New digital label presses highlighted the event, Labelexpo and made it clear that digital printing is going to be a seminal technology in package and label printing. But despite 2015 being the year of the digital label press, technological innovations abounded across all packaging segments and print methods, spanning presses, finishing equipment and just about every other pressroom function converters need to consider. Here are 10 new products from the past year that would have a big impact on the industry.
Gallus DCS 340
With an inkjet print unit in the center flanked by multiple in-line substrate conditioning and preparation stations and several in-line finishing capabilities, it was hard to miss the highly anticipated Gallus DCS 340 at Labelexpo. The press, which came together through a collaboration among Gallus, Heidelberg and Fujifilm, combines eight-color inkjet printing with flexo capabilities, semi-rotary diecutting and more. Using Fujifilm printheads to generate a 1,200 dpi native resolution, Gallus states that this press produces quality that rivals offset in a digital format. With speeds comparable to similar digital presses, the DCS 340’s combination of digital and flexo technologies, along with in-line converting, is sure to make this press a pioneer in the changing world of label printing.
HP PageWide Web Press T1100S
Though label printing experienced the most digital innovation in 2015, other packaging segments felt the impact of just how far this technology has come. In the corrugated market, a behemoth machine known as the HP PageWide Web Press T1100S made waves in December with its sheer size, fast speeds and ability to bring stunning print quality to corrugated.
HP collaborated with KBA in developing the press and unveiled the 110˝-wide machine in December at KBA’s facility in Würzburg, Germany. One of the most exciting aspects of the T1100S is its usage of Multi-lane Print Architecture. This HP innovation allows the web to split into multiple lanes so separate jobs with varying sizes and run lengths can print simultaneously. With speeds up to 600 linear ft./min. and 330,000 sq. ft./hr., the T1100S is poised to lead the way for digital corrugated printing.
Nilpeter Panorama Series
Nilpeter demonstrated its commitment to digital label printing with the release of its Panorama series at Labelexpo. The Panorama series consists of both the DP-3 standalone label press and the DP-3 plus an in-line converting system. The DP-3 provides several user-friendly features, including EQUIOS, a workflow management system, which Nilpeter states provides strong typeface optimization, automated step and repeat capability, and matching capabilities for most Pantone colors. A 42˝ color touch screen makes ease of use even easier. The in-line converting solution provides a varnishing unit, a length slitting unit and infeed and rewind sections. Because it is designed specifically for the DP-3, registration is fast and simple. With Nilpeter’s strong foothold in the label market, look for the Panorama series to be a major player in the rise of digital.
Heidelberg Promatrix 106 CS
Following the 2015 trend of major industry players collaborating on new releases, Heidelberg joined forces with Masterwork Machinery to release the Promatrix 106 CS. Though this new diecutter was officially unveiled at the end of 2014, its first installation came in April 2015 at Polish package printer Arka-Druk. This diecutting and embossing system will play a major role in the folding carton segment with its speed, short setup times and short-and medium-run capabilities. Heidelberg states that the Promatrix 106 CS runs at an output speed of 8,000 sheets/hr., processing material from 90 to 2,000 gsm. The Promatrix 106 CS can also extend beyond folding cartons, processing corrugated substrates up to 4mm thick. With its ease of use, short setup times and range of substrate thicknesses it can handle, the MK Promatrix 106 CS showed that innovation in the past year also extended to the world of diecutting.
UV curing also saw its share of innovation in 2015. In June, GEW announced the release of ArcLED, a hybrid UV curing system that it touts as “futureproof.” The ArcLED system combines arc UV curing capabilities and LED curing capabilities. GEW explains that LED is becoming a more common choice for UV curing, but with this new system, a converter can acquire arc UV curing at the time of purchase and upgrade it to LED UV curing at a later date, without needing to switch out lamphead casings, the power supply or controls. By using GEW’s RHINO power supply, converters can use arc or LED cassettes and the system can seamlessly alternate between the two. As UV curing capabilities grow and the use of LED expands, being able to constantly upgrade and alternate between lamp types provides increased efficiencies in print curing.
MPS EF SYMJET
Meeting the increasing need for digital capabilities, MPS partnered with Domino to release the EF SYMJET, which provides printers with the versatility of flexo and digital technology. The system combines flexography through MPS’ standard EF platform and digital through the N610i inkjet printer from Domino. This new solution is designed with Kyocera print heads, which can produce a 600×600 dpi resolution using six colors and an opaque white. The Domino printer features a 340mm web width, while the MPS flexo portion runs a 430mm web width.
Mark Andy Performance Series P4
With all of the product launches in 2015, flexibility has proven to be a key incentive for new press purchases. In July 2015, Mark Andy announced that it extended its Performance Series Line to include the P4 model. The new model supports any flexo pressroom for mid-sized label printers and converters. This servo-driven model is designed with a load-and-lock inking system and an improved changeover time. The P4 can be fitted with an advanced P Series plate tooling system or most existing plate cylinder tooling. Flexibility is ensured with a rail system that allows processes, such as cold foil and lamination, to be moved between stations easily.
Xeikon CX3 — Another big attraction at Labelexpo Europe was Xeikon’s heavily anticipated CX3, based on Xeikon Cheetah digital print technology. The five-color self-adhesive digital label press has a top speed of 98 ft./min. and boasts 1,200×3,600 dpi. Offering versatility in capabilities, the press can print on substrate widths from 7.9˝ to 13˝. Since time and efficiency are top of mind issues for package printers of every size, the CX3 makes repeatability and finishing easier. The full rotary press allows for adjustable repeat lengths and supplies users with a one-stop-shop for printing and converting self-adhesive labels.
Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C71cf
As digital label printing technology grows, Konica Minolta is leading the way in bringing label printing to different environments. The new bizhub PRESS C71cf is intended for narrow web applications, and its small footprint makes it suitable for mid-sized converters, commercial print shops and in-plant printers. It uses dry-toner electrophotography in full CMYK color and supports 1,200×1,200 dpi. The press can print an image width up to 320mm and supports pressure sensitive paper in gloss, semi-gloss and matte finishes. The press also supports specialty substrates, including synthetic, polypropylene, polyester and BOPP. With increasing SKU proliferation and quick turnaround times, the C71cf is designed with short print run lengths and on-demand runs in mind.
MGI JETVarnish 3DW
Another of the major attractions at Labelexpo 2015, the JETVarnish 3DW is MGI’s response to an industry that requires ever-evolving solutions in design and finishing. The JETVarnish 3DW and iFOIL W is a roll-to-roll print embellishment solution with a production rate up to 65 ft./min. and a working width of 100-420mm. Not only is the system ideal for “foil-on-demand” short-run capabilities from one to 100,000 pieces, but it allows for variable data foiling options for mass personalization. The system can produce digital spot UV varnishes in-line in flat and/or 3D, digital embossing or in-line digital hot foiling, as well as various patented UV varnishes available in 2D, 3D and more