Looking for a digital printer & digital cutting solution

GOPRA

Member
I am looking to help a horticulture farm bring in house printing and cutting solution for customized labeling of plant tags (the type you would see when you walk into a garden nursery or a home depot) to inside a grower operation. I am looking at a printing and cutting solution that would allow the labels to be outputted on a synthetic substrate of 12X18 & around 6 & 10 mil and capable of two sided printing and cutting plant tags that are outputted in a SVG format for the cutter.

So entire solution needs to be digital. The volume might be upto 1000-3000 sheets to be printed and cut on a single day. Looking at a single operator to do both. (I have the software side of label design for front and back covered for the variable data).

Some of the potential combinations I am looking at is

A) RICOH 7210 combined with a DUPLO DPC 600.
B) KONICA Minolta 4070/4080 combined with a INTEC FB9000 Pro
C) RICOH 7210 combined with an assembly line laser cutter (not sure if anything like that exists).

Questions.
a) Budget is $100K to $200K max as the initial CAPEX investment for the farm. What is the high end configuration versus a low end configuration I could get that would also solve for volume?
b) Is there a big difference between the INTEC FB9000 Pro and the DUPLO 600? What are the pros and cons of one versus the other? Are these machines that break down easily?
c) Is there a big difference between the KM 4070/4080 vs the RICOH 7210?
c) Does anybody provide a turnkey solution that has both Printer and cutter integrated?
D) Are there any other solutions out there I should be looking at? Wondering if laser cutting solutions could work to meet the high volume.
 
Synthetic media generates considerable static electricity causing printed stacks to stick together or "brick" when running through digital printers. There are Ricoh 72xx operators in this forum who could provide specific guidance for that machine.

Trotec and Polar-Mohr make laser cutters that may work for your application. Trotec's solution was $300,000 when I look into it a few years back. I'm not familiar with Polar-Mohr.

If the tags are the same 10-20 shapes, you might also consider a rotary die cutter to simplify and speed up your cutting. Thermotype, Rollem, Standard-Horizon, and Duplo make RDCs. Youtube has plenty of videos. I'd talk to Rollem first since they can supply and customize stacking accessories for small pieces.
 
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We run synthetic substrate from Kernow Coatings on our KM C4080 and as @SoggyWinter rightly points out, static is a major consideration. Typically we leave the "brick" for a couple of days before putting it through the laminator and/or Veloblade digital die cutter. This allows sufficient time for the static to fully discharge. If you don't observe this, you will get double feeds and jams on your laminator and/or cutter.

It will also be imperative you have the RU-518m relay unit/curl adjustment (or Ricoh equivalent). If you feed smiley face curled sheets into a digital die cutter, you will have problems - the sheets must be perfectly flat.

As far as cutters go, if you go the Duplo route, as an SRA3/12x18 equivalent operation you don't need the DPC-600, the smaller DPC-400 is the machine to go for (equivalent to the Vivid Veloblade 640, only with better software - although I believe Vivid have fixed that issue with their latest machines)

How many labels up are you going to be printing on a 12x18 sheet? Even at the lower end of printing 1,000 sheets per day, this is absolutely not the most cost effective way of producing tens of thousands of labels per week. Synthetic substrate is expensive and digital die cutting is relatively slow - the process is tailored for lower production volumes and product trialling.

How many SKUs / how many label variants do you need?
How many die patterns?
I'd wager it would be loads cheaper to buy 1m full colour shells and a hopper-fed inkjet solution to personalise them from a product catalogue on demand... and you'd have a much more consistent product and no production worries.
Just my 2p
 
We run synthetic substrate from Kernow Coatings on our KM C4080 and as @SoggyWinter rightly points out, static is a major consideration. Typically we leave the "brick" for a couple of days before putting it through the laminator and/or Veloblade digital die cutter. This allows sufficient time for the static to fully discharge. If you don't observe this, you will get double feeds and jams on your laminator and/or cutter.

It will also be imperative you have the RU-518m relay unit/curl adjustment (or Ricoh equivalent). If you feed smiley face curled sheets into a digital die cutter, you will have problems - the sheets must be perfectly flat.

As far as cutters go, if you go the Duplo route, as an SRA3/12x18 equivalent operation you don't need the DPC-600, the smaller DPC-400 is the machine to go for (equivalent to the Vivid Veloblade 640, only with better software - although I believe Vivid have fixed that issue with their latest machines)

How many labels up are you going to be printing on a 12x18 sheet? Even at the lower end of printing 1,000 sheets per day, this is absolutely not the most cost effective way of producing tens of thousands of labels per week. Synthetic substrate is expensive and digital die cutting is relatively slow - the process is tailored for lower production volumes and product trialling.

How many SKUs / how many label variants do you need?
How many die patterns?
I'd wager it would be loads cheaper to buy 1m full colour shells and a hopper-fed inkjet solution to personalise them from a product catalogue on demand... and you'd have a much more consistent product and no production worries.
Just my 2p
Thank you so much for the inputs. We are looking at potentially upto 10 different label shapes. Could you help me with what 1M full colour shells mean? I am not familiar with that term. (New to the print industry). The substrate needs to be waterproof. So I am assuming that would rule out inkjet printers. Is that a correct assumption?
 
We run synthetic substrate from Kernow Coatings on our KM C4080 and as @SoggyWinter rightly points out, static is a major consideration. Typically we leave the "brick" for a couple of days before putting it through the laminator and/or Veloblade digital die cutter. This allows sufficient time for the static to fully discharge. If you don't observe this, you will get double feeds and jams on your laminator and/or cutter.

It will also be imperative you have the RU-518m relay unit/curl adjustment (or Ricoh equivalent). If you feed smiley face curled sheets into a digital die cutter, you will have problems - the sheets must be perfectly flat.

As far as cutters go, if you go the Duplo route, as an SRA3/12x18 equivalent operation you don't need the DPC-600, the smaller DPC-400 is the machine to go for (equivalent to the Vivid Veloblade 640, only with better software - although I believe Vivid have fixed that issue with their latest machines)

How many labels up are you going to be printing on a 12x18 sheet? Even at the lower end of printing 1,000 sheets per day, this is absolutely not the most cost effective way of producing tens of thousands of labels per week. Synthetic substrate is expensive and digital die cutting is relatively slow - the process is tailored for lower production volumes and product trialling.

How many SKUs / how many label variants do you need?
How many die patterns?
I'd wager it would be loads cheaper to buy 1m full colour shells and a hopper-fed inkjet solution to personalise them from a product catalogue on demand... and you'd have a much more consistent product and no production worries.
Just my 2p
Thank you for your reply. The kind of labels that I am looking at are those that you would find in a plant in the garden center. The substrate is typically waterproof. The picture on the label needs to be high quality. See attached example
 
Thank you so much for the inputs. We are looking at potentially upto 10 different label shapes. Could you help me with what 1M full colour shells mean? I am not familiar with that term. (New to the print industry). The substrate needs to be waterproof. So I am assuming that would rule out inkjet printers. Is that a correct assumption?
Buy one million die cut plant tag pieces at a time, very cheaply, with all the standard colour content printed, logo etc and a blank panel for personalisation.

Minimise your SKUs - don't have 10 label shapes because it would be nice, when three would suffice.

Don't think consumer inkjet.

Have you looked at what the national garden centres do?

What about sustainability?

Not wanting to be a dick, but why are you consulting on a $200k bespoke print/workflow solution when you're new to the print industry? Get it wrong and you could spend over $200k introducing a hugely frustrating, labour intensive bottleneck with machine breakdown or semi-skilled operator absence meaning label production frequently grinds to a halt.

Get it right and you could spend a fraction of that, with most of the spend being on the software, database implementation and hopper-fed inkjets, operated by anyone from a POS terminal or tablet. Fully redundant, non-skilled operation, fully validated.

One other tip as you're new here - watch out for people on here trying to flog refurbed Xerox gear, etc.
 
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Buy one million die cut plant tag pieces at a time, very cheaply, with all the standard colour content printed, logo etc and a blank panel for personalisation.

Minimise your SKUs - don't have 10 label shapes because it would be nice, when three would suffice.

Don't think consumer inkjet.

Have you looked at what the national garden centres do?

What about sustainability?

Not wanting to be a dick, but why are you consulting on a $200k bespoke print/workflow solution when you're new to the print industry? Get it wrong and you could spend over $200k introducing a hugely frustrating, labour intensive bottleneck with machine breakdown or semi-skilled operator absence meaning label production frequently grinds to a halt.

Get it right and you could spend a fraction of that, with most of the spend being on the software, database implementation and hopper-fed inkjets, operated by anyone from a POS terminal or tablet. Fully redundant, non-skilled operation, fully validated.

One other tip as you're new here - watch out for people on here trying to flog refurbed Xerox gear, etc.
Much appreciated @Ynot_UK . And you are not being a dick. Its a fair question. As a newbie, appreciate all the inputs you have given. There is a whole backstory to how I got into researching print solutions (i use consulting loosely...its more research for one of my customers and unpaid at that)....but regardless I am here. And want to help them solve for it.
 
Questions.
a) Budget is $100K to $200K max as the initial CAPEX investment for the farm. What is the high end configuration versus a low end configuration I could get that would also solve for volume?
b) Is there a big difference between the INTEC FB9000 Pro and the DUPLO 600? What are the pros and cons of one versus the other? Are these machines that break down easily?
c) Is there a big difference between the KM 4070/4080 vs the RICOH 7210?
c) Does anybody provide a turnkey solution that has both Printer and cutter integrated?
D) Are there any other solutions out there I should be looking at? Wondering if laser cutting solutions could work to meet the high volume.
The Duplo can cut up to 1.5mm paper or synthetic media, whereas the Intex is limited to 1mm material. While 1mm may be sufficient, the 1.5mm capability indicates it's a more robust unit and gives you more versatility later down the line. The Duplo can also do up to 6mm corrugated or foam board material adding more products that you can offer.

The Duplo also handles larger material (23"x31") compared to the Intec (18.9" x 28.3").

The KM and Ricoh are pretty close to eachother in specs. You'll have KM and Ricoh fans on here that will advocate for their preferred brand. Just make sure you get the vacuum feed drawers on either unit for the most reliable feeding and wider range of media capability. I would suggest running samples of your actual files on your own media in a live demo on each machine. Don't let them run it and deliver the samples to you. You want to see the full process from beginning to end...which one processed your files faster, which one produced the least amount of static straight out of the engine, which one has the tightest registration, etc. Then you'll want to see the proof of their sheet-to-sheet registration by running the samples through the Duplo and Intec. Run LOTS of sample sheets to put both the printer and die cutters through their paces. Make sure you get the more robust Fiery controller option on either brand to handle your variable data the fastest.

As others have already stated, static is going to be your biggest challenge with synthetic media. We run Synaps XM as our choice of synthetic media. We have a KM C7090 and a KM C6085. The media runs very well on either machine with a tight registration.

It can be a struggle to feed synthetic media through our AeroCut slitter/cutter/creaser. Like @SoggyWinter and @Ynot_UK mentioned, you'll want to let the sheets sit a while to discharge. However, the duplex jobs tend to do better than the simplex jobs. I think the 2nd pass through the fuser reduces the static.

Lastly, if you will have tight deadlines you'll want to make sure you have redundancy. Consider getting two digital presses as they will be more of the problem than the die-cutter. I would also suggest getting the ORU program from KM or TCRU program from Ricoh. This is where they provide you with all of the most common parts that need to be replaced and train you how to do basic maintenance on the machine yourself. That way you don't have to wait a day for a tech to show up or come back a day or two later with parts.
 
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Laser cutting solutions can be viable for high volume. Explore assembly line laser cutters; some manufacturers offer integrated printing and cutting solutions using laser technology.
 
Laser cutting solutions can be viable for high volume. Explore assembly line laser cutters; some manufacturers offer integrated printing and cutting solutions using laser technology.
Hi there any manufacturers you would recommend? Most laser cutting solutions offer for roll printing and cutting, but not individual sheets.
 

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