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Digital or conventional labels – the LabelExpo question

Wednesday, 25 September 2013
By Patrick Howard
Same label, different imaging modes – Klaus Bachstein CEO Gallus.

There are more than 60 digital label printing systems on show at this exhibition in Brussels but to a large extent the industry conversation is still stuck on the relative technical values, not on how to mix and match the different types of imaging.

Label convertors are facing the same onslaught from digital technology that commercial printers faced ten years ago. Decisions are being made not only on the best fit for their current work but essentially on the  future of their businesses. Sometimes it seems that the fascination with technology is obscuring the reason anyone is in the business in the first place – to make money.

Fittingly this basic premise was reinforced by Klaus Bachstein, CEO of Gallus, one of the most iconic brands in the industry, at a presentation to the media here at LabelExpo. “The only real question for the label convertor is how and where do I make money?”

He is promoting the Gallus Print Shop concept that addresses the increasingly common scenario of businesses operating both conventional and digital processes. Using Heidelberg-owned CERM MIS the decision as to the right production path for a particular job is left to the software. To Bachstein it is important to move from the traditionally press-oriented production path to a cost efficiency-oriented production path. It is possible to make a profit using either or both of the printing methods, the trick is to get the mix right.

Gallus is selling 115 presses per year and to date has 25 installations of its Heidelberg Linoprint L digital press. The ratio is changing fast but for the industry to get the benefit of all the different types of imaging technology available, the conversation has to move beyond ‘either/or.’



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