Flexographic/Digital Case Study: Mastercraft Labels

Industry: Narrow Web Label Converter | Location: Eden Prairie, MN

The Situation

Mastercraft Labels has a number of 8-color flexographic presses and wanted to improve their label proof creation process by using a digital label printer such as the Afinia Label L801.

Solution Requirements

  • The proofs had to look just like what would be produced on their flexo presses
  • Proof deliveries had to be faster
  • Proof deliveries had to be less expensive

“The Afinia Label L801 is very effective for serving our clients’ ‘crisis’ label needs and flexo digital proofs.”

Dave Shirley, Vice President — Mastercraft Labels

The Memjet-Powered Solution

The Afinia Label L801 and Wasatch SoftRIP software was the perfect combination for Mastercraft Labels. Within a short period of time, color profiles were created that matched the output from their flexo machines. Because of that capability, they are able to turn around customer proofs without the expense of creating plates. They can also respond to their customers’ needs for short-run, quick-turnaround labels, which keeps their customers from seeking out other printers to satisfy that need.

Return on Investment

The return on investment increases with the number of colors needed in the label proof. The L801 is a digital printer, so no plates are required and design changes can be made easily. Mastercraft has also been able to take advantage of the profitable, short-run, quick-turn label market.

Before Memjet

A number of flexo plates had to be created for each proof.

After Memjet

No plates necessary, saving hundreds of dollars.

Before Memjet

The slightest design change would necessitate the creation of one or more plates.

After Memjet

Design changes can be made on-the-fly without plates.

Before Memjet

A flexo press would have to be set up by a pressman prior to printing the proofs.

After Memjet

An office worker can print the label proofs on the L801 with minimal setup and substrate waste.

View Afinia Label Products

Read More About Mastercraft Labels’ Digital Experience…

Dave Shirley is Vice President of Master Craft Labels, a world-class label Master Craft Labelsconverter, focused on providing high-quality service, professional label printing, and follow through for their customers. They provide labels by using flexographic, foil stamping, and digital technologies.

The Proof is in the Printer: Handling Customer Crises

“We originally purchased the Afinia Label L801 Color Label Printer primarily for proofing. But, we have realized that is very effective in handling crises and supporting our customer’s needs. Now, I’d consider it to be part of our crisis management system.” Shirley explains, “When a customer calls and says, ‘it’s 4:00pm and I need labels today,’ we are able to produce something instantly. We can print a 4-color process job without proofs. We start from a PDF and that is the niche that the L801 fills for us. It has been very effective in saving the day.”

Smaller Orders, Greater Speeds

“The label industry has changed drastically since I started with MasterCraft 22 years ago. It has moved from large orders (15 million at a time) to smaller orders with multiple copies. It’s part of how our country has become more individualized on taste. For example, you’ll see lots of different flavors of salsa instead of just hot and mild.” Shirley clarifies that this transition increases the number of customers MasterCraft deals with, and the speed at which they need to turn over the projects. “You’re not looking at a 10-week lead time for a large order, you’re looking at ‘I need it now.'”

Case Closed: A Solution to Saving Time and Money

MasterCraft has had a number of cases in which the L801 professional label printer has saved them both time and money. “We had an order come in that was a large volume, but required many different copies (200 or so). The Afinia eliminated the need to buy plates for all of them, and that enabled a tremendous cost and time-savings. For customers with really small quantity orders, it’s easy to take the Afinia and literally put a PDF in and print it out. Instead of $300-$400 in plates, you get the printing done in about 10 minutes.”

“That’s the beauty of the L801 – there are no plates or time lag. It’s economical and it allows you to quickly satisfy an urgent need or get it at the price the customer can afford to pay.”

Rave Reviews

Shirley is a huge supporter of the L801’s capabilities. “The L801’s printing quality is phenomenal,” he exclaims. “It can take a low-resolution image and it prints it like a photograph. I’ve experienced other equipment where the ink and consumables costs would eat you alive. I could have bought the plates and run it flexo and it would have been cheaper. The Afinia Label L801 Color Label Printer has a great capacity in its printing cartridges, which is unlike any other digital printer that I’ve seen on the market.”

A tip from Shirley:  “If you’re looking to expand your label business, and you’re considering digital, the L801 is your best option. It’s inexpensive to get into, it provides a surprising ability to help out customers, and it can print bigger jobs than any other label printer in its class.”

View Afinia Label Products