Posts tagged: color digital label

HP Indigo: Gearing Up for LabelExpo

Ralf Schlozer
 Jul 21, 2015

In July HP hosted a worldwide HP Indigo VIP event in Israel. More than 250 customers and prospects visited from dozens of countries from all over the world – including USA, about 10 different European countries, China, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, USA, Brazil, South Africa, and more. There were dozens of sessions presented in each of the four tracks: Flexible Packaging, Labels, Folding Cartons and Commercial Printing. In addition to visiting HP Indigo labs and manufacturing facilities, attendees also visited local HP Indigo customers according to their tracks.

The event provided a great opportunity to present some news ahead of LabelExpo Europe, which is taking place end of September in Brussels. Packaging, and especially label printing, is now a major business for HP Indigo. According to HP label volumes are growing by 25% every year. With a forecast of more than 600 million square meters of labels to be printed in 2015 HP claims to represent nearly 10% of the global label market value and has established itself as major player not only in digital print, but in the whole label print market.

However HP Indigo is extending its coverage beyond label markets. While the ws 4000 and 6000 series are firmly rooted in the label market with only occasional installs in folding carton, shrink sleeves and in-mould labels, the HP Indigo 20000 marks a distinctive move into adjacent packaging markets. Of the roughly 30 installations of the 20000 so far most are used for flexible packaging, followed by shrink sleeves, with only a minority used purely in label printing. Meanwhile, HP Indigo has 20 or more installations of the 30000, the B2 sheet fed press that mainly prints folding cartons. Read more »

New Testing Standards Group Will Help Digital Label Technology

Bob Leahey
 Oct 20, 2010

FINAT, the international association for self-adhesive label industry, announced this month that it has taken the first steps to achieve standardized testing methods for digital printing of labels. FINAT has begun establishing a picked group of industry representatives to form a “task force” dedicated to this topic.

The news from FINAT, which is based in The Netherlands and has 600 members from around the world, is a sign of the importance and maturity of digital technology in the label industry, which is now has well over 1,300 color digital presses base on EP or inkjet. While color digital presses have thus come into their own in the market that was once exclusively served by analog presses, there is a gap between digital and analog in terms of print testing. For analog technology such as offset, letterpress, flexo or gravure presses, the industry has well established testing equipment, procedures and standards, one that are accepted by the key supplier categories such as media and press manufacturers and by converters and their customers.

Color digital technology, though, is younger than analog, and most of the standard printability tests and procedures have not yet been fully tried. It is also possible that such tests may need to be modified or new tests developed for use in judging digital printing of labels and packaging. FINAT is aiming to close the gap, and make digital technology as well and uniformly tested as analog technology. Their overall goal is to make digital label printing a more globally standardized technology in terms of printability, performance standards, test methods and procedures.

InfoTrends believes this initiative by FINAT is very helpful one. While vendors of color digital technology have collectively achieved good success in the label market, they are a disparate group. They include not just two major technology categories, EP and inkjet, but subcategories of technologies within them, defined by toner technology (liquid or dry toned) and inkjet heads (Epson, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Panasonic, Toshiba TEC, Xaar). There is a lot to judge and compare, such as image resolution and color matching, among other items.

What will a better, standardized testing do for color digital technology? A key benefit will be greater acceptability of digitally printed labels among brand owners. Some share of brand owners still rate digital output as marginal compared to analog, and top consumer brands are especially demanding in terms of color matching and other features. These companies seek consistency and fidelity; standardized testing will enhance the reputation of color digital.

The move by FINAT is spurred by IGT Testing Systems, a print testing specialist based in Switzerland, and Mike Fairley, a key industry consultant with Tarsus Group, the organizer of Label Expo. FINAT is now in the midst of establishing the task force, which it says will represent different disciplines. FINAT’s Wilco de Groot is chairman of the group, and will soon make recommendations about its further recruitment.

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