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Digital finishing in the real world

Opinion – Digital finishing in the real world

Converters and manufacturers detail what the supply chain expects from modern digital finishing equipment.

‘We operate a Smag Digital Galaxie machine and Grafotronic DCL and DCL2 lines. The Smag system includes screen, hot foil, embossing, UV flexo varnish, lamination, semi-rotary die-cutting and rewind. The Grafotronic lines feature UV flexo varnish, lamination, semi-rotary/ rotary die-cutting, laser die-cutting and turret rewinding. We use these to add value to digitally printed labels. Laser die-cutting allows us to make the kind of cutting impossible to do with mechanical die-cutting. Examples of a through-hole die-cut in the middle of a label without using any tool is remarkable.’
Iban Cid, managing director, Germark

‘We run two AB Graphic Digicon lines. Both machines are used for regular finishing of HP Indigo printed labels, which means about 90 percent of our Indigo jobs. One is used for value-added embellishment for wine and spirit labels, craft beer and other customers that want something extra to make their labels stand out. The other is used for high volume jobs that need the extra speed of the Fast Track Die unit, including blank labels, as well as finishing multiple roll jobs in the turret. The automation and general modern capacities of the machines make for less down time and better throughput. Our pair of Digicons make our offer very versatile. Both for high end embellishment labels, down to the simplest high volume logistics labels.’
Christian Egedius, general manager, Ellco Etikett

‘We currently operate nine Grafisk Maskinfabrik finishing lines. The finishing lines complement five Xeikon presses. All but one operate off-line as we believe this offers greater flexibility, less wastage and less down time and possibility for errors. The line we operate in-line tends to concentrate on larger run lengths where simple cutting, varnishing or laminating is required. If spot varnishing or any form of embellishments are required we would always do this off-line in view of the complexity and set-up time required. Invariably this type of finishing will run slower than the speed of the Xeikon. In order to compete effectively against increasing competition in the short run market we have sought to differentiate our offer by concentrating on added value such as peel and reveal constructions, foiling, embossing and debossing, spot varnishes or textured finishes. The work we currently do with Northern Monk on peel and reveal labels for aluminum beer cans is an example where quality artwork, unique solutions such as metallic images on the inside pages and high end value finishes enables the client to differentiate their product from the mass market. It supports brand enhancement and enables their customers to connect with the brand in many different ways. In the case of Northern Monk, the labels ultimately become collector items for clients who are encouraged to collect samples of their labels in a company scrapbook.’
Simon Smith, managing director, CS Labels

‘Whichever technology printing companies are nowadays equipped with, customization has undoubtedly helped drive digital print up to being the main concern. Not only are converters racing to keep up with the changing technologies, but also to create change in their organizations that will allow them to have a competitive advantage and increase profitability. They have to align production processes in a smart, active and intelligent way to be able to respond to the brand owners who want to offer uniqueness to their packaging and create brand recognition.’
Stéphane Rateau, managing director, Smag Graphique

‘Label printers are looking at digital in different ways. They have to balance out their workload by run size, complexity of finished product, preferred delivery cycles, true required quality for each job, who is the customer/brand owner and, above all, how much someone is willing to pay for all this. Digital finishing equipment is better for applications that are more personalized and can finish different page counts within the same roll.’
Jason Schmitt. Eastern US regional sales manager, Rotocontrol

David Pittman


David Pittman is former deputy editor of Labels & Labeling.

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