So, you want 5 different label designs, all different colours and 1,000 labels of each design? A few years ago this would have been a costly and time consuming job, generating hundreds of pounds worth of printing plates, not to mention the cost of 5 x complicated set-ups!
Fast forward into the present, the ‘digital age’ and this job has become 'run of the mill'. Digital printing has provided vast reductions in printing time and costs with no tooling (plates) to create. Digital makes personalisation and branding easier to achieve. It also helps to reduce your cost of sales making your products more competitive.
So how has digital changed the printing world?
The main difference between digital printing and traditional methods (flexographic and lithographic, for example) is that digital printing does not require any printing plates. Why? Because the printing image (design) is created in a design package and transferred directly to the digital printing press, which then controls the deposition of ink or toner onto a substrate such as paper.
Secondly, digital printing has enormous capabilities when it comes to versatility. Unlike traditional printing methods, an almost infinite number of designs can be printed at the same time, side by side across the full width of the substrate web width. As well as being different, each design can include variable information from barcodes to sequential numbering.
Thirdly, digital printing can be used to print onto many different substrates such as paper, polypropylene, polyester and vinyl, without the need for specialist inks and processes (although some digital presses will only accept pre-coated materials). This means that a single digital press can produce both paper and synthetic labels, whereas conventional flexographic printing, for example, often requires dedicated machines for printing onto different materials.
There's no doubt that digital printing represents a massive leap forward in the printing industry. However, as in many things, it's not the answer to everything. Some digital presses are expensive to buy and, in some cases, there are often 'on going' costs, such as service contracts. Also, a number of digital machines (particularly the 'reel to reel' type) are slower than conventional machines which is why traditional printing still has a huge part to play in the industry particularly where large production runs are required and can be produced more cost effectively.
So if you are considering small print runs, branded labels or different versions of a label contact me to see if digital is the best option for you.