swing a digital decision
The ability to deliver consistent customized colors for labels and packaging at a reasonable speed has always been a weakness of digital color printing. HP Indigo’s answer to this is the new seven-color ws4000. After beta testing in Europe and North America, the first commercial buyer is Altrif Label in The Netherlands. It is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and will install two ws4000s later this year.
It has the same Series II print engine as the original ws2000 (formerly the Indigo Omnius WebStream), giving a top print speed of 52.5 feet per minute for full color labels, or 105 feet per minute for two-color labels. A variable data capability allows the updating of text and images for each individual label.
Altrif’s ws4000s will handle shorter print runs and complement a dozen existing Ko-Pack label presses. It already has digital experience with a four-color Xeikon toner-based system, which established a demand for short-run digital label printing. “We developed a special booklet label which was a tremendous success, generating a 15 percent increase in order volume,” said Altrif director F.P. Doomen. “At the same time, we noticed an increasing need for smaller campaigns and test marketing materials. We soon realized that we needed an additional solution for orders of less than 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet) in print length.”
The fact that the new facility offers seven rather than four colors, as well as Pantone-approved spot color inks, was a major factor for the purchase. Doomen also adds that this technology offers a more cost effective solution for short runs when printing more than four colors on the Ko-Pack presses. The HP Indigo WS 4000s will also have an ink mixing system to further extend the color possibilities.
Interestingly, in its search for a high-quality digital system the company examined other alternatives, including inkjet. Dion Goderie, technical director, said that while the quality was “quite good,” the production capacity was inadequate to meet its needs. “We have set high quality standards with our Ko-Pack presses and we expect our digital printing solution to match them. The vibrant HP ElectroInks and the wide range of printing stock were differentiating features that are important to our business.”