Epson SurePress L-6034VW
A new era in label precision and speed
The arrival of the Epson SurePress L-6034VW in Australia and New Zealand ushers in a new era of digital inkjet production for labels. Expanding the SurePress range of inkjet label presses, the new press, which is powered with a LED UV engine, is destined to lift the entire sector’s expectations of productivity and quality.
First launched at last year’s drupa, the Epson SurePress L-6034VW has quickly found its market niche. There are already 18 of the mid-range digital inkjet presses in operation around the world, the majority of them in Europe where they have been recognised as an innovative economical production platform. Designed to meet the needs of label convertors who are likely to be already running some digital on smaller, entry-level machines alongside their flexo/letterpress equipment, the SurePress L-6034VW is the next step towards a complete production solution. It allows companies to expand their range and capacity, transferring more short-to-medium jobs currently running on analogue presses to more economical digital production, freeing up the bigger machines for longer runs. The arrival of the press in the local Australian and New Zealand market enables Epson to address a much wider range of production challenges, moving the SurePress into different sectors.
Labels that last
According to Terry Crawford, Epson SurePress Business Development, one of the major concerns of label convertors exploring the potential of digital inkjet production is the durability and colourfastness of the end product. “Reliability is high up on the list of concerns I deal with every day,” said Crawford. “Convertors want to know how digital inkjet labels handle extreme conditions, such as chemical and refrigeration. They want to know about colourfastness under sunshine. I’m able to assure them that the Epson UV inks have no problems. The ink has a low migration status and meets the internationally recognised standard, BS5609 or Blue Wool rating 6. It has excellent UV resistance.”
This level of durability extends to chemical and scratch resistance under the most severe conditions. When combined with the digital varnish the labels from the SurePress L-6034VW are the equal to any in terms of longevity and dependability.
The new press has garnered a lot of attention in the market with Crawford fielding a number of inquiries from both sides of the Tasman. He identifies label convertors who are looking to move from older technologies, typically letterpress machines, as being most likely to take up the new engine. Although faster and more productive than the aqueous-based machines, the SurePress L-6034VW is still targeted at the short to medium length print runs. It maintains rated speed, 15mpm, no matter how many colours are being utilized. This is almost three times the previous throughput. It slows down to 7.5 mpm when performing complex variable data printing.
Professional label print
Right now, Crawford identifies two types of label converters; those who are actively looking at moving into digital production and those who are sitting on the fence, prepared to run with their existing machinery. He is convinced that for many of this latter group, a lack of knowledge about digital technology is the driving force.
“There is a fear factor out there. Digital will not replace all conventional methods however, it will complement them.It’s a big leap for them. But most label convertors now realise that it’s no longer a question of if they should go digital but rather when,” he said.
The price point of the entire SurePress range especially appeals to small to medium size operations of between three to 50 employees. There are over 200 of these presses in operation around the world, with seven in Australia and New Zealand. The new LED UV curing inkjet press is designed to attract the attention of larger players, looking for a more productive digital engine.
Crawford nominates a number of qualities that label convertors consider key when making a decision about digital production. Heading up the list is image quality. “This is number one with every label convertor I talk to and it’s where the SurePress is very strong. Epson image quality has never been an issue,” he said.
The next issue is productivity. The SurePress L-6034VW does not require a printer to stand by and monitor its operation. A user-friendly DFE makes it simple for operators to set up jobs and walk away, leaving the press to print unattended. The innovative ink cartridge changeover continues this straightforward productivity enhancement, with no need to stop the press to replenish the ink
Digital inkjet is gaining more recognition as a viable imaging platform for label production. It enters the market at a much lower price point than other digital technologies, making the addition of digital available to many more label printers. With run lengths continuing to shorten and the demand for variable data increasing, label convertors are actively assessing their digital options. The arrival of the Epson SurePress L-6034VW is set to broaden that appeal even further.
Shown at PacPrint
The SurePress L-6034VW, which will be shown on the Epson stand at PacPrint in Melbourne in May, is coming onto the market at just the right time with interest building in the use of low-energy LED UV curing of digital inks on narrow web presses. The innovative curing technology allows many types of thin and filmic substrates to be used. Employing a combination of specially developed CMYK inks along with a high opacity white ink and a unique digital varnish, the press maintains Epson’s unsurpassed image quality, while expanding its utility.
The SurePress L-6034VW is opening up new areas of work for digital production with its ability to print on 80-micron films. The addition of the single pass high-opacity white ink increases the range of label products that can be produced, especially on clear, coloured and metallised materials. It provides an ideal base for brilliant colour printing while also enabling opaque fine text and lines, even when printing clear labels.
The LED UV curing inkjet technology ‘pins’ the ink droplets as they land on the substrate. This ‘pinning’ partially cures the ink after each inkjet array in order to fix it for accuracy and sharpness. If required there is a full-UV curing lamp at the end of the printing to complete the curing process ensuring the image is completely dry for rewinding or die cutting. Variable size droplets from the patented Epson Precision Core inkjet technology ensure smooth gradations and unsurpassed colour brilliance with crystal sharp 600 x 600 resolution down to 3pt reverse type. The end result is labels with ultra sharp images and a wide colour gamut.
The new digital varnish can produce multiple styles of coating from matte to high gloss simply by varying the way it’s put down. The varnish can be used to highlight selective areas with spot finishing or flooded across the whole area of the label.
In the competitive landscape that is digital label printing, the SurePress L-6034VW stakes its claim as being one of the most productive presses on the market. While there are other faster and more expensive presses, Epson points to the results of its extensive worldwide network of installations that shows the SurePress range has an unparalleled 98% up time. This ensures that convertors get more production time per shift, with little or no time lost in consumables changeover or inkjet head maintenance. It’s part of the value proposition designed to deliver the highest quality output at an affordable investment price point.
The new press raises throughput to 15m/m on a wide range of ‘off-the-shelf’ substrates, which do not require priming. A corona treatment extends the range of suitable substrates even further. This flexibility allows convertors to transition an increased amount of work from analogue to digital without altering their supply chain. The SurePress L-6034VW is able to fit into a busy production schedule without requiring specialised substrates.