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Epson SurePress hits the sweet spot in labels

Tuesday, 11 October 2011
By Print 21 Online Article

Watershed technology entrant is set to change the economics of the digital labels sector.

Label convertors are looking towards the Epson SurePress industrial label press to access digital technology at a new investment level. The long-awaited L-4033A is designed as a versatile short-run digital label press able to image on regular substrates, and easily fit into existing workflows.

It takes on the dominant HP Indigo label presses providing more affordable access to digital processes for many established label convertors as well as commercial printers. This new price performance nexus is likely to change the dynamics of the label sector and tempt many more participants to review digital technology.

The Epson brand reputation is rock solid in terms of colour and inkjet technology. Using its patented MicroPiezo inkjet technology and a six-colour, industrial quality, water-based pigment ink, the SurePress will print on a wide range of off the shelf substrates with no pre-coating required.

“We’re still testing substrates but so far we haven’t found anything the SurePress cannot print on,” said Craig Heckenberg, business unit manager, Epson Australia. “The SurePress is able to print on all the standard label stocks from the major suppliers. This is very important. There will be minimal changes to existing substrate inventories.

“Our customers are label converters, commercial printers and digital production centres that are moving into the short run label segment for the first time.”

The arrival of a new option for digital production is likely to invigorate the sector. Coming to the market with a price tag of sub-$400K, the SurePress is the first Epson venture into digital production, but not likely to be the last. It provides an optimum investment window for convertors and printers to get into digital labels.

The first SurePress is now installed in a specially designed exhibition space at Epson’s North Ryde, NSW facility. The company is ramping up its support team with Trevor Crowley already on board to introduce the SurePress to the label industry. As an ex- Avery Dennison vet he is well known to the sector.

Heckenberg expects the industry to recognise the Epson imaging and technology quality as well as be reassured by the technology company’s track record and stability. “We have taken our time to bring the SurePress to the market. It is a thoroughly tried and tested solution that will allow buyers to make money from short-run labels,” he said.

The Epson SurePress L-4033A has 15 six-colour high performance and highly accurate print heads that produce printing speeds up to five metres/minute. SurePress AQ Ink is made of pigment colour particles coated with resin that promotes quick drying and strong bonding. AQ Ink was developed to improve image quality over analogue printed labels, maintain water fastness and resistance to rubbing, and is engineered to dry quickly for increased productivity.

A dual drying system using a platen heater and air-drying ensures labels emerge from the press ready for finishing. The L-4033A is offered with a range of third-party pre-and post-press options that can be tailored to meet need and budgets.

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