Label & Narrow Web caught up with Kirit Naik, UPM Raflatac’s R&D director for the Americas, and he explained that the material provides advantages not seen with ordinary labelstocks. “Standard semi-gloss papers can leave the labels with a mottled appearance or images with a streaky/grainy appearance or inconsistent print quality,” says Naik. “Premium Gloss UVI offers dependable color reproduction from job-to-job. It’s ideal for multi-color labels requiring excellent print definition and fine details using UV ink-jet printers. Premium Gloss UVI can help printers and converters achieve results that once seemed impossible.”
This trimless service offering features optimized gloss, opacity, brightness and smoothness. In addition, it is available with both RP51 general purpose adhesive and RP48AT all-temperature adhesive for food and beverage applications. Thus far, the product has been endorsed by press manufacturers like Domino and Mark Andy.
“It is extremely important when key OEMs endorse our products and are proud of our product performance on their presses,” says Naik. “We strongly believe in developing products with OEM input because it is a critical path for the product’s success. Mark Andy and Domino are some of the leading OEMs for UV ink-jet printing technology.”
UPM Raflatac has received strong feedback on Premium Gloss UVI. According to Naik, UPM Raflatac’s customers’ customers have loved the product’s performance. Prepress designers, operators and customers have noticed the enhanced quality and how the graphics “pop” off the label. “Brand owners have never been able to achieve this high-quality print definition or fine detail with standard semi-gloss papers before,” comments Naik. “Standard semi-gloss works fine for traditional flexo printing, however, they do not provide consistent quality with UV inkjet printing. We have excellent know-how about coating and laminating, and we have designed our film products to perform best with flexo and UV inkjet printing.”
Recognizing that quality with UV inkjet printing was an industry challenge, UPM Raflatac was able to master the final product’s design based on customer feedback.
UPM Raflatac has also taken the development process one step further. The company has gotten out front, working with press manufacturers’ development teams to create substrates that are ready to hit the market at the same time as the press or printer. By offering digital label converters a greater range of substrates, as well as enhanced training, all parties will experience growth. That mutualistic relationship leads to a “win-win situation for everyone.”
“Printer OEMs must consider working upfront with substrate developers so together we can provide the smarter digital solution for our mutual customers,” explains Naik. “We are highly interested to work with OEMs at their facilities. We want to identify the best printing conditions together so our mutual customer does not have to go through frustration or wasting their valuable press time.”
In order to make sure that printers have access to the right materials, UPM Raflatac also provides the Printer Recommendation Tool. This resource identifies suitable substrates for various printer and press models. It is designed to answer demands for American and EMEIA printers, and it allows users to search by manufacturer, model, printer type and/or printer technology.
In the near future, UPM Raflatac will continue to prioritize digital printing by finding solutions to meet market demand. UPM Raflatac has segmented its R&D to the following platforms:
- Liquid electrophotography (HP Indigo)
- Electrophotography: Dry Toner (Xeikon, Mark Andy, Konica Minolta, etc.)
- UV ink-jet (Domino, Mark Andy, Xeikon-Jetrion, Durst, Screen, etc.)
- Water-based ink-jet, Dye-based (Colordyne, Primera, Afinia, etc.)
- Water-based ink-jet, pigment-based (Epson, Neuralables, Afinia, etc.)
- Hybrid presses (Mark Andy, MPS, Gallus, Colordyne, Graphium, Nilpeter, Omet, etc.)