Bondoufle, France - Imprimerie Billet, a major supplier of labels for Champagne wines, has installed a five-colour Codimag VIVA 340 Aniflo press with extensive high-value inline finishing capabilities, at its facility in Damery, near Épernay, France.
Using waterless offset inks and plates, Aniflo technology features an offset printing unit with a simple anilox delivery system to supply a uniform ink amount along and across the web. Each cylinder has the same diameter, ensuring an exact controllable level of ink is delivered across the web, so precise colour is achieved without ghosting.
In addition, the VIVA 340 Aniflo press at Billet features two foiling stations – one flat-bed, one rotary – as well as flexo varnishing and semi-rotary screen printing.
“Codimag’s Aniflo combined the high definition of offset and the easy operation of flexo,” said Arnold Deregnaucourt, managing director, Imprimerie Billet. “Though a new concept, Aniflo is based on our two core processes. Our operators have many years’ experience of anilox-based printing, so there was a relatively low training requirement. Thanks also to its straightforward prepress workflow, we were able to integrate it smoothly into our operations.”
The bespoke-designed 340mm-wide Codimag VIVA Aniflo press complements eight existing offset and flexo machines at Imprimerie Billet’s 7000m2factory. In addition, Billet has installed an automatic waterless offset plate-making system. Data processing with the Esko Equinox module ensures a fast pre-press workflow: the time from uploading the file to the first print can be as short as 30 minutes.
Producing 350 million labels per year - 90 per cent of which are self-adhesive - the fourth-generation family-owned company has approximately 30 per cent of the Champagne wine label market.
“To succeed in this sector, the ability to deliver outstanding quality with zero defects is essential,” Deregnaucourt said. “We were especially impressed with Codimag’s Aniflo technology because of its capability to deliver highly sophisticated graphics, with fine definition, efficiently in a single pass. Material waste is low because target colours are achieved fast, and the process is easy for our operators to understand. As a result, the press fits smoothly into our workflow, and is ideal for production runs between 1,000 and 50,000 labels, whenever a high level of complexity is required.”
Producing labels for high profile products like Champagne has its own special demands:
“A Champagne label must fulfil three specific requirements,” Deregnaucourt explained. “Aesthetic appeal is a given; in addition, there are strict legislative requirements, such as the provision of alcohol content and health warnings. Thirdly, it must meet mechanical demands - performing smoothly on the converting and label application line, so that a perfect laydown is achieved. The look of perfection must also provide resistance to moisture, humidity and abrasion because of the exceptional bottle weight.”
Changes in the Champagne market resulting from declining domestic sales, and a growing share going to export, have impacted label production and led to greater variations in run length. More designs are needed for labels in more languages with statutory information specific to each country. Billet’s in-house design department now creates 600 designs annually. There is also a rise in special editions to maintain interest in Champagne and its brands, especially at the higher end of the market.
“The addition of Codimag’s VIVA Aniflo press to our operation means we are well-placed to continue this success in a highly competitive market,” Deregnaucourt concluded. “But, my work is only complete when the last drop of the bottle is drunk.”