Necessity is the mother of invention, or so they say, and it is true. Springfield Solutions is testament to that because throughout our history, our customers have challenged us to come up with new solutions, and every time we have succeeded. Often, those solutions have become standard practice in the print and brand management industry.
2016 has been a vintage year for us. Looking back, there have been many high points, and here are just a few examples:
We added a whole new dimension to our print services in 2016, by investing in a 3D printer. We firmly believe 3D printing will revolutionise certain forms of manufacturing, even to the point of printing human organs, so it was something we wanted to get into at the first opportunity.
Now a staple of our brand management division, learn more about how 3D printing will shape the future here.
It wasn’t long after announcing the investment that we were using our 3D printer to full effect. Air Wick wanted to trial new ergonomic aerosol can designs for their Life Scents range and opted to work with us. Not only did we invest 12 months of concentrated R&D to perfect a new printing technique for the cans, we used the 3D printer to create an innovative trigger mechanism which was adopted across the entire range.
The aerosol can went on to win several prestigious packaging design awards.
Digital inkjet printing
In a world first, this year Springfield Solutions integrated a Screen Truepress 350L UV with inline finishing equipment. This enables us to create printed labels, cut, varnished and finished in a single process, helping us to create more opportunities for our clients. You can read all about it here.
So successful was it that in June, we invested in our third Screen 350L UY inkjet press. Our relationship with Screen is getting stronger and we’re delighted with the quality their presses bring to our print room.
Award-winning brand management
Our work with Air Wick, cited above, lead to a Gold award in the packaging category of the iF World Design awards, with its Life Scents aerosol can. Our innovation team invested more than a years’ R&D into reproducing the complex graphics of the packaging using a dry offset process, more commonly associated with simple designs. The award followed two accolades picked up by Life Scents in September, 2015. The can won Silver Star awards in the DIY, Gifts and Gardening category, and the Inclusive Design category of the Starpack Awards.
More awards success came in May, this time directly for Springfield Solutions, when our own SASO (Self Adhesive Shrink On) label was nominated in the graphic design category of the Print, Design and Marketing Awards 2016.
The label, developed entirely by us, combines the quality of printing directly on to aerosol cans with the benefits of digital label print. It enables companies to apply 360 degree graphics over the full height of the can, yet do it in short runs with low pre-press costs and with faster lead times. The industry recognised the innovative process with the award nomination.
Mock>it, our packaging mock-up service, has grown hugely this year. It enables our clients to create prototype packaging and experiment with how the final product package will eventually look. This year, we made it more powerful by introducing short-run carton mock ups. By doing this, companies can alter, amend and tweak their packaging and create new samples for each change. It is a fast and cost effective way to achieve perfection. Mock>it is now used by dozens of customers to ensure their packaging is exactly where they need it to be when it hits the shelves.
But in the spirit of never standing still, we extended mock>it in October by adding flexible bags and pouches into the packaging options. Bags and pouches have undergone an explosion of popularity in the FMCG sector as a way of addressing environmental concerns around packaging. This trend spurred our decision for further innovation.
Colour cards are another area to benefit from the Springfield Solutions innovation treatment. Hitherto created by the costly and time consuming traditional printing techniques, extensive R&D has enabled us to match their quality with digital print. This is the first time such a result has been achieved, and it has revolutionised the way colour cards are created. Already paint and coatings companies are seeing the benefits, few more so than leading industrial, agricultural and marine paints manufacturer, Teal & Mackrill.
As well as these service innovations, Springfield Solutions saw some major business successes during 2016. We achieved the highest grade possible in the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials audit, taking our score from A last year to AA this. And, in perhaps the most exciting move of this year, we announced a £1.3m expansion which will see our print capacity increase by 30 per cent.
As part of the expansion, we are extending our operations into a neighbouring building and increasing the number of presses we operate to five. To find out more about how the expansion will bring benefits to clients, check out episode one and episode two of our VLOGS.
2016 has been a very innovative year for Springfield Solutions, and we’d like to thank everyone, including staff, suppliers and customers, who have played a part in making that happen.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017, may it be prosperous and full of good will for all.