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Need Some Direction on Digital Label Presses/Finishers

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  • Need Some Direction on Digital Label Presses/Finishers

    I'm new to the forum so I appreciate any help. I have glanced through some of the articles, but I can't seem to find exactly what I'm looking for. Most members already have printers and are looking to swap out old ones for new ones, or are interested in a different form of printing ie. offset and digital.

    Let me first start off with the scope of what I'm looking to print:

    Minimums per month:
    1. 75,000 5x5 bottle labels
    2. 150,000 2x3 bottle labels
    3. 75,000 2x7 container labels

    Color: CMYK + White+ 1.1 mil Gloss Clear Lamination/0
    Paper: 2.0 mil Clear BOPP DTC, 40# DTC/Liner-Perm
    - Metallic
    - White

    1. Reel to reel
    2. Finisher options (die cutting and lamination)

    1. Ability for Spot UV
    2. Ability for scratch off sections (verification codes, etc.)

    I need to find a good printer and finisher. I've looked into some rotary and laser finishers, and I need to just know whats the best bang for my buck as far as the volume I'm looking at. I also want the printer to be able to handle at least 20% more volume than what I'm currently at as the market grows.

    Here are some of the options I've looked at:

    Epson - SurePress L-4033AW
    1. Reasonable price - still a little high for what I'd like to spend.
    2. Reputable brand

    1. No capability for inline finisher

    Primera - CX1200 and FX1200
    1. Great price
    2. Compact and easily available

    1. Cannot print white (really not an option at all)
    2. Limited real size of 8 inches
    3. Cost per page to print and finish is high
    4. Not an inline system

    HP - Indigo R6
    1. Plenty of available reps in my area for service
    2. Reputable brand as I know of a few printers in my area use them

    1. Price is way too high
    2. No inline finisher without paying an additional arm and leg
    3. Click pricing can be expensive

    EFI - Jetiron 4900M-330
    1. Completely inline system with finisher
    2. Maintenance scheduled and done by EFI
    3. Laser finisher

    1. Extremely high price

    I'm currently waiting on Xerox to get back to me on their options, but I thought I query the minds of the printing world. Are my eyes to big for what we need? Investing $500-$1mil for a digital label press seems like a lot to me, but I need the feedback from the community to steer me in the right direction.

    Side notes:
    1. I'm not interested in offset printing since most of these will be short runs of 10 - 20k pieces. It also wouldn't work since the market I'm in could see some drastic changes in what needs to be printed, and I know running plates every time can be expensive.
    2. I'm open for rotary or laser die cutting. I just need more information on the cost of the dies.

    I appreciate any feedback.

    Thank you all!

    - Chris

  • #2
    Hello, I'm an engineer for the Epson SurePress, so I figured I could help update some of your information to help you out. The "con" that you have given to the L-4033 is not true. There is an interface on the L-4033 for connecting a finisher. I am 100% certain about this. Nobody who has purchased an L-4033 in North America has put a finisher inline, so maybe this is why you have that impression.

    The reason nobody has done so, is simply because it doesn't make a lot of workflow sense to do such a thing. Here's why: digital finishers are usually able to approach up to flexo-ish speeds (100+ feet per minute). Because the finisher can potentially run at a much higher speed than the press, one operator can have a job running on the press while they finish 2-3 jobs on their converter / finisher. It reduces your flexibility if you run your finisher inline with your digital press. Add to that the fact that the digital finisher could be the only machine in the shop with the ability to register a spot varnish or cold stamp or something unusual. It would really limit your options by mounting a finisher to the end of your digital press. I've had this discussion with several of my shop owners, and they all come around after the explanation and some time and experience.

    I'd also like to mention that the product was launched with a much higher MSRP than what it sells at today. Hope that's not throwing you off in your research.

    I have two solid Pros to add to your list for the Epson. Unattended operation - you can queue up 4 hours of work and check in on the press once an hour. The other Pro is that you can use off-the-shelf flexo stock with an aqueous ink. In fact, you can print on many raw plastics with the L-4033 inkset, the chemistry is remarkable. Adding an inkjet receptive coating to your substrate adds a lot of unnecessary costs and variability.


    • #3
      Hi, I work as Operations Manager for a label company in Sheffield, United Kingdom. We went through this exact same process a couple of years ago and I'd be more than happy to discuss our experience - we settled on the Epson Surepress L-4033AW . See our website below for some of the labels we have printed off it - quality is superb.


      • #4
        A digital press is basically like a gigantic, high colour copy machine.


        • #5
          Originally posted by jamesandersonicb View Post
          A digital press is basically like a gigantic, high colour copy machine.
          That is a gross oversimplification. Digital presses are so much more than they used to be. And digital label presses are amazing pieces of machinery.


          • #6
            Originally posted by jamesandersonicb View Post
            A digital press is basically like a gigantic, high colour copy machine.
            Thats like saying theres not a difference between a toyota corolla and a lamborghini. Sure, they're cars, but not anything alike lol.


            • #7
              Originally posted by MacTwidget View Post

              That is a gross oversimplification. Digital presses are so much more than they used to be. And digital label presses are amazing pieces of machinery.
              Seconded. The DFE is in my opinion the greatest difference between a copier and a digital press.

              Indigos are great machines, but I have also heard good things about the Epson SurePresses.


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