What’s the Deal with Digital?
“Using CMYK plus purple expands the pallet of PMS colors you can match,” noted Shanley. “Or, if you have a customer insisting on a PMS color that can’t be created using CMYK plus purple, we can order the particular PMS color and load it in one of the stations and actually print it as a solid.”
Since there are no metallics with digital, Labels West achieves a metallic look—perhaps a silver border on a wine label—by using a metallic base stock and putting down white in all the areas where the metallic is not to appear.
“We’ll then over-print on the white, leaving the silver to show just around the border,” continued Shanley. “With the dead-on registrations we can achieve on the press, there is no rough edge, just a nice clean, crisp line. We also just purchased a new foil stamping unit/ hot stamping/ embossing unit designed to work with our digital press. We can run labels through and foil stamp on top as a secondary process. The results we get when we do this ‘fake foil stamping’ are fabulous.”
Where Digital Dominates Now
Of course, Labels West also operates a conventional flexo press, which still produces 80 percent of the company’s label orders. Similar to cut-sheet manufacturers running both types of equipment, Shanley has to determine the crossover point to choose the most cost-effective and efficient workflow for producing a job. Taking into account the number of different items in the run and the total quantity of the run is a good rule of thumb at Labels West.
“We’re also installing a new [software] system that generates a quote for [both types of printing] and then pops up a graphic indicating where the crossover point is,” said Shanley.
Lexington, Kentucky-based WhatTheyThink hosted a webinar titled: “Working the Document LifeCycle: When to move a job from offset to digital.” Ray Schmidt, vice president, One Write, Lancaster, Ohio, and Mounir Murad, president, Imaging Zone, Springfield Va., analyzed the inflection point at which all costs are equal across both processes from the perspectives of price, schedule and cost. Schmidt and Murad discovered that for cut-sheet manufacturers, run length, end-users’ budget restrictions and turnaround time are obvious considerations in choosing a workflow, but, common sense, it seems, rules the day.
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