2017 was ANFEC’s internationalisation year, starting with increased contacts with Portuguese label manufacturers to augment the Association’s membership, showing a clear vocation to form an Iberian entity, rather than just a Spanish group. This crystallised in the recent XX Annual Congress, held in Porto, with representatives of Portuguese companies attending as full members. “ANFEC is already more an Iberian association than a Spanish association” announced Jose Ramon Benito, their president, when he inaugurated the Congress.
In Infopack, we wanted to take up the torch and, via Etiquel, a prestigious manufacturer of wine labels that represents better than any other company the values of modernity and freshness, learn about the ins and outs of the Portuguese self-adhesive label market. We were accompanied by representatives of Miyakoshi Europe, to find out more about the giant leap forward that the installation of the Miyakoshi MLP13H semi-rotary UV offset press meant for Etiquel, leading to a 30% increase in business.This was so successful that they are planning to install a second press for next year.
From textiles to high-quality enological labels
Located in Alfena, a short distance from Porto, Etiquel has evolved in a curious but noteworthy way. Its story, narrated by Celestino Costa, the Managing Director and alma mater of the company, is as follows: “Etiquel was founded in 1982 by my father, and specialized in textile labels, firstly printing on cloth, and later on cardboard as well. We have always tried to do things differently, in this market as well, this is a hallmark of the company. I remember one time, about 15 years ago, when I was asked to put some Swarovsky diamonds in a cloth label. I was delighted to do it, it was a real challenge to see how far we could take this type of support. Then we suffered the textile crisis in Portugal, which was terrible and hit us hard. My father tried to sell Etiquel, and I decided to form my own company, and I started with what I knew best, textile labels. In the second year, I quintupled my profits and bought more machinery. My dream was to buy my father’s company. Meanwhile, my father had been unable to sell Etiquel, and round about then, he started to make wine labels, since he had seen that that market offered good opportunities for growth. That was when I finally suggested that I buy his company, and he, having seen how I had set up a company that had grown so much so quickly, showed his pride in me, and after studying the proposition, he decided to sell it to me. So that is how I bought Etiquel, the company my father had created. He continued to make wine labels, while I continued with textiles, until that market completely collapsed and I also turned to wine labels. I bought an offset press, and that changed everything in the business”.
Three generations of Etiquel: Celestino Costa with his brothers, his father and his son, who form the staff of this family business dedicated to serving its clients.
Why did Celestino Costa select an offset press for his printing? “For me, this is the technology that provides the highest quality in a wide variety of jobs. The wine market is very demanding, and uses textured paper and many Pantones, and I have always seen that this work is very easy using offset. I know a lot about typography, and I am more or less familiar with flexography, and I can see that the simplicity of offset cannot be beaten. It is very easy to run the paper through it and print it, no matter what it is like. Also, offset pre-impression work is completely different from other types of technology, and that helped me a lot. At the same time, we have always had semi-rotary presses, never rotary presses, so it was very easy for me to use offset, because I started with offset and I am still using offset”. With this technology, properly managed, Etiquel can handle practically all of the job proposals they receive: “maybe some jobs could use a little flexography, but there are few machines like this in Portugal. I handle short and medium sized jobs, and that is why, given my structure and the clients I seek out, offset is so important to me. It is simple and easy to use for short and medium print runs, which are the most common in the Portuguese market”.
A step forward with Miyakoshi
“Miyakoshi’s Semi-rotary UV offset is specially designed for short and medium print runs of high-quality labels, and this type of product fits very well in the Iberian area, with outstanding markets for wine, oil and beverages”, commented Michel Madoz, the Marketing Manager of Miyakoshi Europe. “We have had the Miyakoshi for two years, and are very happy with it, since this machine transformed us”, confirms Costa
Celestino Costa, in the centre, with the representatives of Miyakoshi Europe, next to the MLP13H semi-rotary UV offset press.
The exact model of semi-rotary UV offset press installed in Etiquel is Miyakoshi’s MLP13H, “Miyakoshi’s most productive model, because it combines the maximum printing rate in the MLP range, reaching speeds of 300 ipm, with the longest repeat length, 406.4mm”, points out David Lopez, Miyakoshi Europe’s Sales Area Manager. “Because of this, and remembering that all of Miyakoshi’s MLP models can print at their maximum mechanical speed, independently of the repeat length, the MLP13H in Etiquel can print at around 121 m/m under optimum conditions.Its configuration consists of an in-feed reel, a flexo station, then four offsets, hot-foil, an offset, a flexo, rotary silk screening, a K&B Gapmaster cutter and an out-feed reel; a perfect example of Miyakoshi’s wide-ranging possibilities for constructing and manufacturing semi-rotary presses to meet the needs of each print shop”, explains Lopez.
“We have put a lot of effort into the commercial, marketing and communications areas to introduce our technology into the Iberian Peninsula, and after only three years, our success is shown by 12+1 Miyakoshi semi-rotary presses already installed (with a few more on the way)”, comments Michel Madoz. “We must also remember that, on a European level, the evolution of offset is very positive and encouraging, with an estimated growth of 4-5%. Globally, the printing market is contracting, and only the markets for labels and packaging are showing growth ratios. But even within this growth tendency, print runs in the label world are getting progressively shorter, with greater demands for quality. It is this range of products, very high-quality labels with short and medium quantities, where Miyakoshi has an advantage with its experience and technology for the development of offset machines. You could say that we have the right product at the right time”, he adds.
This, as we have said before, is fundamental for wine labels. “In the wine market”, Celestino Costa tells us, “everyone wants something different. We live off images, and the label is sometimes more important than the wine itself. That is why label manufacturers and suppliers of machinery and paper must never forget that we work in graphic arts and our obligation is to innovate constantly, to help our clients differentiate themselves”. “I am practically certain that Portuguese wines, in comparison with wines from other countries”, he continues, “are those that have changed their image most and have done so for longer, perhaps because they were the least successful internationally; for this reason, we started to change our image a long time ago, using the best papers and finishes, since we needed to improve sales”.
Often, innovation consists in equipping oneself with the best and most versatile technologies; during our visit to Etiquel, we also saw the installation of an HP Indigo digital press, “I am convinced that this will be an element that will help us to grow a little more and give greater value to the company. However, this investment is not aimed so much at growth, but rather, at offering a better service to our wine clients, because right now, we don’t need more clients, we must improve our products”, explains Celestino Costa.
At present, Etiquel serves clients throughout Portugal, a country that, like Spain, when it comes to wines, is divided into different denominations of origin. “The area of Vinhos de Douro y do Porto is our mainstay, but, for example, we have clients in Vinhos Verdes, which is growing notably, and of course, we have clients in other areas such as Lisbon, Alentejo, the Algarve, etc.”, declares Celestino Costa.
Innovation, the key
We ended our visit to Etiquel with a favourable impression of a company that transmits youthfulness, innovation, creativity and modernity, and whose guiding spirit is found in the personality of Celestino Costa. “In reality, the keyword is innovation”, concludes the Manager, “since we have constantly sought to be up to date. If you don’t do this, you cannot stay in a market that is growing and demanding new things. We always have to be alert, thinking about how to grow with the market, keeping up with the tendencies that we observe. Otherwise, we will fall behind”.