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  • 04 Jul 2017

Editor’s note – digital special

This issue of L&L sees an updated digital press buyer’s guide. Perhaps surprisingly, since we first ran this feature two years ago there have not been many major developments in digital engine technology. We see pretty much the same speeds (apart from HP Indigo’s flexo-matching 8000 and Xeikon’s CX-3) and similar print resolutions.

What has changed is the format. Whereas two years ago most ‘production’ presses in our buyer’s guide were stand-alone digital with off-line finishing, today there is a wider range of hybrid presses combining flexographic print and converting units in-line with full color inkjet. And many of these are from the ‘traditional’ press manufacturers.

In addition, there are more options to retrofit existing conventional press lines with bolt-on or rail-mounted 4-color inkjet units, using both water-based and UV chemistries.

Other significant changes include more entry-level full-color digital presses, which give converters a lower-cost entry into 4-color digital printing.

We can also see in the last two years a real maturing of the digital press market, which partly accounts for the lack of apparent movement in digital color engine technology. These are no longer ‘beta’ systems, but robust production systems, driven by ever-more sophisticated front ends incorporating automated color management, variable data, step & repeat and tie-ins to automated invoicing and digital store-front systems.

And all can be seen and compared at Labelexpo Europe in September.

Read the updated L&L Digital Press Buyer's Guide in L&L isse 3, 2017, and here


James Quirk


James Quirk is group managing editor of Labels & Labeling.

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