The Label Printers, a label manufacturer based in Aurora, IL, USA, has invested in HP Indigo’s WS6600 digital press, Domino’s K600i UV inkjet system, AB Graphics’ Omega HSR1300 inspection slitter rewinder, and DuPont’s EC/LF 1000 exposure unit. According to the company, these purchases will give it increased manufacturing capability, capacity and quality control while at the same time contributing to the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
Bill Kane, chief executive, says, “We have to do this for our customers. We have to keep up with today’s changing digital marketplace. Our manufacturing operation is a well-oiled machine – and we need to continue to invest to keep it that way – to control costs and to avoid falling behind in capacity, capability and expertise.”
In 2006, The Label Printers purchased its first digital press, an HP Indigo 4050. Since that time the evolution in digital presses has continued – and The Label Printers' management decided that it was time to upgrade its digital capability and increase its digital capacity.
Joe Kane, prepress manager, say, “The new digital press improves our color management – it is now more predictable and repeatable. It also increases our capacity, as the print area is wider and the repeat is longer – with the added benefit of giving us multiple manufacturing options for most orders, which can translate into better service for our customers.”
In 2011, The Label Printers switched its plateroom technology from analog to digital – investing in scalable systems – systems that the company can expand to accommodate growth and/or innovation. The company’s newest investment in the DuPont exposure unit offers improved consistency and will prepare the prepress operation for future upgrades to improved technologies. And, in addition to process improvements from the new equipment, Joe Kane also points out, “Each upgrade in our plateroom equipment from old analog technology to new digital technology creates a corresponding improvement in our sustainability efforts.”
Domino’s UV inkjet system was purchased to give the company additional capacity for consecutive numbering, QR codes, and other variable imaging requirements. The new system represents a significant improvement in resolution (and therefore quality and/or capability), which is critical for small size images – and of particular importance to the company’s anti-counterfeiting market. The Label Printers has, over a period of nearly 15 years, been building and expanding their manufacturing and knowledge base in anti-counterfeiting technologies. This track record of experience in the fast-changing brand protection market has allowed the company to develop strength and expertise in a broad array of variable imaging technologies, and the new inkjet system allows The Label Printers to keep pace with customers’ needs for track-and-trace types of system options.
Tom Erickson, plant superintendent, was part of the team that brought this investment option to The Label Printers’ management. “Certain features of our old inkjet system created a time consuming process, and a potential quality issue. The new Domino system gives us a smoother operation, with less down time. From a manufacturing perspective, it improves our product quality and gives our press operators better control of the process.”
Lori Campbell, chief of operations, says, “I am ecstatic to work for an organization that doesn’t preach ‘continuous improvement’ as a worn-out sales pitch, but actively pursues it…and backs it up by making these well-considered investments. I am very proud of our teams for their dedicated research and recommendations. We know exactly what each of these purchases will provide in terms of quality, efficiency, sustainability, and most importantly, alignment with our customers’ needs.”
Bill Kane believes that these investments point to the long term strength of the company. “We have managed the company to be able to make these continued equipment acquisitions, so that we can better serve our customers and position ourselves for managed growth.”