Founded in 2013 and based in Singapore, National Label Company Asia provides premium decorative self-adhesive labels, mainly for global brand owners and contract packagers in the personal care, pharmaceutical and consumer battery markets.
The company sees rotary screen printing as a vital complementary process for achieving numerous effects like opaque white for the "no label look," and vivid graphics that stand out on a crowded shelf and attract the consumer’s attention. SPGPrints’ RSI modules are featured on National Label’s three 440mm-wide Nilpeter presses – one flexo, one offset and one gravure; these presses are responsible for all output at the Singapore plant. The nickel RotaMesh screens used on the presses can be both re-used and re-imaged several times.
Screen print also is preferred for printing product information on the label because it provides the text with a vividness that makes it stand out and easy to read.
SPGPrints’ RotaMesh 405 was chosen by National Label for this application because its fine mesh met expectations of accuracy and clarity when reproducing small text in Asian writing systems. The 405 Mesh combines relatively large open areas with thin but robust stencil walls. The result is a mesh with approximately 164,000 holes per square inch. With the high mesh count, it achieves sharp edges while avoiding the risk of clogging. It also offers the same strength and resilience as screens for standard or coarser effects.
“Printing Thai and Bengali curls and headstrokes, and Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese logograms is a delicate matter," explains Arumugam Jayakumar, prepress manager at National Label. "Any misprint or omission of even part of a character can render a complete phrase meaningless. Moreover, some brand owners seek single label solutions for multiple markets. This means relatively small text has to be reproduced clearly to ensure legibility. SPGPrints’ RotaMesh 405 screen enables precise reproduction of 6-Point text, at speeds of up to 75 m/m. As a result, we can provide labels with more information that is both legible and prominent while maintaining high productivity levels.”
For Jayakumar, the reusability of RotaMesh screens brings significant cost benefits: “For repeat orders, we keep screens in storage until the next time they are required. Typically, we can reuse a screen five times before reclaiming the screen and imaging it with a new design. A screen may be used for up to 10 different designs. This represents a huge long-term consumables saving.”
In parallel with the adoption of the 405 mesh, National Label installed SPGPrints’ rotaLEN direct laser engraver to image screens in a digital process. In an engraving cycle that takes no more than 30 minutes, a CO2 laser burns away the lacquer. After a brief rinse, the screen is ready for the press.
The speed of the process enables National Label to maintain uninterrupted workflows without bottlenecks, even when surges of demand for screen orders occur. In such cases, the number of screens engraved may rise from an average of three to 10 or more. Furthermore, in the unlikely event of a screen breakage during production, the cycles are fast enough to stop production temporarily and perform a remake without significantly compromising productivity.
On any shift, two operators are responsible for all prepress requirements, including rotaLEN jobs. The automated process minimizes manual input and the chance of handling errors so that quality is not determined by the operators, allowing improved consistency.
The software combined with the single-step process of rotaLEN means National Label can meet demand with greater flexibility.
“We RIP files as single colors and send them to the rotaLEN and send to the engraver directly," adds Jayakumar. "The software allows fast changes and retrieval of files. This means we can deal with the increasing number of repeat orders at shorter notice, while assuring identical results.
“Thanks to the rotaLEN engraver’s automation, quality does not depend on the operator," he concludes. "It gives us a perfect workflow ensuring the consistency and tight tolerances demanded by the brand owners. SPGPrints’ 405 Mesh, together with the rotaLEN engraver gives us a reliable, productive and cost-efficient rotary screen workflow for ensuring the consistency and tight tolerances demanded by the brand owners.”