When gaming products supplier Cowells Arrow became Domino's first ever customer after the coding and marking solutions manufacturer was founded in 1978, it marked the beginning of a partnership that has spanned more than three decades and continues to this day.
Cowells, now part of the Arrow International group of companies, invested in the Unijet, Domino's first commercial printer and a predecessor to its A-Series continuous ink jet solutions.
The Unijet, which revolutionised coding and marking by eradicating the need for manual systems, enabled Cowells Arrow to digitally produce alpha numeric codes onto bingo tickets in sequences, setting it apart from its competitors who still relied on handheld numbering machines.
The company's willingness to invest in cutting edge technology, along with its merger with Arrow International, has seen Cowells Arrow become a truly global supplier of bingo and lottery tickets with factories in the US, Canada and Mexico, and a workforce numbering approximately 1000 worldwide and 50 in the UK.
As the company looked to grow and expand its product offering, it has continued to turn to Domino, which is this year celebrating its 35th year of trading, on multiple occasions when needing to review its coding and marking solutions or invest in the latest innovations.
Ten years after installing the Unijet, Cowells Arrow replaced it with another pioneering Domino innovation, the multiple-jet ELAN printer, which was integrated into a Timson lottery ticket manufacturing line and used to print unique numbers onto the bottom of the tickets.
Brian Connaughton, Cowells Arrow Production Manager, said, "Domino's Unijet and ELAN printers were way ahead of their time and the forerunners for the variable data printing solutions that we use today. We have only recently decommissioned the ELAN printer, which was still working perfectly, after we replaced the Timson press with a duplex digital printing system. The fact that it the ELAN was still running after 25 years is testament to how advanced the technology was when it was first installed."
Brian continued, "When Cowells Arrow first started working with Domino, it needed to manipulate variable data into set sequences, which required a great deal of input from both parties."
The reliability of the ELAN has been praised by Mick Welham, Cowells Arrow Works Engineer, who was present at the installation of the press back in 1988 and retired at the same times as the printer. "I worked at Cowells Arrow for 25 years and the ELAN was installed just after I joined. It was a very advanced piece of machinery when it was first installed, and eliminated the need for manual numbering systems and it's been a really excellent printer that has kept going right up until the day it was decommissioned and I retired!," added Mick.
Since installing the ELAN back in 1988, Cowells Arrow has also introduced Domino A-Series continuous ink jet printers, and currently uses an A400 integrated into a Heidelberg press to overprint pull-tab lottery tickets.
Today, Cowells Arrow has many other Domino A-Series CIJ installations at its factories in Ohio, Canada and Mexico.
Brian Connaughton continued, "We would highly recommend Domino's coding and marking solutions for their quality and ongoing reliability, year after year. The ELAN printer still worked perfectly, up until the day it was decommissioned, and Cowells Arrow is still using the A-Series continuous ink jet printers at our factories in the UK and overseas."