In the news: Pioneering Investment in fast, durable digital labels

Euro Label Printers will become the first customer for Industrial Inkjet's (IIJ) new iS series print engine when it takes delivery of a new D-Flex hybrid inkjet printer from Focus Label Machinery next month.

Printweek Euro Label (VangoLabel)

Euro Label Printers director John Bayley: D-Flex install will mean £200k combined saving on plate and makeready costs

The London-based label printer will install its first digital press, a hybrid D-Flex printer featuring the new ColourPrint 142 iS print engine from IIJ, in October.

Focus Label Machinery (FLM) launched the D-Flex at Drupa in 2012. It combines a UV digital inkjet print engine from IIJ with FLM's own Reflex flexo print and converting line.

Euro Label Printers currently has an eight-station Mark Andy 2200 UV and a six-station Focus Centraflex as well as a Mutoh 8254 eco-solvent inkjet printer for short runs.

Director John Bayley said that he had been "wanting to get into longer-run digital for five years or so and looking fairly seriously for around the past 18 months" before settling on the D-Flex.

"At one point we were looking at a Durst front-end with a Digicon conversion, but in the end IIJ and Focus offered us something that was more in line with what we wanted in terms of the configurability of the system," said Bayley.

Euro Label Printers' new d-Flex has been configured with a single UV flexo print unit (in addition to the IIJ ColourPrint 142iS digital UV inkjet print engine) and space to add another at a later date if required.

It is also equipped with drying, cold foiling, slitting, rotary sheeting/die-cutting and external unwind and direct servo-driven rewind. "The labels pretty much come off finished," said Bayley.

He added: "One of the considerations was speed and this system prints quality runs up to 50m/min and converts inline; other manufacturers will tell you they can print at so many metres per minute, but then you have to take the labels off and put them on another machine to finish.

"Light fastness was also a significant factor as it's quite hard to get in the inkjet world and we do a lot of outdoor work that has to be resistant because otherwise we're a dead duck. With this system we can choose our own ink system.

"Lastly the overall configurability of the printer means we can say yes to every job. We've justified the investment on cost savings because that's guaranteed but we're also projecting a 20% turnover jump on work that we've previously not been able to take because we weren't competitive on it – niche things like sequential numbering on the reverse of labels, which we would have to charge quite a lot to do at the moment so don't tend to win."

Bayley added that following a close analysis of the firm's costs, he had been shocked to find how much money was going on set-up and plate costs on the firm's conventional presses. "Until now I have been spending £150,000 on waste stock and set-up as well as £50,000 on plates annually," he said.