Finat, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry, has been undertaking preliminary initiatives for standardization of testing methods for digital printing.
In the past 15 years, there has been a continuing growth of digital printing technologies with now over 30 digital label press suppliers in the market, representing some 40 different models. With more than 1,300 digital label presses already installed, digital label printing is now regarded as a mainstream label printing technology. It is accepted by thousands of end-user customers in all kinds of applications and in a wide range of run lengths.
Over many years, printability testing equipment, procedures and standards for conventional printing by offset, letterpress, flexo or gravure, have become widely used and/or accepted by the paper and board, printing, converting and print end-user sectors. However, most of the standard printability tests and procedures have yet to be fully tried, modified or utilized – or new tests developed – for the digital printing of labels and packaging.
For that purpose, and upon the initiative taken by IGT Testing Systems and label expert Mike Fairley, a task force representing different disciplines has now been established. This technical digital label printability group will explore the possibilities of setting up a common testing framework facilitated under the Finat umbrella. The overall aim is to make digital label printing a more globally standardized technology in terms of printability, performance standards, test methods and procedures. The association cites the need to define and agree on digital technologies and terminology, allowing the benchmarking of digital label printing processes against each other and against conventional printing on existing test equipment. In addition, standards and procedures for testing digital label printing need to be written and dedicated or new test methods developed where required.
‘In the light of the current global supply chain with pressing needs for global standards, being technical or environmental, it is my belief that less is more,’ said Andrea Vimercati, president of Finat. ‘Collaboration and commitment to meeting common needs and driving common initiatives is what matters, not the technology as such. Finat is there to serve the needs of both conventional and digital label companies to jointly develop and determine the overall labeling and packaging agenda.’
Pictured: the digital label task force meets
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