow more efficiently.
“I think people will respect the fact that we’re trying to make a softer carbon footprint on the world,” says Melapioni.
Melapioni is not taking this journey alone, either. VJ is working alongside a contingent of family members who are committed to driving this business forward. His father, Vincent, who started the company with two partners in 1967, is still actively involved in the business. Meanwhile, his one son, Vincent J. Melapioni, Jr., is VP of operations and his second son, John Melapioni, manages the warehouse while attending St. John’s University. Chiarina Luppino, sister, is the controller, and Jennifer Perrone, cousin, operates as VP of production. Melapioni’s nephew, Rickey Affronti, functions in a sales roll while also attending St. John’s University.
Ironically, the company’s lineage can be traced back to a motorcycle. “I always envisioned myself getting involved in the family business,” says Melapioni. “It started because my dad had a motorcycle, and when I was a kid any time I had off I would love to go to work with him because we would always go on the motorcycle. It was a thrill going to work, and I really enjoyed it.”
Melapioni began learning the business at a young age. He acquired multiple skills, ranging from setting type and running a press to estimating and bookkeeping. “I bucked a little bit with one of my dad’s partners, Harold Baron, because I thought I could do jobs more efficiently or cost effectively,” he explains. “My dad said, ‘Listen, you’re going to meet a lot of people in this world, and you have to handle your differences. We worked it out, growing very close, and I learned at an early age that I had to step up and build my own relationships.”
Melapioni’s passion for the business has not waned, either. In fact, it’s spread to the rest of the family. “I’m always looking forward, and I am really passionate about the business and enjoy what I do,” he notes. “I like labels and engineering them the most efficient and effective way to help our clients to achieve their desired labeling goals. I love talking to people about their labeling needs and finding solutions for them. I have put more pressure on myself recently with all the younger guys coming in, because I want to make sure everyone is able to achieve their goals and we continue to grow. If you’re not going forwards you’re going backwards–you never stay the same. And we are undertaking many new projects to ensure we hit the next plateau.”
Beau Label has invested in a plethora of printing presses and machinery–some of which has been added through the acquisitions of other companies. Most recently, Beau Label acquired Federal Label from Sandy Alexander. “The CEO of Sandy Alexander actually came down here and asked me if I was interested in selling, and I was flattered,” Melapioni explains. “And I told him I was interested in growing not exiting. About a year later, he came to me and said he was presented with other opportunities, and they were going in a different direction. He thought it would be easier for us to do better with the label business than he could at that time, so we made a deal. Some really good personnel came along, as well.”
Beau Label primarily operates five Nilpeter 13" flexo presses, as well as two Mark Andy 4120 presses. The company relies on Esko for its in-house platemaking, Dantex for its plate cleaning, and Hybrid Software for prepress. In addition, Melapioni is slated to install a KTI turret rewinder in October.
Melapioni also leans on Fujifilm for ink, using the 300 Series UV LED flexo inks. According to Melapioni, the inks provide clean, crisp images. “The whole transition to LED was pretty seamless,” he states. “There was a little bit of a learning curve with the inks, but once they installed the lights, they were just great–they work.”
There has also been a benefit to standardizing with Fujifilm. “If I have a problem I can go to Fujifilm,” he says. “The ink guy is not going to tell me it’s the lamp, and the lamp guy is not going to tell me it’s the ink–it’s all one. Plus, another nice thing for us is the inks they converted us to for LED will cure conventionally. We actually converted over to those inks before we made the change to the Fujifilm LED systems.”
Beau Label has carved out a niche for itself in food labeling, although the converter produces labels for a wide range of industries. Its business extends to nutraceuticals, cosmetics, beverages and more. Extended content labels, seal and reseal, and coupons are also a key source for Beau Label.
Melapioni has plans for 2020. Beau Label already owns a seamer to produce shrink sleeves, so the company will look to enter that market. Flexible packaging–including pouches–is on Beau Label’s radar, considering the company’s success in the food labels space. Digital printing could be on the horizon, too.
“I really like UV inkjet,” says Melapioni. “That could wind up happening in 2020. There are jobs that really do fit with digital, where you need good quality in small quantities or a bunch of different SKUs.”
The forward thinking extends beyond equipment and materials. According to Melapioni, the real key to success is the company’s dedicated staff. Many of Beau Label’s 35 employees have been with the business for over 25 years. “We have grown up together, as many of us have been working here since our 20s,” he adds.
The company is prepared to face any potential workforce challenges head on, though. “We’ve already started planning for the future, where we’re training new people and investing in their future,” says Melapioni. “If a worker shows heart and commitment to the company, we are willing to invest in training them. We’re investing in their future and they’re investing in us–it goes both ways.”
Beau Label has also used several retirements as an opportunity. Retirees have stayed on with Beau Label, working part-time hours, which has helped Melapioni cross-train newer hires. “I tell the younger guys that there are opportunities here because over the next 3-5 years, some of our older employees are going to be retiring,” he adds. “We’re constantly looking for diamonds, those right-fit employees.”