UK printer Labelcraft has installed a TrojanLabel Trojan T4 as part of its continuing investment in digital technology to serve its clients in an ever-more efficient and cost-effective manner.
T4 is an all-in-one digital color label press with integrated finishing station that can print, laminate, cut and die-cut 4-color labels. The print engine can achieve a 1600 x 1600dpi resolution at a maximum speed of 60ft/min. A new formulation is claimed to reduce ink consumption by 50-70 percent compared to other printers on the market. Color and light resistance has also been improved, three-fold. Finishing options include laminating and die-cutting.
Labelcraft director John Norman identifies in-line finishing as key to the company’s investment decision: ‘We had been looking to invest in new digital printing technology for a couple of years and had looked at the likes of HP and Xeikon. These are geared to run 330mm, while we’re set up for 10in. They print fantastically but then we’d have to invest in specific converting technology.
‘When we saw the Trojan T2, we were impressed as it gave us what we were looking for in a format we were more comfortable with and where we could utilize our existing conventional finishing equipment. We did start looking at finishing to accompany the T2, but when we spoke with John Hammond at Nilpeter UK [which distributes Trojan printers in the UK] we were excited to hear about the T4 with integrated finishing. Being able to print full color and die-cut in one pass means we are now effectively running into finished labels.’
The Trojan T4 is Labelcraft’s latest addition to its equipment portfolio. This includes two web-fed 10in KDO flexo presses, Xerox toner-based digital printers for sheet work and a Roland DG wide format printer-cutter. Labelcraft also owns smaller table-top Memjet printers. These served as its gateway into digital and now provide a valuable tool for training staff on inkjet while continuing to serve some business applications.
‘I would recommend printers to look at this type of machine as they really are excellent,’ states Norman. ‘They allow you to take concepts and designs and turn them into tangible products. You can send out a few hundred of each and allow the customer to see the labels for themselves.
‘We had a customer who was launching two products, each using full-color labels. That would have required a substantial outlay on plates to produce just 500 labels for each. With digital we were able to deliver these labels without such overheads.
The client was happy with the products and service received and they came back to us with other work. Digital gave us a foot in the door.’
As well as full-color, decorative labels, Labelcraft produces functional labels to deliver information to customers in industries such as food service. In this industry, Labelcraft has also been able to use the Trojan T4 to the supply chain’s advantage. One example is a customer for functional labels that has transitioned from buying multifunctional labels and overprinting them on the packaging line with variable data, to receiving a wider selection of finished labels.
‘The thinking has been that the cost to set-up a job is built into the label unit price. To keep the cost down, labels are designed to be multifunctional, printed with static information then added to on the line. With digital, we are now able to offer all of the variable information printed directly on the label. Additional batch and expiry date information is inkjetted onto the carton.
The customer has also expanded from 60 to 180 labels, which we have been able to cater to very easily. We are now talking to them about introducing colored labels for specific product ranges as an indicator of things such as allergens.’
Norman does note that the service life on inkjet print engines must be factored into the unit cost price, as they are much shorter compared to a flexo line.
With the Trojan T4, the print module is replaceable meaning the machine can be upgraded with the newest printing technology as and when needed. The finishing station is also able to be maintained as a separate finishing line when the guts of the inkjet unit need replacing.
‘From our experience with the sheet-fed machines we know that can be expensive and time-consuming. It was a motivation in specifying the Trojan T4; it was the best option for us,’ notes Norman.