Embellishment options abound

Adding value to print has unfortunately become a cliché for many in the industry, especially when discussing embellishments and enhancements for printed products.
 
However, it remains a fact that in a market of ever decreasing volume, commercial print companies must look for smart ways to increase their profits. So, no matter how bored you have become with the phrase value add, you need to know how embellishments can make you more money.
 
Traditional analogue embellishment techniques such as foil stamping or hot foiling require knowledge and expertise. Companies that have ready access to die cutting or laser cutting and other processes can offer their clients any number of embellishments.
 
It isn’t all manual work either. Finishing shops and print finishing departments have worked hard on automating as much of the process as possible to accommodate the demand for shorter runs.
 
Plus, the range of options continues to increase. For instance, foiling has expanded from just metallics that produce gold, silver, or copper hues. Now, foiling can also deliver pigmented colours that might otherwise be difficult to produce effectively through CMYK printing alone such as neon or pastel.
 
Other effects like embossing, creating a raised impression on the paper and debossing, pushing the paper downwards to create a depression in the stock, require accuracy and labour but they enable you to add a healthy margin to the printed product. Likewise varnishing, which gives that extra tactile dimension to the printed piece, especially effective for packaging and suitable for items that consumers will hold in their hands after they pick them up off a shelf.
 
Expanding capabilities
 
Digital embellishment does not require the same skill level and knowledge of foils, substrates and specialised processes so companies with a more digital emphasis may find these machines compatible with their present capabilities. 
 
The number of suppliers producing digital presses that offer embellishments may seem small but it will certainly continue to grow, especially as the technology advances.

Graph Pak supplies Autobond Machinery in Australia and New Zealand. Tom Ralph, managing director of Graph Pak, says the company has about 130 installations across the two countries since 2006.

He says, “Autobond introduced Digital Inkjet Spot UV to the industry around seven years ago. These machines can lay down Digital Spot UV ink in what is called a high build, giving a 3D effect at around 100 microns and as low as three microns for commercial work at speeds to 60 metres per minute . So, when you buy an Autobond laminator, you can place this Spot UV machine behind it and do it all in one pass at up to 60 metres per minute, and then adding a Digital foiler you can reach up to 30 metres per minute."

“The optional  inline digital foiling unit  lays the foil down over the  images printed by the Autobond Digital Ink Jet heads. And you can keep adding features; like putting together Lego. For example, you can go to digital inkjet and hot and cold foiling with digital. You can get all the colours of the rainbow. Overall, it gives that embossed feeling.”

He adds that the Autobond machines have an industrial build. He says, “The machines are engineered in England and they are extremely robust, built on a heavy duty platform.They are not toys and these machines are built on a platform to receive continual upgrades as technology develops."

Supplied by Currie Group, the Scodix E106 digital embellishment press offers nine embellishment functions. It can accept, feed, and automatically register pre-printed sheets from any process at 4000 B1 sheets per hour for single-pass embellishment. The 760mm single-pass inkjet press uses a proprietary UV-cured polymer ink, which cures to optical clarity. It lays down a coating up to 250 microns per pass, with variable thickness to give textures. Multiple passes can build up the thickness even further and can apply effects over foil.
 
The nine embellishments it offers: Spot, traditional high gloss UV varnish; Sense, raised and textured spot varnish; Foil, dieless cold foil application; Metallic, spot varnish on Deprosa’s Soft Touch matt metallic laminate; Crystal, multiple passes simulating glue-on gems; VDP/VDE, variable data printing/enhancement; Braille; Cast & Cure, diffraction; and Glitter, glitter particles applied pre-cure.
 
French manufacturer MGI produces Unlimited Colors, an inline digital hot foiling system for its Meteor DP series of dry toner digital presses. The hot foil is available in metallic and holographic materials and in a range of spot colours and effects. The press can overprint onto the foil as a second pass, and create digital holographic effects.
 
Konica Minolta supplies the machines in Australia and offers a complete package of the Meteor DP 8700XL press with the inline foil unit ready-fitted. This press is based on a Konica Minolta dry toner four-colour duplex print engine, modified for thicker and longer media including plastics. It has an offset-style pile feeder that can take sheets up to 1200mm long. 
 
MGI also makes the JETvarnish 3D, which offers digital spot UV coating as a solution for 3D or traditional flat spot UV coating and 3D raised effects.
 
Supplied by Neopost in Australia, the Duplo DDC-810 spot UV coater uses inkjet technology to apply a gloss finish to defined areas of the substrate giving images a raised effect with texture and depth. Its CCD camera recognition system ensures image-to-image registration and its PC Controller software offers an easy-to-use operation. Designed for short run applications, the DDC-810 can process up to 21 sheets per minute (A3), UV thickness from 20 to 80 microns, and paper weights from 157 to 450 gsm (coated paper).
 
The unit features a dust roller, metal hydride lamp, ultrasonic double feed detection, fully automated head cleaning purge, and detection sensors for miss-feeds, ink attached, ink near empty, ink disposal tank full, cover open/closed, jam before and after UV lamp, and feed empty. Extremely easy to set up and operate, the DDC-810 is ideal for short to medium digital and offset print jobs.

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