Labels and screenprint march toward digital as major printers buy HP

The Melbourne firm, which is part of the Assta Group, invested about $1 million in an HP Indigo WS6600 label press at PacPrint, said marketing & sales manager Frank Smout. Another $800,000 was invested in associated finishing equipment, he added.

Smout told ProPrint that it reflected Labelhouse’s ongoing drive to boost quality, increase efficiency and reduce turnaround times.

The Indigo WS6600 will run alongside the firm’s Gallus offset label press. Smout said it would generate a “significant” boost in productivity – perhaps as much as 30%.

“Your changeover times from job to job are short. Adjusting the colours is fairly prompt – on a conventional press you spend time adjusting your colour and your material wastage is a lot higher. It’s all about efficiency.”

He also said the Indigo WS6600 would help Labelhouse push into new markets, although he declined to provide details.

[Related: Major trans-Tasman labels merger]

The installation has started, and the new machine is expected to be fully operational in about three weeks. This is Labelhouse’s first digital label press, although there are already two other HP digital label presses in the group, he said.

Smout said the 38-staff operation knew an HP machine would offer reliability and quality, and that it also liked the Indigo WS6600’s ability to do inline coating of raw materials.

Smout told ProPrint that it was possible that half of Labelhouse’s volumes would be printed digitally within five years.

Meanwhile, HP revealed that Brisbane-based Colorcorp has also grown its digital arsenal with an HP Scitex FB7600. The first job came off the press on 23 April.

Managing director Brett Shepherd said the investment came in response to demands for shorter runs and tighter turnarounds, which were often difficult to do efficiently using screenprinting equipment.

“Our new HP Scitex FB7600 industrial press is also helping us save money on staff hours and storage space,” he said.

“Our screenprinters required up to six people to run, with up to 300sqm of surrounding space. The HP Scitex FB7600 press requires two people to manage and only occupies 100sqm of space.”

[Related: More news on switching to digital]

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