The Award 

The British Plastic Federation (BPF) has recognised the technological advances made within Digital Printing by First Editions Ltd, by awarding them the prestigious Horners Bottle Makers Award. The national recognition follows persistence and hard work by both First Editions’ staff and many supporting companies.  The announcement was made by The Worshipful Company of Horners on the BPF exhibition stand at the recent Interplas Trade Show.

The award was presented at the Horners Annual Banquet by the Lord Mayor of the City of London.  The event, held at the Mansion House, is the highlight of the Worshipful Company of Horners diary and offers an opportunity to showcase the technology to many industry leaders. The historical accolade dates back to the 1940s and has previously been awarded to many households names such as Ribena, BP and Airbus.

The Technology 

The digital process allows high quality full colour printing to be fully applied around the bottle including non-flat areas such as shoulders and handles which cannot be reached using conventional methods. Unlike traditional printing the process works directly from digital artwork without the use of screens or plates and enables First Editions to give a truly bespoke service with no minimum order quantity.

This is the first use of the newly developed technology for such applications in Europe and First Editions have had to overcome significant technical problems to achieve a successful production process, not least of which was the implementation of atmospheric plasma surface treatment to enhance the properties of the LDPE surface to ensure compatibility with the ink systems used in the digital print heads.

The technology has already benefited a host of leading companies and proved very popular within the promotional, giftware and retail sectors. Many of the country’s leading brands have taken advantage of the new technology during their latest promotional campaigns. Within the giftware market, the product has proved especially popular with parents wanting to provide an easily recognisable, hygienic drinking solution for their children. The technology is also benefiting elite athletes as personalised products enable nutritionists to accurately monitor daily fluid and supplement intake.

The Company 

First Editions is the largest supplier of sports bottles within the UK. Originally based in Solihull the company now operate out of a bespoke warehouse in south Birmingham. Still a family run business and having experienced sustained growth over the last twenty years, First Editions is committed to remaining at the forefront of the industry. Alongside the state of the art digital print machine they operate two twin head blow moulding machines, a CNC four colour process machine, two fully automated three station screen printing machines and four semi-automatic screen printing machines. First Editions is a founding member of the Briman group who are working hard to promote the benefits of buying British made promotional merchandise.

Director, Mark Alderson, commented, ‘As a proud British manufacturer we are always looking for ways to improve the services we offer. Some time ago we recognised our customers need to offer a full colour print solution so investigated opportunities to provide this. Despite numerous challenges, the end goal has remained constant and our determination has enabled us to achieve the unique services now available. The advantages of digital printing are huge and will continue to benefit all of our clients’. 

The Future 

Alderson continued, ‘In the near future we are looking to offer this print service on a larger range of products and hope to expand our trade print offerings to include digital printing. We are already working with our partners to develop further machines that will reduce costs and speed up production. It is a really exciting time for First Editions and its customers.’