Originally founded in 1908, Ballouhey Imprimeurs is now the fifth generation of owners and managers and has built an enviable reputation in the food packaging industry for the quality of its printed labels, paper packaging and folding boxes, all certified “food safe.”
Until 2000, its printing capacity was always sheet-fed letterpress then offset, and today the company has a modern six-color Manroland press with a varnish capacity that handles dry labels ( wet glue) and folding cartons. The company entered digital printing about 20 years ago and today has the capacity to work on sheets.
But it was in 2018 that she took a closer look at what the digital web-fed could offer, as Fabien Ballouhey, Managing Director explains, “The volume of work that we outsource to digital printers was growing rapidly and we felt the time had come to bring it back internally. The Mark Andy Digital One won us over because it was easy to use and allowed us to print and finish in one pass.
Digital One, like the new Digital Pro, does not require a clean room environment and is a servo-driven dry toner press designed to deliver high quality printing at a low level of investment. Even with its small footprint, it still offers a bandwidth of 330mm and can handle a variety of substrates, without needing to use the full bandwidth. It prints in CMYK at 1200 dpi at speeds up to 19 m / min, while its flexo station can add spot colors, varnishing, lamination or cold foil, before cutting and slitting. It is also equipped with an air-cooled LED-UV lamp and only requires a single-phase power supply.
For Ballouhey, Digital One fixed the problem in the short term, but as demand increased and volumes increased it became clear that additional capacity was needed and in April 2021 the company installed the final Mark line. Andy Digital Pro. The new machine builds on the performance capabilities of its predecessor, increasing the operating speed to 23.4 m / min on a range of substrates from self-adhesive paper to films. Usefully, Digital Pro is scalable, allowing Ballouhey to update its specifications to meet new demands. For example, the hybrid printing station can be located before or after the digital engine, and in the case of Ballouhey, the die-cutting unit is semi-rotary as opposed to fully rotary.
“The semi-rotary die-cutting station is much easier to use, gives better registration and has reduced set-up times. We’re already seeing a 30% savings and aiming for 50%, which makes a significant difference on small runs, especially combined with the faster production speed. Overall, we think the Digital Pro will be twice as productive as the Digital One, ”he adds.
The typical job for the Digital One in Ballouhey was 300 to 400m of substrate printed in four colors and mainly with varnish to seal the surface to be used as primary food packaging. With the Digital Pro, run lengths have typically increased from 3000 to 5000 m, and now one in three jobs in the business is handled by the new press. Since the return of digital work in-house, Ballouhey has seen demand growth of 150%, which has reset the balance of work produced by the company from 70:30 offset to digital to closer to 60:40, and digital continues to grow.
Currently, most of the company’s production is destined for French customers, but Ballouhey is looking to expand its export activities to the Italian, Swiss, German and British markets, but intends to retain its food packaging specialty. “We have FSSC 22000, IFS and BRC accreditations for food compliance, and we are very proud of our Imprim Vert certification that we obtained in 2005. This is a commitment to environmental protection based on recycling, pollution prevention and energy reduction, ”he said. said.
Ballouhey takes his responsibilities in this area very seriously, seeing recycling not as the marketing tool some companies use, but as a long-term strategy to run a successful business. His commitment to the cause influences his choice of supports and adhesives and has earned him an award at the Etiq and Pack Annual Awards for a washable label made on the Mark Andy press.
Fabien Ballouhey successfully builds on what his ancestors established over 110 years ago, with sales up 20% year over year. A 15-person team will generate nearly € 2 million in revenue in 2021, and much of the growth comes from the investments the company has made in Mark Andy’s digital technology.