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Shrink sleeve printing on MPS EF SymJet powered by Domino

L-R: Andy Staib, Tom Staib and TJ Staib of DWS Printing

Domino Digital Printing Solutions first announced the success it was having printing on a number of industry standard shrink sleeve materials following the launch of its UV90 6-color UV-curable ink set at Labelexpo Europe 2017. 

At that time, this was considered a real technology breakthrough, as prior to this shrink sleeve capability had long been a challenging application for inkjet when compared to toner systems. 

Shortly after the show, MPS, one of Domino’s OEM partners, confirmed its first sale of a Domino hybrid line configuration designed to print both self-adhesive labels and shrink sleeves. This sale of an MPS EF SymJet powered by Domino was to DWS Printing, a New York-based label converter. Today, DWS is now printing more shrink sleeves than pressure-sensitive labels.

Tom Staib, president and owner of DWS Printing, a company founded more than 150 years ago, recalls: ‘In 2016, after recognizing the need to invest in digital printing, we embarked upon a year-anda-half journey to find the perfect fit for our business. My technical director and I literally travelled around the country looking at all the different options available to us. We undertook significant due diligence comparing, contrasting and scrutinizing the quality, evaluating the print results in addition to other factors that were going into our decision-making process, such as speed of the press, uptime versus downtime, cost of maintenance, and the ability to print on various substrates.

‘Our business’ main focus is food and beverage, and we also have a strong presence in the craft beer market. The craft beer market is heavily into shrink sleeve labels on beer cans, so a lot of our business was trending that way as well. We wanted to have the option to print shrink sleeves digitally, for our craft beer customers. At that time, there was really only one option available – electrophotography (EP), as the UV inkjet suppliers could not print on shrink sleeves then.

‘We were intrigued by UV inkjet – we were impressed with the quality, we liked the speeds, and we liked some of the other things it offered us and some of the other markets it could help us break into. Towards the end of our evaluation process, after Domino introduced its new UV90 inkset, we finally experienced success printing shrink. That was a game changer for us.

‘However, the reality was that we were not going to be printing UV inkjet shrink, and then running it back through our flexo press a second time: that just didn’t work for us. And that’s where the whole concept of hybrid came into the picture. If we could print digitally, put down UV white in-line, and get high quality at speeds with all the benefits of digital, all in one pass, that was a nice attractive option for us. And that was the way we opted to go.

‘Domino partners with several flexo press manufacturers. We opted to go with MPS. We have a comfort level with them. They have a sophisticated flexo platform and their flexo equipment is highly automated. And that in a nutshell is the journey that led us to the MPS EF SymJet powered by Domino hybrid press.

‘Digitally printed shrink sleeves were going to be a significant part of our investment. We are now printing more shrink-sleeve than pressure-sensitive labels. We wanted to differentiate ourselves, and this hybrid press technology is certainly a differentiator for us. I’ve got to make sure that the technology is doing what we need it to do and will enable us to compete in an ever-evolving market. And this does.’


Chairman of the World Label Awards, Tony White has decades of experience in the label and packaging industry and is a highly respected technical writer.

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