1. What is variable data printing and what are some of the applications?
Variable data printing (VDP) is a form of digital printing in which elements, such as text, graphics, and images, may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process, using information from a database or external file. For example, the printing of bar codes; 2D matrix and QR codes; sequential numbering; serial, batch, random, and pin numbers; alphanumeric characters; and variable images where one label is different than the next and so on.
VDP is in demand now more than ever. The need to track products through logistics and supply chains; traceability for food safety, brand protection, product authentication; brand and consumer engagement; loyalty, gaming and promotional opportunities; personalization; and requirements for state, federal and global mandates are just some of the VDP applications.
2. How has the pandemic necessitated the need for VDP?
Even in the face of a global pandemic, the label industry has not slowed down. If anything, it has sped up. Consumers have been panic buying since the onset of COVID-19, causing brand owners to be busier, especially in the sectors of food, beverage, and pharmaceutical. As a result, brand owners’ suppliers have been busier too. Label manufacturers are producing record numbers of labels and getting them out the door as quickly as they can. In turn, the adoption of digital printing has become more important now than ever for fast, efficient production as brand owners are utilizing multiple SKUs and requiring VDP for their labels and packaging. And specifically, the need for printing barcodes, QR codes, sequential numbers for serialization, track and trace, security, brand protection, and anti-counterfeiting is even that much more important and critical now than ever before.
To that point, what we have seen is that many label manufacturers are implementing our digital printing technology not only to meet this explosive growth due to COVID-19, but also to diversify and increase their business offerings. For example, Abbott Label in Dallas, TX, a current customer of Domino’s N610i digital label press, recently added our K600i dual bar system to meet the needs of their distributor network and to maximize opportunities with continued growth in VDP applications.
3. Do you believe this trend will continue?
COVID-19 has potentially accelerated e-commerce by five years. With people working from home and staying at home, the need to purchase items online has grown dramatically. And as families experience the benefits of e-commerce with easy online ordering and delivery to their front door, they are adapting it to their normal routines – much of which will continue even after lock-down restrictions ease up. This e-commerce surge has created an immediate increase for pre-printed bar code labels in the logistics supply chains. Domino customers have seen a 40-50% increase in demand for variable data labels and believe the trend will continue.
4. What products does Domino offer to meet the demands of this market?
The Domino K600i is the perfect fit – the perfect answer for the demands of this market. A tried-and-true digital UV inkjet printer with hundreds of installations globally, the K600i is a proven and reliable solution for variable data printing.
During the past year, we have seen an impressive surge in orders of the Domino K600i for label manufacturers that need to add VDP to their flexo-printed labels. Label manufacturers can integrate the K600i onto their flexo presses, rewinders or finishing systems. Domino offers the K600i in a single bar or dual bar configuration in various widths, based on the customer’s need and speed requirements.
The single bar prints at 246 fpm, and the dual bar at up to 492 fpm, allowing label manufacturers to react to this VDP opportunity and provide profitable, efficient, on-time delivery to their customers.
5. Describe the production benefits a converter can experience with the Domino K600i dual bar digital UV inkjet printer.
Imagine the need to print a tracking barcode that is commonly used in Amazon packages. Running at 492 fpm, that allows you to produce over 29,000 linear feet per hour. Running on a 13” wide K600i dual bar enables 650,000 barcodes printed per hour. On a 17.5” wide K600i dual bar integrated on a 16” flexo press, that will produce over 826,000 barcodes per hour. And on a 21.96” wide K600i dual bar integrated on a 20” press, that will produce over one million barcodes per hour.
So, the Domino K600i dual bar unit will allow you to increase production efficiency, reduce your hourly cost of operation, allow you to put other jobs on your press with the increased capacity you will have, and most importantly, it will allow you to make more money on your existing assets.
To learn more about the Domino K600i dual bar digital UV inkjet printer, please watch this video.