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rinting formats succeed by meeting the
expectations of brand o
to a recent Smithers
hite paper, titled
ri nt for
re Driving Market Demand, those
crit er ia include :
• Packaging that’s fit for purposeinter
s of strength, resistance
and s hape
• Graphicsqualitythat enablestheconsu
esign andgraphicsthat canpro
ote sales andprovideinfor-
• Acceptable perfor
ance infilling lines, distribution syste
ithers Pirahas collected exa
ples ofhow digital printing,the
aking a caseforits usagebydelivering onfour
specificbrand owner needs.
It’s not news, but it bearsrepeating:Shelves are crowded, andthefirst
thing apackage needsto do, beforeit can de
resealability or not har
ent,is grab a consu
attention. So it’s no surprisebrand owners arede
andi ng dig it al
uch likethey continue to de
add value to
their packages, with an end goal of differentiating the
sea of co
ne digital printer
anufacturer heedingthiscallisIsrael based
Scodix, which offers a nu
ber of specialized
uniqueeffects topackaging.An exa
pleof theseeffects is seenin the
pany’s Rainbowdigitalglittering station. It prints glitterto select-
ed areas of apackage, so
ething the co
pany saysit plans to usein
conjunction with cartonpackaging for thecos
etic and otherhigh
val ue pro duct in dust ri es.
and for differentiationispushing digital printer
anuf act ur-
ers to expandtheir offerings, too. S
ithers Piracites upco
Pand recent releases fro
Scr een as exa
of catering to brand owner needs.
ers can be corralledinto groups based ontheir age, sex,
wherethey liveand other de
ographics, and there is packaging that
appealsto thoseniches. But truepersonalizedpackaging can seg
thosegroups evenfurtherandbe an evengreaterdraw. There’s a rea-
son tourists buy
iniature license plates and
ugs withtheir na
2015 | ISSUE 1
Living In Harmony
Applying Digital Technologies to Flexo
Lee Z erfas s
Digital printing technology has beengrow-
ing at a rapid rate. As the format contin-
ues to expand, more and more flexogra-
phers are taking notice and asking a lot of
questions, both general and specific:
• Is this just atrend?
• Do I need adigitalpressto be competitive?
• How much shouldmy company invest indigital?
• What specific technologies are right for our customers?
• What specific technologies are right for my company?
• Howdo we measuretheROI?
Raising questions likethese is an important first step to evaluating the
efficac y of any new t echnol og y. Here, we’ll di scuss t wo —di gi tal print ers
and the digital front end (DFE). And when considering a large new
undertaking, it helps to break down the options into digestible chunks.
AsI wrote inFLEXOMagazine(“ExpandedGamut Flexo,” November
2014), we’re seeing more and more short runs, to thepoint that it’s
collectively understoodthat these types of jobs are hereto stay.Will
that changethecapacity or volume ofprinted pieces?Because of the
increased variety, the answer is typically “no .” Di gi tal printing allows
for complex designs that include variable data, lot numbers and other
uniquepieces of information.
Microbreweries are a good example of a perpetual short run oppor-
tunity.Therehas been an explosion of small craft brews, hobbyists, co
ops andproducers of smaller/exoticbrands, withtheBrewers Associa-
tion reporting it now has 2,300 producers and 45,000 members. These
companies can produce as many variations asthey seefit andtheir
label printing costs are controlled, thanks to their print partner.
Or take that recent nationwide soda project, where individuals’ names
were printed onbottles and cans, as an illustration of thepower of
digital print and what it can meanto consumer goods andthecus-
tomer. The allure offinding one wastoo great to ignore: The majority
of us couldn’thelpbut stopto seeif theproducts had our name, our
kids’ names, our friends’ names or our relatives’ names. There were
stories of people on queststo find cans andbottleswith their name.
Someeven bought thecans to pass out asgifts.
A project of this size needed a lot of suppliers—in the dozens—andone
or moredigital presses at each printer. This was a scenario where digital
printing wasn’t just helpful, it was mandatory: Without a digital print
solution, this campaign would not havebeenfeasible, neither econom-
ically nor logistically. Between all the press changes, makeready, waste
andlabor, it wouldhavebeendeadbeforeit even started.
“A digital press will be a sizeable
investment; this isn’t the same
level of commitment and capital
as a new anilox. Fortunately, it’s
a buyer’s market and there are
dozens of offerings at varied costs
6 FLEXO iQ 2015 | ISSUE 1
ISSUE 1 | FLEXO iQ 2015 11
Patience Pays Off
McCourt Label’s Use of Digital Grabs New Jobs, Complements Flexo
Buying a press is a more costly endeavor than most purchases, both professional and personal—com-
pare the price tag of some new aniloxes, a fleet of new computers, even a car or a house. It’s not a
decisionto take lightly, even more so whenthe press utilizes anentirely new format.
“ We had been monitoring the development of digital printing for label companies for five years before adopting the technology,”
reveals McCourt Label President David Ferguson. Finally taking the plunge with a Domino N610i, the company has seen new doors open, all
the while utilizing its substantial existing flexo production.
Here, Ferguson andVP of Sales Sharon Zampognatalk about how they decide where ajob gets run, how theprocesses complement each other
and where they see the market taking both formats.
FLEXO: Give some backstoryto McCourt Label as a company.
Sharon Zampogna: McCourt, an FTA memberfor morethan30 years,
isacustom labelprinter and converter. The company was foundedin
1896 by agroup of investorsledbyNewtonMcCourt.Heinvented a
label dispensing cabinet for drug stores. His design was patented and
the company was formally incorporated in 1901 as McCourt Label
Cabinet Company. It started manufacturing the cabinets in Bradford,
PA intheback of adrug store. The company also suppliedthelabels
for the cabinet. McCourt was reformed in 1911 by Herb Black and the
product gained national acceptance. The company is still owned by the
decedents of B lack, w ho was the pres ident fo r 47 y ears.
McCourt has reinventeditself many times in itshistory as pharma-
cies migratedto newertechnologies. It soon beganprinting labels for
many other uses, including general industry and office applications.
McCourt was one of theearly adopters of theflexographicprocess for
labelprinters, purchasingitsfirst flexo pressin1967.Duringthe 1980s
and 1990s, we becameheavilyinvolved inthe production of labelsfor
printing variable information via computers, including pinfeed,fan
foldfor dot matrix printers. This evolved into thermal transfer and
APRIL 2015, VOLUME 1, NO. 1
McCourt Label Deploys
Your Blueprint to Multiprocess
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