Back in 2000, Stratus Martin Etiquettes in Limoges, France, was the first PS label converter in France to install a digital press. Since January 2009 the company has been beta testing HP’s new WS6000. If the tests are conclusive, Stratus Martin will shortly confirm its purchase of the new press (an investment of over $1 million) to increase its capacity to handle short order, short run business.
HP appears to be one of the few narrow web equipment manufacturers to be making headway in Europe in the first quarter of 2009. Apart from the new press at Martin Etiquettes, Germany’s Etiketten Reissner recently installed an HP ws4500 and Rako (Germany) Eshuis and Geostick (both Netherlands) are reported to be beta testing the new WS6000.
Other European digital label news must include the new showroom and sales office set up by EFI Jetrion in Ratingen, Germany, in cooperation with its local partner Chromos. The two companies’ joint initiatives included a European Open House event held in early April to demonstrate the Jetrion 4000’s capabilities to prospects throughout Europe.
Belgium based Xeikon, the “we try harder” of the narrow web digital print business, is not standing still: Its 3300 label press, a new design launched at Drupa 2008, was recently installed at Welsh label converter Borble. Managing Director Barry Griffiths praised the speed and the print quality of the new press: “Pin-sharp images, whether it’s text, photos or detailed security features.”
Another Xeikon customer in the UK, NSD International, has succeeded in coupling an inline UV flexo unit to its digital label press. NSD’s David Hedley reckons this is a “world first,” which is proving its worth mainly in adding metallics, varnishes and fluorescents to the basic four-color digital process. Unlike HP, Xeikon uses the dry toner electrophotography imaging process, which is more heat sensitive, but does not require the substrate to be coated or corona treated before printing.