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Equipment supplier grows business with contract printing

Diligent R&D has nabbed a 35,000+ part/day contract printing job for Canada Stamp (a division of Sterling Marking Products), a machinery distributor that has quickly and successfully moved into the co...


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May 1, 2001 by Canadian Plastics


Diligent R&D has nabbed a 35,000+ part/day contract printing job for Canada Stamp (a division of Sterling Marking Products), a machinery distributor that has quickly and successfully moved into the contract printing market over the last few years.

Canada Stamp’s ambitious new project is a contract to pad print a metallic image on lipstick caps for a major cosmetics company. The caps were previously decorated by hot stamping in Asia. The contract will require the addition of eight new pad printers and 12 more operators at Canada Stamp’s plant in Toronto.

It also required nine months of intensive research and development to achieve an ink formulation and production method that would rival the hot stamped parts for aesthetics, efficiency and cost.

“We literally searched the world for an ink that could look as metallic as hot stamped foil. In the end, we developed our own formulation,” explains Sean Sawa, marketing manager for Canada Stamp.

The lipstick cap is also challenging because the surface is curved and textured, it must be decorated in two spots, and the image contains fine lines.

Although Canada Stamp has a long history as a supplier of industrial printing supplies, it is a relative newcomer to contract printing. Six years ago, the company was bought out by a long-time competitor, Sterling Marking Products of London, ON. A year later, management began to accept printing contracts in addition to selling Italian-made Tosh pad printers. As the printing business increased, a strategic (and lucrative) decision was made to pursue pad printing but not hot stamping. Canada Stamp has grown from running a single pad printer (Tosh, of course) to twelve machines, in only five years.

The Toronto facility is becoming ISO 9001 registered and has extensive warehouse space; both are features that appeal to automotive customers, explains Sawa.

Sawa notes that pad printing is the fastest growing sector within Sterling’s industrial marking business.

Although he sells pad printers, Sawa admits that it can be challenging for a plastics processor to operate a printing operation in-house. “You need to be knowledgeable to get good results. Each component of the process — art, film, plate, pad, ink, machine and part — has its own hurdles. Inks and pads can change day to day due to humidity, temperature, and other process variables.”