How can in-house label printing enhance your business?
Learn how Afinia Label’s digital label printers have helped companies like yours in the following testimonial videos. Also be sure to take a look at the Afinia’s case studies which cover a diverse and growing number of businesses as well as our label printing applications by industry page.
TexasLabelPrinters.com is a full-service distributor of some of the largest manufacturers in the digital label printing and digital packaging printing industries. Some of the brands of digital label printers and digital packaging printers that we carry include Afinia Label, Colordyne Technologies, Epson and Muratec – A Konica Minolta Company. TexasLabelPrinters.com not only sells a full-line of products by these manufacturers, but we also provide on-site service and support to the major metropolitan areas of Texas, including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio. For businesses that operate outside of our service areas, we offer an extensive third-party network that provides on-site service for our customers.
The majority of the printers that we offer incorporate Memjet printing technology, which is currently the most advanced inkjet printing technology in the industry. Memjet is changing the way businesses print, and in many cases Memjet technology is even creating entirely new business opportunities. By enabling full-color printing at the speed of production-level equipment, many businesses are now able to eliminate expensive inventory, long lead times, and shipping costs commonly associated with outsourcing from third party label and packaging converters. Businesses can now affordably print full-color custom labels and packaging (such as corrugated boxes, folding cartons, bags, etc.) in-house and on-demand with variable data in both short-runs and long-runs—all for a low total cost of ownership. In fact, the ability to print labels and packaging at a significantly lower cost compared to outsourcing provides businesses with the ability to achieve a quick return on investment (ROI).
Why Digital Printing?
Over the past few years, digital printing has become a game-changer in the printing industry, especially concerning digital label printers and digital packaging printers. Compared with traditional analog printing systems, digital printing improves on overall speed, print quality, design flexibility and operating cost. For decades, custom labels and packaging products have been printed almost exclusively in large quantities with big, mechanical specialty printing presses known as flexographic presses. While these analog “flexo” presses are a great choice for large or “long-run” label or packaging print jobs, it has been historically cost-prohibitive to print small or “short-run” print jobs on flexographic presses due to the time and initial setup costs involved.
Already own a flexographic printing press? Take a look at the Colordyne 3600 Series Retrofit which converts analog flexographic presses into a state-of-the-art hybrid digital flexo press.
Overall Speed & Setup Time
Flexographic printing uses custom printing plates made of rubber or plastic that are rotated on a cylinder and coated with fast-drying ink for each color that is to be printed. These printing plates essentially act as a stamp for each individual color that is used in the image being printed. Before a single label, sticker, box or any other packaging material can be printed with a traditional flexo press, the image or digital artwork file that is to be printed must be outputted to a film in order to create the flexographic printing plates. The plates are then loaded onto the press, the inks for each color are mixed and the machine is then calibrated – all of which can take several hours to complete. Digital printing has eliminated this cumbersome setup process and thus allows for simple on-demand printing similar to what you would expect from your desktop printer in your office.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of printing digitally is flexibility. Unlike flexo presses which require new plates to be made anytime a change is needed, digital printers can change or update the print design by simply changing the artwork file. Flexographic presses can also only print one image per run unless the plates are changed, however digital printers can print multiple images in sequence or side-by-side in a single run if needed. Moreover, digital printing truly excels when it comes to variable data printing, which allows for elements such as text, graphics and images to be changed from one print to the next without stopping or slowing down the printing process. Whether you want to include consecutive numbers, multiple barcodes, serial numbers, names from a database, or just different versions of the same label, digital printers can handle any variable data effortlessly.
High Print Quality
Regarding print quality, digital printing outputs at a much higher resolution with smoother gradations and halftones when compared to flexo. Currently, the average resolution of the inkjet digital label printers and digital packaging printers that we offer is 1600 x 1600 DPI (dots per inch) which means they are capable of printing highly detailed images and very fine text when compared to the average multifunctional printer or copier. Digital printing also significantly outperforms flexo presses at printing bright, vivid color, photo-quality images, and subtle drop shadows in comparison to flexographic printing. Another print quality advantage that digital label printers have over flexographic printing is its ability ability to print artwork as a single image, whereas flexographic presses use plates to print images in multiple layers, which can cause registration issues as well as possible distortion due to the wrapping of plates around cylinders.
Low Operating Cost
Given that there are no plates to create, no film to output and minimal machine setup, fixed setup costs for digital label and packaging printers are very low in comparison with flexographic printing presses, which is why printing short-runs with digital printers has become so attractive. Two other costly drawbacks of flexo presses are the hours it takes for initial setup (“time is money”) as well as the fact that it requires a trained employee to operate the machine. Fortunately, digital printers can be extremely easy to operate and in many cases are as simple to use as printing to a typical desktop printer.
In the past several years, advancements in digital printing technology has given rise to specialty digital printers capable of printing rolls of labels as well as the ability to print on other objects such as corrugated packaging materials. Digital printers have taken several forms that cater to various niches: from compact desktop label printers that print on pre-cut media, to specialty packaging printers, to complete inline label finishing systems that laminate and cut using plotters, cylindrical dies or lasers. Digital label printers have even been designed to retrofit existing analog flexographic presses by converting them into high-speed hybrid digital flexographic presses.
Does your business currently outsource custom product labels or packaging? Contact us today to see how your business can benefit from printing labels and packaging in-house.