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The Olympic motto "Faster - Higher - Further" applies to digital label presses just as it does to athletes. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that in the field of label printing, more and more emphasis is being placed on individualised, personalised labels, short-term promotions require special labels and the run lengths are becoming shorter due to rapid product and product marketing changes. By Sabine Slaughter

Fast job changes, preferably without waste, are the order of the day in label printing this year. At the same time, quality should and is being improved, and in addition to higher resolutions, more and more refinements, unusual formats and other features that attract the eye of the end customer and viewer are coming into focus.
Last but not least, speeds are to be increased - analogue long-distance runners are turning into short-distance sprinters in the digital sector. Both have chosen running disciplines, but due to their specifications they need different characteristics and capabilities. Of course, both also have their raison d'être. This analogy also applies to label printing. Here is a small selection:
Canon: LabelStream 4000
Digital label production is served by Canon with the LabelStream 4000, based on UV inkjet technology. The machine achieves a print resolution of 720 x 1080 dots per inch and is available in print widths of 300 and 410 millimetres. The speed is 75 metres per hour. It is available in six-colour configuration, with white offering high opacity, according to the company. The digital press is equipped with piezo-electric drop-on-demand printheads from Xaar. The print unit can also be used in hybrid presses.
Domino: Ink circulation system
Domino's top-of-the-line model is the N610i which prints on a web width of 333 millimetres and reaches speeds of up to 75 metres per minute. Two six-colour ink sets - UV90 UV inks and UV 95 (seven colours: CMYK+OVW) for non-food contact applications (GMP, Swiss Ordinance, Nestle and Eupia compliant) are available. The UV95 is a non-CMR ink. The print resolution is 600 x 600 dots per inch. An ink circulation system ensures consistent inks for reliability.
Durst: Tau RSC Platform
With the Tau RSCi, Tau 330 RSC E, Tau 330 RSC E LM and the Tau 330 RSC, the Italian company Durst has four inkjet-based models for label printing with MEMS-based printhead technology in its range with a print resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch. The Tau 330 RSC achieves a print speed of up to 80 metres per minute and is equipped with eight colour stations (CMYK+O+V+G / optional W). 330 millimetres print width and a productivity of 1584 square metres per hour are further specifications of this digital press. The Tau RSC E LM is equipped with low migration inks which comply with EUPIA, Swiss Ordinance and Nestlé regulations. The machine is available in standard colour configuration CMYK+B+O (optional W). The print width is 330 millimetres and the machine achieves a productivity of 1030 square metres per hour. With a standard colour configuration of CMYK+O+V+G (optional W), the Tau 330 RSC E comes with a wide range of applications at a productivity of up to 1030 square metres per hour and a print width of 330 millimetres. Available in three different print widths - 330, 420 or 510 millimetres - comes the flagship, the Tau RSCi. The standard colour configuration is CMYK+O+V+G (optionally W). Productivity is 1584/2016/303 square metres per hour, depending on print width.
Epson: Automatic nozzle testing
Epson has two digital inkjet label presses in its range: SurePress L-6534VW and SurePress L-4533AW. The SurePress L-6534VW reaches a speed of 50 metres per minute and has a maximum print width of 330 millimetres. Substrate thickness is specified from 80 to 320 microns with a print resolution of 600 x 1200 dots per inch. It can be equipped with up to seven UV inks (CMYK+Varnish+W+Storage Liquid), and the ink heads are equipped with an automatic nozzle check. SurePress inks comply with the European Framework Regulation (EC No. 1935/2004) on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. They also meet the relevant durability requirements for outdoor and industrial environments (BS560922 and UL9693 certified). Seven colours, including white, are also available for the SurePress L-4533AW. These are water-based pigment inks that are jetted onto the substrate, which has a maximum print width of 315.2 x 914.4 millimetres, using variable-sized droplet technology (VSDT). The print resolution is up to 720 x 1440 dots per inch. Material thicknesses of 80 to 320 microns can be printed at a speed of up to 8.2 metres per minute.
Gallus: Single colour pinning
The Gallus Labelfire D2 offers seven-colour printing (CMYK OGV) plus optional white. With a print resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch and single colour pinning, it delivers sharp print results at speeds of up to 70 metres per minute. The Labelfire D3 model also includes inline finishing, cold foil finishing and die-cutting, but only in four-colour with optional white. The Moell Labelfire D4 differs from the Labelfire D3 in that it offers seven-colour printing (CMYK OGV) plus optional white. In addition, the Labelfire D4 vl and Labelfire D4 cf models are available. The maximum print width of the models is 340 millimetres with substrate thicknesses ranging from 50 to 350 microns. Substrate expansion packs are available for lightweight board, tube laminate and thin films from 20 to 450 microns. Optional low migration inks comply with Swiss Ordinance, Nestlé Guidance, Eupia and GMP guidelines.
Hapa: Six-colour printing
The Hapa H-900 WD has a print speed of 54 metres per minute and a maximum print width of 360 millimetres. The print resolution of the UV label printer is 720 dots per inch. The substrate thickness is specified at 0.2 millimetres. According to the manufacturer, the machines are already designed for Industry 4.0.
HP: Four different models
HP has four series of digital presses in its range: the HP Indigo 6k, 8K, 25K and V12 Digital Press, which print with EletroInk. The 6K model achieves a print speed of up to 60 metres per minute in single or two-colour mode (30 metres per minute in four-colour mode and up to 40 metres per minute in Extended Production Mode (EPM)). Resolution is up to 2438 x 2439 dots per inch with a maximum width of 340 millimetres on substrates from 12 to 450 microns. The 8K model can achieve print speeds of up to 80 metres per minute (EPM) or 60 metres per minute in four-colour mode. The maximum print width is 340 millimetres. Substrates from 12 to 450 microns can be printed on both sides with this production model. The HP Indigo 25K is especially designed for flexible packaging printing. Speeds of up to 42 metres per minute (EPM) (4c 31, 5c 25 metres per minute) are achieved with a maximum print width of 746 millimetres. This model can print on media from 10 to 400 microns. The V12 model is equipped with the new LEPx technology. This reaches speeds of up to 120 metres per minute and can print in 12 colours. The toner cartridges can be replaced on-the-fly during printing. Print resolution is up to 1,600 dots per inch and an inline priming unit ensures clear print images on a wide range of substrates from 12 to 450 microns thick.
Isys Label: Toner-based print mirror
With the Apex 1290, the company has a toner-based four-colour (CMYK) label printer in its range which reaches a speed of up to 9.14 metres per minute. The maximum print width is 320 millimetres with a resolution of 1200 x 600 dots per inch.
Konica Minolta: Simitri HD E toner technology
With the successful AccurioLabel 230, Konica Minolta offers a toner-based label printing solution with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch. The print speed of Konica Minolta's solution is 23.4 (standard) / 18.9 / 13.5 or 9.45 metres per minute, depending on the type of substrate. An integrated web guide system (BST) on both winders and a maximum print image width of 320 millimetres ensures a clear print image without distortion.
Mark Andy: optional decorating and converting
The Digital Pro is Mark Andy's digital label press. It is a dry toner CMYK press with a maximum speed of 23.4 metres per minute and a resolution of 1200 dots per inch. Optional modules for inline flexo decoration and converting are available.
Mouvent: UV-based inkjet printing
Mouvent is active in the digital label printing market with two models. The Mouvent LB701-UV and Mouvent LB702-UV digital presses have a print resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch and are available in colour configurations up to six colours plus white. Maximum imaging widths are 17.01 (LB701-UV) and 34.03 millimetres (LB702-UV). Print speeds of 70.1 (LB701-UV) and 100.58 (LB702-UV) metres per minute can be achieved. The Mouvent digital printing unit can also be used in hybrid presses, with this currently implemented on the Bobst Master DM5.
Nilpeter: UV inkjet and low migration inks
As a complete digital solution Nilpeter names the panorama press DP-3. The UV inkjet press reaches speeds of 35, 35 and 50 metres per minute and prints four-colour (CMYK) with white. Orange can be added as an option. Low migration inks are also available. Print resolution is 600 x 600 dots per inch with a maximum print width of 322 millimetres.
Screen: SAI for extra vibrant colours
Screen offers three inkjet digital presses with piezo single-pass printing for labels: the Truepress Jet L350UV SAI and the Truepress Jet L350UV+ and L350UV. The Truepress Jet L350UV SAI is especially designed for printers who require outstanding colour reproduction. This model prints CMYK+O+B at speeds up to 60 metres per minute with a print resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch. The maximum print width is 322 millimetres and substrates from 0.04 to 0.35 millimetres can be printed. The default configuration is CMYK+W, but CMYK+W+O, CMYK+W+B or CMYK+W+O+B can also be selected. The Truepress Jet L350UV+ series is also available with low migration inks (L350UV+LM). It achieves a maximum resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch and speeds of up to 60 metres per minute. The media thickness ranges from 0.04 to 0.35 millimetres and a print width of 322 millimetres is offered. This digital press series is available in CMYK+W+O/B, CMYK+W, CMYK+O/B and CMYK configurations.
Trojan Label: Compact printing presses
Trojan Label's label presses are equipped with Memjet printheads with CMYK dye inks (model T2 and T2lC) and offer a print resolution of 1600 x 1600 dots per inch. This enables print speeds of 152 or 305 millimetres per second. The maximum print width of the T2 model is 223 millimetres and the thickness is specified by the manufacturer as 4 to 12 dots per millimetre. The T2-C model achieves a speed of 150 or 300 millimetres per second, the print width and resolution as well as substrate thickness are the same as the T2 model. With water-based Natura inks in CMYK and a print resolution of 1600 x 1600 dots per inch as well as a print width of up to 223 millimetres, the T2-L model presents itself. It reaches a maximum speed of 18 metres per minute. Inline lamination is possible with this model. Digital label printing with inline finishing is offered by the T4 model. It prints in CMYK with dye inks, a resolution of 1600 x 1600 dots per inch and speeds of 150 or 300 millimetres per second. The print width is 223 millimetres and substrates between 50 and 200 grams per square metre can be printed.
Xeikon Dry Toner and Cheetah 2.0 technology
Xeikon is launching four models in the toner-based label sector: CX30, CX50, CX300 and CX500. Equipped with Cheetah 2.0 technology and Xeikon Dry Toner, which has food safety certification, the web presses achieve a resolution of 1200 dots per inch, with substrate thicknesses ranging from 40 to 550 microns and weights from 40 to 350 grams per square metre. As standard, the presses come in five-colour configuration (CMYK+W) but can be optionally equipped with spot colours, custom colours. Special colours available include White, RGB, ExtraMagenta, SuperBlack, Clear (UV-reflective), Orange, MattSilver and PalladiumSilver, so security applications can also be produced. Print speeds are up to 33 metres per minute (CX30 and CX50) and 49.7 metres per minute (CX300 and CX500) in five-colour mode. The maximum imaging width is 32.259 centimetres (CX30 and CX300) and 50.8 centimetres (CX50 and CX500). The company offers the optional Xeikon Label Discovery Package. Entry-level label printers and others can purchase refurbished presses through the REX programme, which have the same warranty terms as new Xeikon presses. Digital embellishments on printed products can be realised using Fusion technology. In the area of inkjet printing, there are three machines to choose from: The Xeikon PX2000, PX3000 and PX30000 which use UV-based piezo drop-on-demand technology and employ LED and mercury-based curing. The entry-level PX2000 model offers a maximum imaging width of 220 millimetres at a maximum print speed of 50 metres per minute. Colour configurations can be chosen between four-colour (CMYK) and five-colour (CMYK+W). Substrate weights between 60 and 350 grams per square metre can be processed. The PX3000 model has mostly the same specifications as the PX2000, although the maximum imaging width is 330 millimetres. The flagship of Xeikon's inkjet printer range, the PX30000 offers a six (CMYK+O+V) or seven (CMYK+O+V+Double White) colour configuration with PantherCure UV XT inks. Alternatively, the press can be equipped with PantherCure XT-E UV inks, which feature a reduced migration rate. A maximum imaging width of 333 millimetres and a speed of up to 50 metres per minute in high-quality mode with white and 70 metres per minute in fast mode, as well as a substrate weight of 60 to 350 grams per square metre, enable high-quality printing. Media thickness ranges from 90 to 360 microns.

 

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