With a 40-year heritage in screen printing, Siepro Werbe- und Kennzeichnungsprodukte KG has earned its reputation as a leading specialist in working with self adhesive materials and films.
Today, the family-run business offers a broad applications portfolio that includes promotional and product labels, backlit films, POS materials, signage and display graphics, static clings, decals, adhesive floor graphics and 3D-domed stickers, working with a range of flexible and rigid materials.
Clients include major supermarket and fast food chains in Germany and France, as well as industrial businesses in sectors such as automotive and electrical equipment. The introduction of an online shop has transformed Siepro’s client base, multiplying order volumes and further diversifying its product range.
Like most speciality print businesses making the transition from analogue to digital production, Siepro’s technology investment strategy has been shaped by smaller run lengths, shorter turnaround times and increasing demand for personalisation, with screen print increasingly reserved for high volumes or specific industrial applications.
Director Michael Hiemann explains, “Our digital journey began in 2014 when we bought our first ecosolvent printer”, he continues. “We expanded our digital capacity very quickly, to the point where we had a line-up of 20 various roll to-roll printers, alongside two Océ Arizona digital flatbed printers and our screen presses.”
A quantum leap in productivity
With so many assorted printers, production management was complicated and Siepro was still finding itself short of the capacity it needed to meet peaks of demand, and unable to work with heat-sensitive materials due to the high drying temperatures of the evaporative eco-solvent technology.
In dialogue with Canon Germany and the Canon R&D centre in Venlo, Netherlands, Siepro became closely involved in the early development of Canon UVgel technology, and naturally became one of the first customers in Europe to adopt the new solution when the Océ Colorado 1640 roll-to-roll printer was launched.
The first Canon UVgel printer was installed at Siepro in August 2017, followed by a further three devices by the end of the same year, and joined by three more in 2018 to meet rising demand.
With the increase in output achieved with the seven Océ Colorado printers, Siepro has been able to rationalise its technology line-up, simplifying workflow management using the OneVision wide format automation suite to streamline production across multiple print devices.
The automation features of the Océ Colorado 1640, such as the automatic nozzle compensation technology, have been instrumental in optimising productivity. “The system can print a full 50 metre roll of media with no operator intervention at all, and it’s quick and easy to switch media rolls. If it weren’t for the need to replace the media, we could literally leave the Colorados running unsupervised.”
Competitive pricing without compromising quality
Importantly for Siepro, this escalation of productivity comes with no compromises on quality.
Siepro is also benefiting from quality improvements with challenging media such as films, which used to suffer from media distortion. “The low-heat Canon UVgel technology enables us to work with less expensive uncoated materials, which helps us to price work competitively for more cost-sensitive clients without compromising our reputation for quality”, explains Hiemann. Siepro is also enjoying reduced ink costs compared with the eco-solvent printers, another commercial advantage in a competitive market.
“Before the arrival of the Colorado printers we were simply struggling to match our production capabilities to the pace of change in our business. With a tenfold increase in productivity that challenge is in the past. Now we can be confident that we have the right technology foundations in place to manage sustained growth, and focus fully on capitalising on all the positive opportunities to develop Siepro for the future.”