Rochester, New York converter TLF Graphics finds confidence to serve the durable label market with a Durst Tau 330 inkjet press
In November 2014, TLF Graphics (TLF), a printing business focused on the production of industrial labeling, product decoration and retail signage, installed a Durst Tau 330 UV inkjet press. TLF has invested in digital printing to advance business productivity since 1998. Since then the business has grown from 7 million USD to 21 million USD, employing 114 people today.
Digital printing had accounted for almost zero percent of the enterprise output in 1998. Today it accounts for around 30 percent of production.
Says Dan Wagner, VP of operations at TLF, ‘With the Tau, we anticipate our digital production to grow to 45 or 50 percent, or more, of the business as we shift appropriate work from screen to the new press.’
TLF is familiar with digital printing, using a variety of technologies including aqueous, solvent and UV inkjet systems for printing on both rigid materials and label substrates, so when the executive team arrived at Labelexpo Americas 2014, it had its investment decisions made.
Wagner explains, ‘We had to address specific business with high MSI cost and high waste as orders of say 10,000 shifted to ten orders of 1,000. We had to find a way to address this cost problem.’
The team would upgrade its roll-fed Indigo liquid toner digital press as well as the latest sheet-fed toner option to tackle quality needs; and investigate UV-LED inkjet technology.
TLF did not expect to see the speed, image quality and in-line finishing capabilities offered by a number of the show's exhibitors, particularly the Durst Tau 330 which provides durable print and offers an integrated Spartanics 1000 watt laser die-cutter. The 13in (330mm) UV inkjet press prints up to 7-colors at 157 feet/min (48m/min) while achieving an image resolution of 1,260 dpi using Xaar 1002 printheads.
To deliver this speed and resolution with inkjet, Durst designed the press with dual printhead architecture, whereby each head is offset with accuracy by a half a pixel. Additionally, when placed in ‘HD mode’ the drop size is fixed at 6 picoliters, which yields more dots per square.
Important too is the design of the Tau 330 printbridge, or the metal bar that each printhead rests on within the system. This bar is temperature controlled and has the ability to warm-up or cool down to maintain ink delivery consistency throughout a single job, a shift or even across shifts. With a built-in timer the press can be set to turn on the temperature control prior to an operator arriving to work so the press is ready to produce immediately upon shift start.
Says Munter, ‘This brings great stability to the press and allows our customers to run repeatable work. By keeping the delivery system within a constant temperature range, we can insure accuracy both in our drop size and where the drops land on the substrate. We are talking about a variance in microns, but this is enough to produce color deviations that we cannot have. This control is critical.’
Strategic partnership initiated at tradeshow
After discovering the Durst Tau 330 at the tradeshow, TLF was eager to qualify the press output with a few of its difficult jobs. And, right there at the show, the converter had key files sent from its headquarters and the jobs were printed live. Wagner consulted further with existing users and completed his due diligence for chemical resistance, color, quality and fade resistance in comparison with other leading UV inkjet providers.
Durst is a family owned company nestled in the foothills of the Alps in the South Tyrol province of northern Italy. It moved into wide format inkjet printing in 2000 and introduced its first press for labels and packaging in 2010, investing a great deal of money into R&D during the global crisis period. Today there are more than thirty installations of the Tau 330 worldwide.
The care taken in manufacturing is superior. The printbridge and entire printing system is pieced together on a 3-foot slab of granite to provide stability and precision. Every printhead is tested at the Durst research center in the Dolomite mountain range in Lienz, Austria before being integrated into any product. Furthermore, Durst has defined acute tolerances for the printheads it will accept from Xaar, which helped it realize its ‘HD mode’.
‘We are proud to have our own controls in place,’ Munter confides. ‘We want to make sure to eliminate any problems ahead of time.’
After leaving a tour of the Brixen, Italy facility, Wagner said, ‘They have a history of quality products. Seeing the control and precision confirmed our confidence level of the company and the quality that goes into the development and the manufacturing process for their equipment.’
Durst will host an open house at its headquarters in Italy next month on April 14-16.
Readers will find more details about the TLF installation in the next printed issue of Labels & Labeling