Topflight Corporation, a label printer and specialty converter, is the latest company to install a DICEweb color inkjet system from Prototype & Production Systems, Inc. (PPSI) of Plymouth, MN. Touted as capable of running at twice the speed of many standalone digital printers, DICEweb is the new generation of PPSI’s inkjet color engines for adding quality digital color capability to narrow web presses.
Based in Glen Rock, PA, Topflight has been meeting the needs of demanding customers in the medical device, pharmaceutical and personal care industries for over 60 years. With its experience in combining innovative technology with conventional printing and finishing processes, Topflight turned to PPSI to supply a custom-designed DICEweb system to provide digital printing capability inline with one of its more than 20 flexographic presses.
DICEweb is a one to six-color add-on UV inkjet print engine that can be retrofitted to an existing flexographic printing press. Because it mounts on the press, the printer can make use of existing investments in finishing equipment as well as laying down primer, white or varnish with the flexo units. This gives the printer the best of both digital and analog worlds: digital printing for short runs and variable data, accurately registered to conventional flexo printing and inline finishing.
According to Topflight’s Director of Operations Tonya D. Nye: “We saw the need to go digital because we are getting more customers who want short runs and variable data labels. We looked at some standalone printing systems, but we have several million dollars’ investment in dies, so we wanted to be able to print digitally without having to invest in new tooling. The DICEweb system gives us the 4-color digital printing capability we wanted, while making use of one of our custom flexo presses to apply primer and to diecut.”
Adds Plant Manager Brian Litvak: “Our operators have been through the DICE training and we are getting a good understanding of how to get the most from the system. We’re a lean manufacturing plant, and we’re organizing the workflow to maximize throughput. The printer runs at over 160 feet/minute, which is faster than most digital printers, so getting the set-ups and job queuing right is important.”
Chuck Raymond, president of PPSI, comments: “We’re delighted to have Topflight as a customer for our newest product. We added features like an automatic printhead cleaning station with quality-focused users like Topflight in mind, and we are looking forward to a long relationship as our technology develops to keep pace with their needs.”