Tapecon Inc, Belgium

Exceptional printing to the rescue

For over 90 years, Tapecon has delivered superior quality printed products ranging from custom labels, decals, keyboard overlays and nameplates to custom membrane switches, printed electronics, custom converting and fabrications. The company utilizes digital printing technology to offer high-quality, short and medium runs with quicker turnarounds and cost savings to their customers.

Constantly striving for new and innovative ways to service customers, Tapecon is a family run company that has grown through hard work, dedication, and a commitment to investing in technology. This is clearly demonstrated in Tapecon’s decision to purchase the Xeikon 3300, an industry leading digital color label press, which has enabled the company to provide their customers with unparalleled imaging quality, productivity and ecofriendliness.

FROM THE BEGINNING

Buffalo, New York in the early 1900s boasted home to one of the greatest entertainment and vaudeville communities. The great grandfather of Alan Davis, the current president of the company, started what was called the Davis Bulletin Company. Hand-painted signs were placed in rotating machines outside of banks and theaters promoting advertisement. After quickly gaining success, the Davis Bulletin Company turned to screen printing. As a result of its early adoption of printing technology, the company had significant involvement in supplying World War II aircraft manufacturers with safety decals for the military industrial complex. The Davis family began expanding into new relationships and developed a strategic partnership with the FD Tape Company, a small flexographic company. Between the two companies, new sales leads were crossing paths and the two companies merged in 1968 to form what is now known as Tapecon.

XEIKON 3300 ADVANCES TAPECON’S DIVERSE CAPABILITIES IN ALL MARKETS

Since its inception, Tapecon has paved the path for innovation. Easily outpacing competitors, Tapecon has remained devoted to investing in technology to drive its business. With a diverse array of customers, Tapecon must remain equipped to mix and match technologies to meet the wide range of applications to suit its customers’ needs. To do so, Tapecon invested in the Xeikon 3300 to keep the company ahead of the competition. By purchasing the Xeikon 3300, the company will stretch the limits of its printing capabilities significantly. With the purchase of the Xeikon 3300, Tapecon intends to print work that would have traditionally been produced with analog screen printing – a process that is far less cost-effective and not ecofriendly.

TRIAL AND ERROR: LESSONS LEARNED

Tapecon first entered the digital printing arena with the Gerber Edge2 thermal transfer spot color device and an HP Indigo digital label press. Tapecon found that these devices weren’t meeting their customer needs and the company needed a stronger digital press to stay ahead of the curve. “After investing in our HP Indigo, we quickly learned the machine’s upside and limitations. Some of the frustrations with it included issues like having to use specialty primed materials that can range from a premium of 30 percent to 300 percent or having to prime materials inhouse which takes up valuable press time to manually apply coating. We learned from our experience and were determined to find a press that was the best fit for our business model. We weren’t interested in following the rest of the industry again,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of Sales & Marketing, Tapecon, Inc.

As a consistent leader, Tapecon took the necessary actions to beat the competition and invested in Xeikon 3300 technology. But, it didn’t happen overnight. The company took over two years researching what would be its next digital investment, carefully inspecting each press to meet its strict criteria, including the ability to easily handle conventional flexo substrates rather than using expensive coated materials which would require the management to carry separate inventory. Tapecon found success with the Xeikon 3300 allows the company to convert offthe shelf material whether for use in the screen print shop or in the flexo division.

One of the major advantages of the Xeikon 3300, according to Tapecon is its format flexibility. Unlike other digital label presses, it has no frame size restrictions. The Xeikon 3300 can handle scalable substrate widths up to 13 inches and has virtually no restriction on the length of the printed label. It is capable of handling an unmatched range of substrates from various self adhesive films including co-extruded film, to unsupported film, paper, transparent and opaque foils, and paperboard with weights ranging from 1.6 Mil to 13.5-mil; perfect to satisfy Tapecon’s application needs for its diverse customer base. Its dry toner electrophotography imaging process enables the use of conventional substrates without coating or pretreatment and is completely eco-friendly with no hazardous emissions.

With the Xeikon 3300, Tapecon is able to offer true 1200 dpi resolution (at four bits per spot) – something they were never able to achieve with their HP Indigo digital press. Furthermore, with a speed of 63 feet per minute and monthly duty cycle of 2.3 million feet, Tapecon found the Xeikon 3300 to be an extremely fast and reliable digital five color label press, particularly suited for short to medium print runs and just-in-time labels, which is exactly what Tapecon needs to satisfy its expanding customer base.

“After investing in our HP Indigo, we quickly learned the machine’s upside and limitations. Some of the frustrations with it included issues like having to use specialty primed materials that can range from a premium of 30 percent to 300 percent or having to prime materials inhouse which takes up valuable press time to manually apply coating.”
Jay ZieglerDirector of Sales & Marketing, Tapecon, Inc.

LESS LABOR, MORE PRINTING

Tapecon wasn’t only looking for speed and efficiency in a digital press. Tapecon was looking to transition from labor intensive analog work to a more effective technology solution. While using the HP Indigo digital press technology, Tapecon found that they were still relying heavily on analog processes like flexo and screen printing to produce jobs. Although flexo TRIAL AND ERROR: LESSONS LEARNED and screen printing are great processes for certain applications and long run lengths, for Tapecon they simply did not represent a profitable business strategy for a growing segment of
their business. The Xeikon 3300 offers a more effective solution to help with challenging pieces of their business, such as short-to-medium run orders with variable images/ text, the proliferation of SKU’s, and extremely quick turnaround time requirements. With in-house flexo presses and screen printing, Tapecon was seeing revenue lines shrink with profit margin compression, impacting overall business. Through the use of flexo presses and screen printing, Tapecon had to cover the front end costs such as films, screens, plates, ink preparation, setups, wash-ups, color and copy changes and much more. The caveat here is that Tapecon was not losing traditional screen printing jobs to Asia or South America. Rather, Tapecon was seeing their prospects and customers turn to businesses invested in digital assets. Tapecon has implemented “lean” and runs the business efficiently, but at the end of the day the labor intensive applications proved to be a disadvantage for certain segments of their business.

The Xeikon 3300 allows Tapecon to be more effective at printing short to medium run orders. Tapecon has already identified ways in which they can use the Xeikon 3300 to be more efficient. For instance, Tapecon has a customer in the barcoding business. Currently, Tapecon must use six processes to complete their order. With the Xeikon 3300, Tapecon will be able to satisfy the same job in just three.

INVESTING IN WHAT YOU TRUST

Because Xeikon technology offers a selection of different predefined spot color toners for use in the fifth station of its press (in addition to CMYK), Tapecon can expand its color palette and custom color offerings. For the label market, companies are recognizing that the label is often the first element of their brand that consumers encounter. An effective label must grab a consumer’s attention before he or she reaches for the next product on the shelf. The demand for customized labels and the urgency for adding web-to-print capability are growing. To stay ahead of the game, Tapecon has made the strategic decision to invest in technology that will propel its business to new heights.

Tapecon Inc.
701 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY, 14210
T. 1.800.333.2407
www.tapecon.com

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