By DPS Magazine Staff
Part one of two
Options for digital label production market continue to expand. Here we highlight inkjet-based digital label systems on the market today—or coming soon.
Driven by innovation and ease-of-use, Bobst’s digital portfolio consists of three automated UV presses that meet converters challenges, from printing to embellishment, converting, die cutting, and quality control.
The DIGITAL EXPERT 340 digital UV label press is designed for highest productivity and ease of use in 13.5 inches print width.
The DIGITAL MASTER 340 – DIGITAL MASTER 510 (UV) All-in-One, All-in-line modular and upgradable label press with quality control in 13.5- and 20-inch print widths.
“All of our presses can achieve a speed of 328 feet per minute (fpm) at full native resolution of 1,200 dpi, offering printing in four or six colors plus optional digital white,” says Katie Graham, regional marketing and communications manager, Bobst North America, Inc.
The modular architecture of Bobst’s label presses allows its customers to configure the exact machine they need—from a digital-only version to highly customized configuration—integrating all modules available in inline flexography. It also provides the possibility to be upgraded on site at a later stage.
Graham says Bobst also incorporates an automatic, in-line calibration, and inspection solution on its machines through BOBST ACCUCHECK. This quality control system ensures meticulous label inspection, covering everything from color stability to print errors. If any mistakes are detected, the machines take prompt action to minimize waste.
Canon offers a variety of digital inkjet solutions available from its LX5000 series desktop printers, newly introduced mid-production LabelStream LS2000, to its versatile mid-high production hybrid inkjet LabelStream 4000 series.
Canon is the market leader in high-speed inkjet printing and has leveraged these experiences and technologies in its LabelStream digital presses. “Canon prides itself on quality, productivity and flexibility delivered by our solutions,” shares Dan Lacey, strategic business developer, Canon U.S.A, Inc.
Colordyne’s 3800 Series UV – Retrofit is a process color inkjet engine that can be easily integrated onto existing flexographic presses or finishing equipment. Colordyne’s 3800 Series UV – Retrofit offers 600×600 dpi while supporting up to seven color channels and a scalable print width ranging from 4.25 to 17 inches.
Colordyne also offers a water-based print engine, which is designed for integration onto existing flexographic presses and converting equipment. Digitally print on labels, flexible film packaging, and other porous or non-porous substrates.
According to the company, the Colordyne 3800 Series AP – Retrofit is a high performing, more environmentally friendly inkjet engine option for businesses looking to add digital capabilities to their production.
The Dantex Pico range is designed on a modular platform, offering a wide range of inline finishing options; die-cutting, lamination, backlit/edge trim, slitting and rewinding It doesn’t matter if you want to personalize every label, create short runs for A/B testing or simply trial label alternatives for your next global product launch.
Durst offers a range of digital inkjet label presses that suit short-, medium-, and long-run label production with 1,200 dpi inkjet quality. It has options from 13- to 20-inch widths and speeds from 170 feet per minute (fpm) to 328 fpm. Its current range of label inkjet printers all feature UV-based ink.
Sydnie Shelpland, advertising and digital marketing lead, Durst Image Technology U.S., LLC., says Durst offers have the highest speed, best quality and lowest cost of operation. “Durst led the transition of digital inkjet in label to 1,200 dpi and offer the most productive, cost effective solutions in the market.”
Epson manufactures both UV and aqueous digital label presses, designed to best suit the needs of print shops and label converters.
The aqueous-based SurePress L-4733AW with White ink is a low-cost, turnkey solution that offers a variety of advanced automation and unattended printing features, 96.5 percent certified Pantone coverage, and an optional inline spectrophotometer. Virtually automatic, requiring no manual cleaning of the printhead surface, the L-4733AW supports a range of substrates, including off-the-shelf flexographic materials, without the need to surface prime or corona treat; this includes films due to the resin-aqueous ink. Additionally, its inks meet the latest safety standards and regulations—such as REACH—and delivers high-quality images, making it a versatile press ideal for converters focusing on food and beverage and health and beauty labels.
The SurePress L-6534VW UV press is highly automated and well-suited for high-volume production environments. Incorporating PrecisionCore printhead technology, it offers high-quality ink variations featuring Digital Varnish for spot varnish, simulated foiling effects or debossing. Pantone coverage is certified to 92 percent with an Orange ink option. The press produces up to two million square feet per month. The fully automated system allows for simple press operations and maintenance to keep productivity high and total cost of onwnership low.
Driving the L-6534VW production is the Wasatch RIP, a fully included customizable solution designed to streamline orders, minimize production errors, help increase productivity, and run print production effectively.
Unlike many competitors on the market, Mike Pruitt, product manager, SurePress, Epson America, Inc., points out that Epson designs and manufactures all components of the digital label presses, including the printhead, ink technology, and software solutions. “This allows for all parts to be engineered and tested to work together as a cohesive unit, designed to benefit the customer. With this level of control, Epson has been able to provide customers with an advanced level of automation in the SurePress digital label presses that applies to producing color, consistency, print quality, and maintenance.”
Further, Epson’s built-in firmware helps to reduce errors in communication and keeps the press operating with a high level of automation designed to simplify the printing and maintenance process. “Customers do not need to involve third-party company software in the processing operations of the ripped files.”
Additionally, the SurePress is able to produce a large color gamut. The SurePress L-6534VW UV press achieves up to 92 percent of the full PANTONE range. Digital Varnish is printed in one pass with the other colors saving time and improving registration.
Focus Label offers UV featuring inline flexography as well as finishing like cold foil, laminating, and die cutting.
Gallus’ first fully digital label press is the Gallus One, a 340 millimeter (mm) wide roll-to-roll UV inkjet digital inline label press. It achieves high levels of automation and press efficiency with UV inkjet print quality and standout print speeds of up to 70 meters per minute (mpm).
Its flagship hybrid press—the Gallus Labelfire 340—is positioned in the peak performance market, also harnesses the flexibility and versatility of digital printing, combined with the reliability and precision of conventional printing and processing.
Finally, Gallus proven modular system means that the Gallus ECS 340 flexographic press can now be retrofitted with a digital printing unit (DPU) to transform it into a Gallus Labelfire 340, providing ultimate flexibility.
Dario Urbinati, CEO, Gallus Group, says the Gallus One is designed to remove the cost barrier for the adoption of reel-to-reel digital labels—but with the highest level of automation and cloud-based technologies. Specifically engineered to spark a transformation across the industry, the press represents the company’s commitment to creating the smart, connected print landscape of the future. By leveraging highly advanced, intelligent solutions such as the Gallus One, converters are able to create a seamless, automated, and connected print ecosystem with unparalleled levels of automation.
Jay Larsen, GM/R&D director, digital hardware, INX International Ink Co., INX offers the NW210 and NW350 UV Digital Inkjet printers with integrated laser die cutting.
INX has a wide variety of inks available, which allow its presses to print on a range of substrates and produce labels for specialized industrial application.
Lasern says INX’s press has an integrated laser die cutter that allows finished labels to be produced in one step. “Print runs can be as short as just one label,” he offers.
Along with its toner-based label presses, Konica Minolta’s Precision Label Series, PLS-475i is an inkjet-based label printer and bridges the gap between desktop label printers and production-class label presses.
Categorized as an entry production digital label press, the PLS-475i provides 1,600×1,600 dpi resolution, 30 to 60f fpm print speeds and exceptional ease of use. This is the ideal label press for retail outlets, commercial printers, and brand owners looking for an entry to bring label production in-house.
Mark Andy’s digital inkjet portfolio currently consists of its Digital Series iQ, iQ-R, and HD. The DSiQ is a mid-market hybrid machine inkjet offering. It is a 13-inch width platform that prints up to 164 fpm at full quality, can be equipped in expanded gamut, and with variable data printing.
It uses the proven Domino N610i engine, along with its web handling platform, which allows the customer to configure registered flexographic stations before and after digital, along with many converting options such as a semi-rotary die cutting unit, lamination, cold foil, scoring, slitting, waste windup, and sheeting.
The digital unit is UV-curable and the flexographic stations can be equipped with UV, UV LED, or hot air impingement dryers. As with other E-Series and P-Series equipment, the machine is customizable to the customer’s needs.
The DSiQ-R is a retrofittable version of the DSiQ. Benjamin Luly, product manager, digital presses, Mark Andy Inc., says it is well suited for converters looking to enter into the digital inkjet space while utilizing their existing flexographic equipment. “The DSiQ-R is installed above the press’s flexographic stations, reducing entry costs, saving shop space, and turning existing machines into complete digital hybrid systems. We are excited to offer this new solution to our existing Mark Andy customers.”
The DSiQ is a highly integrated solution, which consists of integrated UV, cooling, and communication systems between the two platforms. “This creates a solution that is truly integrated from an operator’s perspective, not simply mechanically tied together. The solution is pre-registration/re-registration capable, allowing our customers to synchronize the start of print between the digital, flexographic, and converting units, reducing waste, and saving time. Corrections made from the flexographic press will automatically synchronize to the digital platform, and the machine will automatically stop once digital printing is complete. Additional features such as re-insertion are also capable within this platform,” shares Luly.
The DSHD is Mark Andy’s upper market offering. It can print up to 240 fpm, up to 17 inches in width, full VDP, 85 percent white opacity, and with expanded gamut at full quality. It features redundant printheads to avoid nozzle-outs, increase reliability, and reduce downtime.
“All of our digital product offerings are available with ProWORX imposition software, and sMArt link data acquisition software to further drive efficiency and increase value. Our technical support network, application knowledge base, customer service, and complete consumables department MAPP are additional value adds that set Mark Andy apart from the competition,” says Luly.
All of Primera’s current label printers are aqueous-based inkjet printers.
Its label printer offering includes small format printers like the LX500 Color Label Printer, which utilizes print pre-die cut labels or card stock for badging in hospitals and corporate lobbies.
Its mid-level LX600 Color Label Printer is compact and offers high-quality, fast printing on pre-die cut stocks.
In addition to offering high quality print resolution and the ability to print on either continuous or pre-die cut stocks, the LX610 Color Label Printer also includes an x/y plotter cutter for inline digital die cutting. For the lowest cost per print, our LX3000 Color Label Printer offers a multi-use print head with separate CMY dye or pigment ink tanks and a maximum print width of 8.25 inches.
Jennifer Loegering, marketing manager, Primera Technology, Inc., points out that Primera’s label printers are compact, low-cost machines, which allow manufacturer to produce their own high-quality labels in-house. “Our label printers offer superior 4,800×1,200 print resolution and our LX610 Color Label Printer offers both printing and digital die-cutting all in one printer.”
The Screen Truepress Jet L350UV SAI series is developed in response to the industry’s need for mixed, short-run printing for the high price and luxury segments. This new system enables significantly richer color expression as well as superior scalability, enabling it to meet a wide variety of market needs. “SAI” refers to its stable operation, highly accurate color reproduction, and time-tested integrated technologies.
The SCREEN Truepress Jet L350UV+LM brings functionality to food packaging label production. As well as using newly developed low migration (low permeability) inks that offer enhanced safety, the press includes a nitrogen purge mechanism for accelerating the curing of UV inks, further preventing ink migration and UV odor.
The recently introduced SnapPress LP-1 runs on the HP FI1000 aqueous pigment inkjet engine and uses a customized Xitron RIP.
According to Kevin Davis, CEO, SnapPress, the LP-1 is the first commercial-ready label press using HP’s FI1000 engine with a customized RIP and a small footprint for a machine with this much printing power. It has the easiest to use customer interface in its class according to the company, runs at up to 90 fpm, and costs about one third of the price of larger commercial-grade label presses. For commercial print shops looking to get into label printing, brands looking to bring labels in-house, or existing label printers looking for a short run digital machine to augment their existing capabilities, this is a lower cost solution with a small footprint that is incredibly easy to operate.
Valloy offers the TOPAZET UV 8R UV LED inkjet label press, which is a compact and affordable single-pass eight-inch UV LED inkjet roll label printer. It features embedded spot-varnishing and cold foiling module. DUOBLADE digital label finishers can be linked inline.
Xeikon’s Panther series of UV inkjet presses includes the PX3300, PX30000, and PX2200.
There are many options when it comes to inkjet label production, from desktop solutions to high-end production.
Jan2024, DPS Magazine