Package printers have platefuls of digital printing options to plow through.
by Susan Friedman
Heads up! Digital printing developments are hurtling past from all angles...aiming for the heart of package printing needs. The quickest way to the heart may be through the stomach, but what mix of ingredients will tempt converters to pick up their forks and truly dig into digital printing with gusto?
Here's a look at what's bubbling on the stove in suppliers' test kitchens...as well as what's already served and steaming on packaging's table.
Nilpeter's DL 3300, which runs on Xeikon's electrophotographic simplex print engine, has doubled its speed to run at 24 fpm or 48 fpm. A fifth station for laying down opaque white has been added for printing on clear film or foil.
Indigo has adapted its liquid ink-based Omnius One Shot Color press technology to substrate management systems for labels and flexibles, and added a graphic attachment for plastic cards.
Agfa's packaging-oriented Chromapress 32Si is a single-sided, or simplex, five-color system that uses a Xeikon engine and Agfa IntelliStream front-end to print widths to 12.6" at 50 fpm.
Xeikon's DCP/50 SP for printing on paperboard up to 18 pt. and its DCP/50 SF for printing on flexible films, label stock, and other flexible materials offer a web width of 19.75" and an infinitely variable cutoff.
Chromas Technologies has worked steadily with the Digital Label Alliance, a collective partnership of 16 converters, to commercialize a technology that not will only place digital printing in-line with flexographic printingeliminating plate changes for variable information or colorsbut will also permit a fully digital job to be printed on the fly within a traditional flexo press configuration.
"Combination platter" approaches aimed at providing more complete digital systems include Agfa's collaboration with Mark Andy on an in-line finishing system that will likely be offered to U.S. printers by the end of the year, and Nilpeter's digitally controlled diecutting system for the DL 3300 which features a magnetic cylinder/die assembly with a programmable repeat that reduces tooling costs.