Toshiba's APLEX4 print and apply solution streamlines production processes for electrical distribution equipment manufacturer.

Sicame Electrical Distribution streamline production processes with Toshiba print and apply labelling.

Sicame UK Limited is a single corporate entity which wholly owns the three subsidiaries of WT Henley, Sicame Electrical Developments and Sicame Electrical Distribution. Sicame UK designs and manufactures a wide range of electrical distribution equipment that is used throughout the electrical distribution and supply industry. Their products are used across the globe by a number of electricity supply utilities, satisfying their demanding and onerous requirements on many varied network designs and in wide-ranging climatic conditions.

Evolving printing capabilities

Sicame Electrical Distribution have been using Toshiba’s robust industrial printers for labelling in their manufacturing site for many years. Matthew Paul, Senior Production Manager commented on the facilities production activities, “We are a busy site producing a variety of products for the cabling industry, with many of our lines running on a 24/7 basis. Labelling is an essential part of that process, and we are heavily reliant on a reliable and durable solution to keep up with the demands of the business.”

Sicame has been supported by Lemon Labels, a Premium Toshiba Partner, for many years now, and over this time have developed a long-standing and trusted partnership. Lemon Labels, support Sicame with their print infrastructure, supplying rugged industrial labelling printers.
Trevor Voisey, Managing Director at Lemon Labels, talked about Sicame’s printing requirements, “We always take the time to listen to our customers specific objectives and propose solutions that are a fit for their business. Sicame needed fast, efficient and reliable printers that would be compatible with the software solutions they were using. Working with Toshiba meant we could recommend specialist industrial products specifically designed for demanding manufacturing environments.”

Becoming fully automated

Although the majority of Sicame’s production processes were automated, the final product labelling was still heavily reliant on manual intervention. Matthew spoke about the drawbacks, “We were producing around 500 buckets of our insulation compound per day and employed temporary staff on a shift basis to fix the lids and apply the Hazchem labels that had been printed on our Toshiba industrial printers. It was a time consuming and laborious process that could lead to labels being misplaced or applied with wrinkles, often making the barcode unreadable. We sought the advice of Lemon Labels to suggest a solution to help us automate the labelling process and were pleased to discover that we could upgrade our existing Toshiba industrial printers to a fully automated print and apply solution.”

With a low capital outlay, easy to use and install, the Toshiba APLEX4 can help manufacturing companies take the first steps into automation. Trevor talked about the benefits for Sicame, “We recommended the APLEX4 as a simple to install off-the shelf solution that was ideally suited to integrate into their existing production line. They could save cost by utilising their existing Toshiba printers and didn’t need to make changes to their current label print solution, which was already connected across their network.”

A real cost saving

Following a seamless installation phase, Sicame are now fully automated, with labels applied quickly and consistently to each bucket. Matthew spoke about the installation, “The APLEX4 is a true plug and play solution, and easily integrates into our production line. It’s completely flexible so we can orientate the printer to apply the label in any position, and being able to keep our existing printers has enabled us to keep the capital costs to an absolute minimum.”

By implementing the APLEX4, the company has been able to save a whole headcount and reduce the errors associated with manual label application. Mathew talked about the improvements, “We have a fully automated, streamlined process that applies labels to our buckets on a 24/7 basis. It has enabled us to significantly reduce errors and improve consistency, as each label is placed in the same place on the product every time. We are expecting a very quick return on our investment.”

With the success of the installation, Sicame are now looking at other areas of their business that could benefit from automation.

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