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ABC of Konica Minolta’s digital label ecosystem

Friday, 08 March 2019
By Patrick Howard

Mastering digital labels printing: (from left) Joseph Brown, QLM; Adrian Flemming, printIQ; Paul Ross, Holmesglen; Enda Kavanagh, XMPie; and David Cascarino, Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta invited XMPie, printIQ and QLM to Holmesglen Institute to give a master class to the Victorian print industry on the future of short-run digital label printing, with the Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 190.

A good roll up of industry professionals at the printing industry’s Melbourne TAFE of choice, Holmesglen, early Thursday morning was taken through developments in short-run digital label printing by David Cascarino, industrial print executive, Konica Minolta. His focus was on the latest AccurioLabel 190 label press the company donated to the school of printing.

With ten installations in Australia, 300 worldwide, since its launch at drupa 2016, the AccurioLabel 190 seems to have found a niche in the market. It concentrates on small to middle volume print runs of four-colour labels with increasing interest from businesses beyond the professional industry. Part of its appeal is the ease of use and when combined with a Centra HS finishing system is touted as being able to have an operative trained within a couple of weeks to run both machines.

Featuring a Miyakoshi unwinder at the front, the roll-to-roll xerographic machine has a throughput of between 9.45 meters and 13.9 meters a minute. According to Cascarino the 1200 x 1200 dpi imaging guarantees the same level of quality and colour the brand is recognised for at a unique cost performance point.

Enda Kavanagh, XMPie, (now what does that name stand for? ed) was up front on the integration of personalised data with labels. He also donated a system to Holmesglen, to allow students to have first hand experience on the XMPie software.

He advocates a holistic marketing experience across all media using data. He makes the point that labels are often the first touch point between a brand and the customer. H e says with the digital label sector growing at 13 per cent per year, now is the time to ensure that all consumer touch points can be measured.

Following on came Adrian Flemming, sales director of printIQ, who pointed out that label production was nothing as straightforward as your average commercial print job. He gave three examples of jobs where everything takes a different path … a new job with a new die, a job with an existing die and the same jobs to be printed on different presses. He ran through printIQ’s estimating, and production scheduling, aimed at making the process as automated as possible. The two softwares, XMPie and printIQ, when they work together are rapidly becoming the flavour of the month across many printing sectors.

Last up was the team from QLM demonstrating the Centra HS roll-to-roll digital converting system. Able to laminate, die-cut, strip and slit custom labels in one production pass at 500 frames per hour it comes at much less cost than a semi-rotary die machine. It has an operating cost per month of $50. No wonder at least six of the AccurioLabel 190s in the local market went in with a Centra HS finishing unit attached.

And talking of finishing Cascarino wrapped up the high-energy event with a preview of the new JetVarnish 3DW Color+, which will be released later this year, likely at Labelexpo in Brussels.

Finally Paul Ross, CEO of Holmesglen gave an overview of the revitalised apprentice and print training going on at the TAFE. He told of how private schools with stratospheric fees were sending their students to him to learn how apprentices work. One of the free Victorian government apprenticeships is for Printing Certificate II. He has 17 students now enrolled in on-campus study with a day a week outside doing work experience. There are 25 more on the waiting list. Who said printing didn’t appeal to the young?

All in all, a fine morning dedicated to the increasingly confident future of the industry.

Learning labels at Holmesglen: Owners of Revolution Print, Ballarat and Konica Minolta fans John Schreenan (left) and Leon Wilson share notes with Sue Threlfo on the progress of their KM-1 press as it approaches its first anniversary.

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