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Broad appeal of new Label AutoMounter drives Labelexpo success for JM Heaford

“Quality” visitors from more than 70 countries look for guaranteed ROI

Cheshire, UK – 31st October 2017 - JM Heaford, industry-leading supplier of proofing and mounting solutions for the labels, flexible packaging, corrugated and decorative markets, has received its highest ever volume of serious sales enquiries from a Labelexpo show at this year’s Labelexpo Europe. Follow-up since the event to date has confirmed more than 90 percent of discussions initiated during the four days in Brussels as “live” queries.

Demonstrations on the booth at Labelexpo launched the Heaford Label AutoMounter to international visitors from more than 70 countries and underlined the extensive appeal of the technology for a wide range of business types and sizes. Its consistent plate mounting in less than one minute per plate was widely commended, with a key differentiator being repeatable five-micron accuracy irrespective of operator experience or skill.

The best-selling Heaford FTS mounter served as inspiration in designing the Label AutoMounter unit. Two cameras are positioned below the cylinder and plate manipulators to ensure easy access while also keeping the footprint to a minimum. Operator intervention is limited to just simple loading of the cylinder into pneumatically operated headstocks and loose positioning of the plate over curved manipulators. The AutoMounter then takes over, precisely positioning the plate using dual-axis closed-loop controls, and then completing the process by means of an integrated lay-down roller.

Parties showing interest in the Label AutoMounter came from the widest range of labelling businesses. In addition to mid-sized label manufacturers, small independents, larger organisations and global groups were equally in attendance. As a result, JM Heaford is now in active consultation with a broad range of international customers and prospects for this latest addition to its AutoMounter product family.

“Large, small or mid-sized, and regardless of geographical market, we found that guaranteed return-on-investment is the one common factor that all prospective customers are looking for,” says Sally-Anne Heaford, Managing Director of JM Heaford. “And I’m confident in stating that we have achieved this with our AutoMounters due to the simplicity of design, the speed with which they are in operation and yielding a return, and the immediate savings they deliver. Our first wide-web AutoMounter installs are on track to achieving ROI well ahead of schedule. It is for this reason that several multinationals have taken note and are exploring the potential for installing multiple units across group sites.”

Among the meetings at Labelexpo, JM Heaford reports that an unusually high volume involved South American label manufacturers, with a particularly large contingent from Brazil. Nick Vindel, JM Heaford Sales Manager for Latin America, believe this level of interest was stimulated by the existing and growing strong presence and reputation of Heaford technology in that market: “Heaford build quality and precision has achieved high status in Brazil, and a recent flurry of new FTS mounter installations has strengthened that reputation. After a long period of political crisis, there are now positive signs of improving conditions so Brazilian label makers are looking for ways to ensure long-term survival by reducing set-up and downtime and by improving process standardization.”

JM Heaford continues the roll-out of the Heaford Label AutoMounter at a series of conferences and trade shows in coming months, including in the Americas and Asia. For anyone unable to attend, the company extends an open invitation to arrange a demonstration at its main facility in Cheshire UK. A video of the AutoMounter technology in action can also be viewed on Vimeo and YouTube or by clicking here.

Heaford unveils new automation for label printers at Labelexpo Europe

Automated plate mounting offers reliability and repeatability for streamlined label production

Cheshire, UK – 5th September 2017 – Focused on new solutions for streamlining print production, JM Heaford, industry-leading supplier of proofing and mounting solutions for the labels, flexible packaging, corrugated and decorative markets, is launching its latest innovation for narrow web printers at Labelexpo Europe (September 25-28). Exhibiting in Hall 7 (Stand 7D33), the new Heaford Label AutoMounter takes centre stage, showcasing its combined technologies for ensuring first-time, consistent accuracy and dramatically reducing press downtime.

Based on the same technology platform as its AutoMounter for flexible packaging launched at drupa last year, Heaford’s new Label AutoMounter has been designed to eliminate the need for skilled operators in plate mounting by combining a series of failsafe automatic procedures with unique machine ergonomics. With a maximum cylinder width of 700 mm (27.5 inches) and a repeat range of 150 – 610 mm (6 – 24 inches), it offers automatic plate mounting, within a five-micron tolerance, in less than one minute per plate.

The company has drawn on the success of its best-selling FTS mounter in designing the internal configuration of the Label AutoMounter unit. Two cameras are positioned below the cylinder and plate manipulators to ensure easy access while also keeping the footprint to a minimum. Operator intervention is limited to just simple loading of the cylinder into pneumatically operated headstocks and loose positioning of the plate over curved manipulators. The AutoMounter then takes over, precisely positioning the plate using dual-axis closed-loop controls, and then completing the process by means of an integrated lay-down roller.

Overall control is maintained via a simple, multi-lingual graphic interface, and set-up can be by co-ordinates imported, manual programming or using teaching mode. The system can store and recall over 10,000 jobs and the Label AutoMounter also allows manual override. A sleeve dedicated model is also available.

To complement the core operation of the Heaford Label AutoMounter, it can also be specified with additional options, such as a Precision Plate Cutter for enabling precise plate joins with a gap of 0.3mm, which can provide a cost-effective alternative to continuous print sleeves. Heaford team members are available on the stand at Labelexpo to discuss and demonstrate the range and purpose of options in relation to specific production requirements.

Following the successful launch and market uptake of the Heaford wide web AutoMounter for flexible packaging, with sales on five continents, Sally-Anne Heaford, Managing Director of JM Heaford, is buoyant about the company’s label solution. “Feedback from early users of our AutoMounter has been very positive; customers are on track to beat the return-on-investment forecast that we provided for them upfront, which was based on their existing production requirements,” says Sally-Anne Heaford. “In reality, they are discovering that once they have got used to the extra time they gained in make-ready, they discover more opportunities to increase productivity and overall output. With today’s trend towards more job changes and shorter runs in label production, our Label AutoMounter can make a significant contribution to supporting the advantages of flexo over digital.”

The JM Heaford stand at Labelexpo Europe also features a range of the most popular and relevant Heaford models for international visitors to the Show. In addition to the headlining Label AutoMounter, the main line-up comprises:

FTS 700 2CM – A 700 mm maximum-width plate mounter fitted with two motorised cameras, allowing for multiple plates to be mounted across the cylinder. Plate positions can be stored and then recalled, and the cameras will automatically position themselves correctly for start-up. It is available as a cylinder or sleeve version.

FTS 500 – A 500 mm-wide manual mounter with user-friendly design for guiding the operator in quick and accurate camera-positioning and mounting. It is available as a cylinder or sleeve version.

ELS 600 – A 600 mm-wide traditional plate mounter. The ELS 600 consists of a modular platform that can be fitted with a range of additional options and upgraded over time, as required. It is available as cylinder and sleeve version and it also features quick-release camera focal adjustment.

EES 500 – An entry-level plate mounter designed purposely for start-ups and emerging markets. This model is available only as a cylinder version.

About Heaford - Headquartered in Altrincham, UK, JM Heaford Ltd was founded in 1983 as a manufacturer of gravure proofing equipment. The company’s ethos of providing flexible, tailored design and production solutions saw it diversify with the addition of flexographic proofing and mounting devices. Among these were the world’s first machines for mounting flexo plates using microdot technology. A recipient of several international awards for design and manufacturing excellence, Heaford continues to manufacture from its Manchester base, assisted by agents in more than 100 countries. It has a US subsidiary company with a US based service and installation engineer. The company prides itself on a high calibre of workmanship which delivers machines that are “second-to-none in every facet of their construction”. For more information email

Heaford appoints Maquinarium as new sales agent in Brazil

Flexo efficiency offers timely opportunities as market improves.

24th August 2017 – JM Heaford, industry-leading supplier of proofing and mounting solutions for the labels, flexible packaging, corrugated and decorative markets, has confirmed a new strategic partnership in South America with the appointment of Maquinarium Representação Industrial as its agent for the Brazilian market.

Under the directorship of Fernando Albuquerque, Maquinarium takes over sole responsibility for sales of all Heaford systems for flexible packaging and labelling in Brazil. Albuquerque’s extensive experience in these sectors includes many years working for Comexi do Brasil, and his company is already well-established with a supplier portfolio including Uteco Converting, Corona Supplies, TESA, LR products, SET and Empron.

According to Albuquerque, latest market developments suggest this is a good time to welcome Heaford into the Maquinarium portfolio. “The four-year period of political crisis in Brazil seems to be drawing to a close and there are positive signs of improving conditions. It is especially encouraging for peripheral and auxiliary equipment such as Heaford’s, which through reducing set-up and downtime and improving process standardization can offer the means to survival in a tough market.

“I have followed the activities of JM Heaford in Brazil for many years, and have only ever heard positive reports about their equipment for its reliability, durability of build and advanced technology,” concludes Albuquerque. “Having JM Heaford as one of my principals at Maquinarium is without doubt a great addition and a great responsibility.”

Nick Vindel, Latin America Sales Manager for JM Heaford is equally positive about the prospects for the new association: “JM Heaford has been present in the Brazilian market since 1984 and we continue to be committed to this vast market, which has an estimated 3500 active converters and more than 4000 flexo presses. Fernando’s knowledge and contacts in the flexible packaging industry, combined with his drive and determination make him an ideal representative for the Brazilian market. JM Heaford continue to offer local technical service, and now we also have an enthusiastic and motivated company for our sales and marketing activities in Brazil. Together we can continue to support our existing customers while also actively driving forward our new technologies to support the long-term success of the Brazilian flexo industry.”

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Efficiency and sustainability continue to drive Reflex Labels as it installs four new FTS mounters from JM Heaford

Largest combined investment confirms Reflex as number one user of bestselling Heaford labels solution.

Cheshire, UK – 3 August 2017 – JM Heaford, industry-leading supplier of proofing and mounting solutions for the labels, packaging and decorative markets, has received orders for four machines from Reflex Labels in the UK. The investment follows positive experience of the technology following an initial FTS installation in 2015 and a comprehensive evaluation of its efficiency gains and benefits since that time.

With the programme of installation already underway, Reflex has now received delivery of the first two FTS mounters at its site in Barwell, Leicestershire, which specialises in labels and printed laminates for sachets. The remaining machines – one for Mansfield and one for Boston, Lincolnshire – are scheduled to be in operation before the end of August.

According to Paul Sefton, Operations Manager at Reflex Labels, sustainability is at the heart of operations here at Reflex, which is the driving force behind the choice of Heaford: “We invest in technology for continuous improvement and our day-to-day experience of the FTS has provided hard evidence that it delivers considerable efficiency improvements,” comments Mr Sefton. “It mounts plates more than twice as fast as a conventional mounter. Then, when you factor in its accuracy, easy operation and the minimal human intervention required, it all adds up to a huge advantage for production on the kind of scale we are handling at each Reflex site.”

The four machines in the new order are identical in specification, while differing from the first FTS installation at the company’s facility in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which included a specialised micro-gap cutter to provide consistent plate joining accuracy for continuous design printing without the need for ITR (in-the-round) sleeves. The FTS uses high-magnification cameras situated below a cushioned table to line up with the register marks through a viewing slot on the table. Once the operator has positioned the plate on the table and verified alignment, the machine takes over the mounting process, eliminating any further operator contact to reduce the risk of plate or cylinder damage and prevent any incidence of human error.

For Reflex, the faster, more accurate mounting systems means that each FTS can service multiple presses at the same time, which is a key benefit. “There’s no risk of production delay while we wait for plates to be mounted,” adds Mr Sefton. “The mounted cylinders can be ready by the press to change from one job to the next with minimal downtime.”

Claiming return on investment within a year for the FTS mounter, Heaford maintains that the lack of manual intervention required in operation has additional cost benefits over and above the speed of changeover. “The costs that accrue due to plate and tape damage in a large set-up can be eye-watering, both in terms of consumables outlay and lost production time,” explains Nigel Heaford, sales manager at JM Heaford. “The FTS is purpose designed to mount plates with total precision every time in a fast operation. Even in the hands of an inexperienced operator the machine performs to the highest accuracy while minimising any risk of plate damage. When it comes to production on the scale they do it at Reflex, the FTS will continue to prove its value in their drive towards efficiency and sustainability.”

From its ten BRC-certified UK sites Reflex practices a strategy of investing in new high-quality production equipment and processes to produce packaging for some of the world’s best-known brands. Its exhaustive range of packaging services covers labels and labelling systems, flexible packaging and shrink sleeves, including specialist and value-added processes such as HD flexo, foiling, holographics, braille and personalized labelling. The company has an ever-growing range of energy-saving initiatives and pursues a reduce, re-use, recycle policy with the goal of achieving zero landfill waste.

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Growing demand for Heaford products from French labels market leads to long-term investment from DewaFlex

Cheshire, UK – 15 June 2017 – DewaFlex, JM Heaford’s agent for France, has confirmed the permanent appointment of a new sales manager to handle growing demand for Heaford products in France. A steady rise in enquiries regarding Heaford flexo proofing and mounting systems has served as catalyst for the decision.

The formal appointment of Niels Soenen follows a provisional period during which he has focused on increasing awareness in France of Heaford technologies for improving efficiency of flexo print production. In particular, the new position recognises increased sales activity regarding the FTS narrow-web mounter and an overall upsurge in interest from smaller French label printing companies.

“You could say that the name Heaford has been a well-kept secret in France,” comments Soenen. “We have found many flexo printers operating Heaford models round the clock without even realising they have one. Because they are so robust and reliable, running day-in, day-out without an issue, their operators have never needed to contact the manufacturer. It’s a great endorsement of build quality and customer satisfaction, but my role is to continue spreading the word about the other Heaford machines that can make a significant difference to the productivity and efficiency of label printing operations.”

Established in 2013 and operating in France and Benelux, DewaFlex is commercial agent for a number of leading suppliers to the flexo industry including Zecher anilox rollers, Axcyl sleeves, Doyle dust suction systems and Alpha rewinder tables. The company also has its own range of anilox cleaning products and services. In addition to sales, installation and servicing for all its products, DewaFlex strengthens its offering to customers through providing independent consultancy on flexo production projects.

According to Pieter Dewaele, Owner/Director of DewaFlex, the timing of this appointment coincides with generally positive signs from across the flexo industry in France. “Even though there is still a lot of shift within the French label printing and flexible packaging industries, we are nevertheless seeing strong indicators for Heaford,” explains Dewaele. “They produce very innovative, yet stable machines, which are ideal for taking the next step in production. Following some of the latest trends, there is also a real need for mounting machines that are both very accurate and fast. Heaford is addressing this through its semi-automatic and fully automatic offerings.

JM Heaford’s Managing Director Sally-Anne Heaford explains the significance of this appointment for the manufacturer: “The sustained flow of new business enquiries and completed orders confirms that French labels printers in particular are getting wise to the suitability of Heaford models for their specialist high-quality applications. It’s thanks to the focus and professionalism of DewaFlex and, of course, our proven manufacturing standards that they are gaining competitive advantages through Heaford applied design.”

Heaford hires David Muncaster to drive development of market-leading label and packaging technologies

Altrincham, UK – 5th April 2017 – JM Heaford, industry-leading supplier of proofing and mounting solutions for the labels, packaging and decorative markets, has appointed David Muncaster to the new role of Director of Operations and Business Development. Muncaster brings an extensive background in multiple print sectors with specific expertise in process improvement and strategic product development.

Most recently EMEA Director of Packaging Development for Goss International, Muncaster has worked in the printing industry for 30 years in a variety of engineering and customer-facing roles encompassing production control, project management, procurement and sales. The new position at Heaford allows him to combine all disciplines in his broad remit to deliver continuous capability and productivity improvements for customers.

Drawing on his considerable market knowledge and manufacturing process expertise, Muncaster will direct product development in line with emerging trends and technical advancements. “The key to success will be in identifying those developments with the potential to make a substantial difference to our customers’ businesses and then innovating our own offering quickly and efficiently,” explains Muncaster. “This is both the challenge and the charm of the role. With an already vast installed base, as well as prospective new customers in all market segments, it presents the opportunity to make a contribution to the ongoing success of a highly-respected British brand.”

With over 4,000 proofing and mounting machines installed in more than 110 countries, Heaford’s extensive range of solutions has become an industry benchmark for the gravure and flexographic sectors since the company’s establishment in 1983. According to Managing Director, Sally-Anne Heaford, while the company has a solid base and significant market penetration, the appointment of Muncaster recognises the speed of change in these industries today: “A new dedicated resource focused exclusively on enhancing operational efficiency and forward-thinking developmental improvements will benefit our company and most importantly our customers. With his proven record in commercial and technical roles, as well as his open approach and keen attention to detail, we are certain that David will be able to fulfil his new responsibilities while preserving the Heaford hallmark of excellence.”