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Article | January 2, 2013
Digital color label press is a first
When it comes to quality and perfection, Reynders Label Printing has shown since its founding in 1959 that it knows just how to deliver.
A leading label specialist headquartered in Boechout, Belgium, the firm has six specialised printing divisions and eight production facilities spread throughout Europe and Asia. It prides itself in its commitment to delivering the very best in design and label printing in which innovation, quality, and customer service are of paramount importance. Today, Reynders, which remains a family-run business, has more than 60 printing presses and more than 450 printing stations covering flexography, offset, letterpress, screen, dry toner, wet toner and ink-jet printing technologies, enabling the company to offer one of the broadest ranges of label printing equipment for a host of applications. It has been this focus on maintaining its leading position through investment in the very latest label printing equipment that led to the installation of the first Domino N600i digital colour label press at its Belgium production facility.Chief Executive Officer Marc Reynders explains, “Over the past few years, label printing has been facing new challenges with customers demanding ever tighter delivery deadlines, shorter average run lengths, more personalised data; but still the highest quality of end product. As a result, we needed to find solutions that can not only cope with these changing demands, but that also means adjusting our service offering for our customers. It ultimately helps us to move our business forward in line with the changing dynamics of the industry.” When Reynders and his team first saw an early technology demonstration of the N600i at Ipex 2010, they were immediately impressed. For a digital printing press, it offered much higher levels of productivity combined with improved print quality for ink jet. “We already had a number of HP Indigos, the latest Xeikon technologies and three Agfa Dotrix digital label presses all of which were doing a good job,” continues Reynder. “But to take Reynders to the next level in digital label production we needed a solution that could offer high quality digital printing at significantly increased speeds. The N600i was just what we were looking for.” The Domino N600i four colour digital label press offers a native 600dpi print resolution and uses one of the smallest drop sizes (6pl) to deliver the highest quality output onto a range of coated paper and plastic label stocks. It operates at speeds of 50-75 m/min (165-246 ft/min). Combined with a standard 333-mm (13”) wide web width it provides up to 1,500m² of print per hour. In addition, by varying the droplet sizes delivered from a single print head combined with the composition of the ink, the N6 00i can reproduce a wide colour range, including more than 80% of the pantone colour range.
With so many label press technologies installed across Reynders multiple sites, the fact that Domino had integrated the Esko front end into its N600i added to its appeal to Reynders and assisted with its integration. “We already worked with the Esko workflow and this together with the intuitive user interface made working with the N600i so much more straightforward,” says Reynders.
Installation didn’t go without its challenges, especially with the company agreeing to be a beta test site for Domino’s N600i, but both the Reynders and Domino teams worked together to ensure any issues were addressed and the installation met all requirements. “It’s fair to say that with any beta site, installation can take longer than usual, but we are delighted with the outcome,” confirms Reynders. “We always had complete confidence in Domino throughout the process. They listened to our requirements, were extremely helpful in exploring ways to overcome any issues and conducted the installation with the utmost professionalism.”
Within a short time, the operations team had the N600i running at production speeds of 50 m/min, a significantly higher rate than the company’s existing digital technologies, and were using the press for new mid-volume applications of up to 3,000 m, well above the 1,000 m limit they typically would schedule on digital machines.
The increased speed of throughput brought additional challenges for the operators, as it meant they could no longer manually check for rejects and quality of output, as was the procedure for the company’s slower running solutions. As a result, Reynders installed an automated vision system onto the N600i line that could cope with verification of output at such high speeds, reducing operator intervention and adding further to production efficiencies.
To further develop the flexibility and capabilities of the N600i, Reynders and the Domino team are working together to develop new inks as well as review the integration of inline die-cutting technology within the N600i production line.
“Although it is still early days, we are extremely impressed with the capabilities of the N600i,” says Reynders, who is already looking to exploit the potential it can offer in terms of longer term new business opportunities. “The N600i has certainly lived up to our expectations of high resolution, high quality output at significantly higher operational speeds. The operation has been reliable, and we are able to run much longer production jobs than we would normally print with digital technology. In this respect it is more targeted at replacing what we would normally run on flexo machines. If the N600i continues to perform to our expectations and we can achieve all our business goals, we will be considering further investment in this technology in the future.”
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