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Labelfire safari sparks digital inkjet interest in ANZ

Friday, 09 December 2016
By Patrick Howard

The Rodden and Ring Labelfire tour in Sydney.

Local label convertors are being primed to embrace Heidelberg’s Gallus inkjet as industry identity, James Rodden, and Michael Ring, vice president digital solutions, Gallus, tour the region.

The promotional and information showcase comes ahead of the installation next March in Victoria* of the first Labelfire inkjet label press in Australia. At this stage it’ll be the eighth such machine to go in anywhere in the world since it was first launched at LabelExpo last year – five are going into Europe and two to the USA.

The sale reinforces the local market’s importance to the digital label converting market. High uptake of the technology, especially HP Indigo machines with almost 60 presses, has made ANZ an important focus for all manufacturers.

The Labelfire is being promoted as an integrated hybrid manufacturing line with the ability to run at 50 mpm. The engine going into Victoria has two flexo units upstream and two downstream of the eight-colour inkjet engine.

According to Ring, who is heading up the Gallus drive into digital, 80 percent of all labels go through a secondary process, but the Labelfire makes use of the company’s recognised web-handling skill to maintain the rated speed no matter how complex the configuration.

He says that the feedback from customers in New Zealand and NSW reinforces the quality of the inkjet print. “They’ve told me it beats any other inkjet print they’ve seen,” he said. “We’re targeting the upper quartile in quality, the high value, so-called ‘bling-bling’ labels.”

He claims the Labelfire has the smallest inkjet dot at two picolitres and uses up to 80 percent less ink. It employs Fujifilm Samba inkjet heads with UV curing. Ring believes that with the amount of R&D underway in inkjet, the technology will only get better and expand the range of substrates and jobs it can handle.

“We’re in a class by ourselves when it comes to hybrid digital labels. No one else can match us for quality or for speed,” he said.

Victorian label converters will be able to judge for themselves as the Ring and Rodden tour heads to Melbourne next week.

Digital label presses are changing convertor production with half a dozen Australian sites already owning more than one digital press, again almost entirely HP Indigo. Michael Ring is undaunted, claiming that sometimes it’s better to arrive late in the market with a developed product than to be early with a ‘me too.’

* The first local Labelfire customer has asked for its identity to be kept confidential. We respect the request even while recognising that everyone in the sector already knows who it is.

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