Digital Press Expands Capabilities for Pharma, Nutrition Labels and More

ID Products uses an Epson SurePress to deliver consistent quality and color accuracy for customers in a wide variety of sectors.

In the rapidly changing printing and packaging landscape, create engaging color labels is critical.

Research conducted by CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research showed that 62 to 90% of people’s subconscious judgment at initial viewing of a product (or person or environment) is based on color alone, supporting the need for greater color achievability in the label market even for healthcare products.

To meet this rapidly changing demand, ID Products, a company that specializes in labels, screen printed overlays and more,sought a digital press that offered flexibility. Their customers span a wide variety of industries that include pharmaceuticals, nutrition and craft beer, so color accuracy and dependability in label printing are key.

Luke Philippas, Director of Manufacturing and Engineering at ID Products, explains,“We were primarily looking to augment our current production workflow with a reliable digital solution. We are a job shop offering custom printed products to a broad range of industries on a variety of substrates. We needed a press that could handle all of our unique requirements.”

They had “strongly” considered wide-format printers, but the available options had strength in one area and weaknesses in others, either with the limited number of suitable substrates or in overall color matching.

“The Epson SurePress was on our radar along with other digital presses we found through web searches and recommendations,” says Philippas.“We were sold when we reviewed printed jobs on our material that Epson completed for us for evaluation.”

ID Products selected the SurePress L-4533A/AW,a six- or seven-color inkjet digital label press for short-run label printing, designed for prime label converters and commercial printers.We chose this model primarily for its hexachrome ink set and the option for white. The ability to print on stock not specifically coated for ink-jet was also a key factor in our decision.”

The press was recently evaluated and approved by Pantone® for its capability to achieve 91 percent of the PANTONE Solid Coated Colors within delta E of 1.5 CIEDE2000. (The model is certified to reach its full Pantone coverage capabilities when used in conjunction with the Avery Primax 250TC/S692N/BG40W/BW6033B PS label media and Epson ink.) The L-4533 uses a 4-color work flow with the RIP (raster image processor) and the press determines the orange and green automatically, saving time, simplifying the operation and improving the day-to-day accuracy of the jobs.

Color matching made easy

Another important feature for ID Products was the ability to re-run previous jobs with little to no color adjustment. “Our color demands are unique. We measure color at the beginning, middle and end of runs under two light sources, and within delta values that exceed industry standards. This unique requirement has always been the one area other digital presses have failed for us,” says Philippas.

The SurePress has made color matching easy. “In the vast majority of cases we can hit a color per our specifications after 2 or 3 iterations. Once matched, the color is saved in the RIP database. The next time we run using that same color and substrate the color is within tolerance. This saves a great deal of time and allows us to gang jobs together and run during off-hours without the need to check and tweak color. This is not the first digital technology we have put into production, but it is the best.”

Implementation

The entire process from the time of purchase order to installation took approximately 60 days. “The pre-install site survey was thorough and really helped with our decision process for the final location of the press. Once delivered, it took a couple of days to install and we were printing by the end of the week,” says Philippas.

Their expectations were exceeded. He adds, “The training was very thorough. Theraster image processor (RIP) and the press were covered completely. The trainer also helped us to run actual jobs on our material.”

The company has also benefitted from Epson’s customer service. When they encountered a printhead clog and the job was not able to be recovered through the software, Philippas says, “We did not see any change in color as a result. The tech was on-site the next day with a head replacement. We were back up and running by late afternoon.”

Results

ID Products has been using the SurePress since January 2018, and ID Products has seen gains in its capacity and customer base. “The press has exceeded our expectations. Running it off-hours has really increased capacity for us. The consistency is really what has set this press apart from others,” notes Philippas. “We’ve produced parts with tight color tolerances time after time. The press has also given us the ability to compete in new market verticals.The ability to quickly change from one substrate and job to another has eliminated our normal set-up times. We have recaptured and repurposed anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per job.”

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