The advent of digital printing resulted in shorter print runs in most sectors of the printing industry and an irreversible change in many areas of the business. Label printing was not one of them: Economies of scale kept longer runs to keep unit costs to a minimum in this sector.
This has now changed. Screen Graphic Solutions (Screen) and local distributor Rotocon have introduced the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV+ series of printers to the local market. ‘The positive response from label printers has been astounding,’ enthuses Michael Aegenvoort, managing director of Rotocon. ‘Eight of these presses are currently installed at label printers around the country. What makes this amazing is that four of these presses were sold at the Propak Africa show, held in Johannesburg in March this year.’
While digital printing provided an opportunity to handle very short print runs, it presented a challenge in terms of finishing. Postpress solutions for all print types were designed to handle large quantities at very high speeds. On the finishing side, the arrival of digital printing created a significant problem.
Manufacturers of finishing systems responded quickly and adapted systems to work with digital printing presses to create comprehensive solutions. Given the response from the market, it is little wonder that all eight of the machines supplied by Rotocon feature the Ecoline RSI 330/430 slitting, inspection and rewinder system for finishing of printed labels.
Aegenvoort comments, ‘Digital printing is now a mainstream production method in the label and packaging industry. It offers the benefits of short runs with high variability. This allows wholesalers and retailers the opportunity to reduce their stock holdings of labels and packaging materials while addressing growing demand for regular packaging design changes.’