By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Fast turnaround and minimal material waste entice businesses to incorporate digital label production. Brand owners benefit from a variety of size, color, and shape choices, as well as customization with the introduction of digital print and finishing capabilities.
In this two-part series, we speak with two print providers that offer digital label production to satisfy client needs.
Best Label Incorporated
Established in 1976, Best Label Incorporated started with 25 employees in a 15,000-square foot manufacturing plant in Cerritos, CA. The shop offered flexographic labels and provided services to Southern CA. At the time, the demand for labels came from the food and beverage industry, inspiring Best Label to invest in flexography printers and high-speed applicators.
Today, Best Label offers flexography, silkscreen, and digital printing methods for label production. Its applications include custom, expanded content, and product labels, custom stickers, direct mail, magnets, neck hangers, and scratch offs.
With 150 employees, the shop operates in three manufacturing plants with a total of 150,000 square feet with clients from North America to South America. It serves markets including automotive, beverage, chemical, food, health and beauty, industrial, marketing, pharmaceutical, and sports.
“Best Label has always had the ‘customer always comes first’ approach,” explains John Crammer, GM, Best Label Incorporated. The shop does whatever is necessary to ensure clients get what they need when they need it. “This has served us well in the food and beverage marketplace,” he adds.
Four Decades of Labels
Best Label has produced labels for the past 41 years with clients from startups to multi-national companies. It added digital to complement its traditional label business. “Digital label production offers very quick turnaround times with minimal material waste. This is ideal for shor- run label jobs,” says Crammer.
The shop specializes in high-quality, pressure-sensitive labels, which Crammer finds popular among multiple markets.
For nearly ten years, Mactac has been Best Label’s primary label stock supplier. “We chose Mactac due to the quality of the product, impeccable customer service, and strong relationship-based management,” says Crammer.
Best Label regularly uses Mactac’s semi-gloss, clear, and white films. The Mactac Clear Prime label products feature durable film liners for heavy-duty high performance. It is designed to withstand outdoor environments with extreme temperatures, moisture, and UV light. Clear films may also be used as a protective laminate.
To create and manage label production, the shop uses Label Traxx, a business management software for label converters. Crammer says it’s a good multi-platform software that’s capable of uniform IT management of three manufacturing facilities including Spanish for Best Label’s Mexico operation.
Purchased over a year ago, Best Label uses the Epson SurePress L-6034VW for label production. It prints up to 49 feet per minute (fpm) and handles a maximum width of 13.4 inches with LED U- curing ink.
According to Crammer, the three facets of digital printing are inkjet printheads, software, and ink. “They are the basis for quality, performance, and dependability. Epson impeccably controls these three areas in its state-of-the-art press,” he adds.
For finishing, Best Label uses the RotoFlex Vericut2, purchased one year ago, and recently ordered the RotoFlex Vericut3. The Vericut3 is a multi-function platform for finishing printed continuous label stock. It handles 165 fpm in semi-rotary and 300 fpm continuous.
When it comes to future label production trends, Crammer sees expanded gamut printing as the primary method of producing labels in the future. “The Nilpeter Press Line and Esko Pre-Press software are on the leading edge in supporting this technology. Digital will be able to offer this same capability with the addition of inkjet heads to their format,” he says.
Brewing up Labels
In June 2017, new customer El Segundo Brewing Company approached Best Label for 5,000 labels. El Segundo Brewing Company makes over 400 barrels of beer a month. The company self distributes its products throughout Southern CA.
The client sought labels for a collaborative product produced by the L.A. Brewers Guild at El Segundo Brewing. The Brewers Guild includes breweries, affiliates, enthusiasts, and allied trade businesses.
Crammer says the client requested color reproduction quality and matte and gloss pattern varnish with embossing. Best Label created the labels with Mactac’s white film for its durability and moisture resistance.
The shop printed the labels on the Epson SurePress L-6034VW and utilized its embossing features. The press’s digital varnish allows a gloss or matte finish to be printed selectively or overall. Partial accents can also be added using either finishes. Best Label embossed accents onto the gloss varnish. “The ability to achieve both matte and gloss pattern varnish from the Epson SurePress sets this job apart from the rest,” explains Crammer.
According to Crammer, the only challenge during the project was achieving a complex die to print registration and stripping.
All 5,000 labels were completed from proof approval to delivered product in one week. The client felt the goals and objectives were met 100 percent in color reproduction and varnishing. “They are happy to have it decorated with this label, as its quality is reflective of their product,” adds Crammer.
Digital print technology allows Best Label to quickly produce mass amounts of labels with value-added effects like foil and embossing. In part two of this series, we continue our discussion on digital label production with a print shop that creates a majority of labels for products that involve moving parts.
Aug2017, DPS Magazine