Mount Stuart Trust is a registered charity formed in 1989 by the 6th Marquess of Bute to preserve the house, gardens, and estate on the Island of Bute. Mount Stuart is considered to be one of Scotland's finest heritage assets and places to visit.
The grounds of the house are one of Britain's most historic landscapes, and over the years the staff has introduced plants from all over the world within the gardens, including exotic and rare species.
As a popular attraction for visitors from near and far, Mount Stuart offers guided tours around the gardens allowing visitors to closely see some of the rarer species. As a living collection, the grounds constantly feature new exhibits resulting in the team looking for a cost-effective way to create identification labels for each plant.
The team’s challenge was to ensure large quantities of labels could be produced to match their exhibits. Previously, labels were produced using a mini drill engraver and monochrome scribe labels.
The problem with such a manual production method was the quality of the finished label being heavily reliant on the accuracy of the user, whilst the use of the engraver was physically taxing on team members, causing hand cramps and fatigue after prolonged periods of use.
Additionally, the Mount Stuart team had limited experience in creating labels; solely for internal use and with minimal detail. From this background, Mount Stuart Trust’s needs required options for a faster, ergonomic, and more accurate solution.
Graham Alcorn, Living Collections Manager, and the Mount Stuart team considered laser technology as a solution to their labeling problem. Graham attended a meeting of the Plant Network Group, where he saw a member of Cambridge Botanics staff give a talk on how their new Trotec Speedy 100 was used in the production of plant labels. Graham followed up this meeting with a visit to Cambridge to see the machine in action and was impressed with its capabilities and throughput. His next step was to book a demonstration of that model at the Stirling showroom.
Featuring a working area of 610 x 305mm the Speedy 100 laser engraver is the ideal machine for processing common materials used for plant labels. Graham and the team have produced over 700 labels with their laser and found a vast improvement in speed over their previous manual process, with accurate reproductions of data including ascension numbers and QR codes.
The processing capabilities of the laser ensure that physical strain is no longer an issue and has improved the quality and detail of the labels.
Mount Stuart Trust also utilize Trotec materials for their plant labels. Graham said, "For our exhibit labels we use Trotec's TroLase 3 Ply black and white material, which gives our labels a very professional finished appearance."