In the ongoing debate about flexographic versus digital printing, or flexographic AND digital printing, a lot of the distinct advantages of modern industrial printing machines get lost in the background noise. It isn’t a case of one method being yesterday’s technology and the future being exclusively digital. Both flexographic and digital printing have changed almost beyond recognition in the past two decades. To look at, a printing press released this year may appear similar to one that was purchased in 2001, but below the surface they will be different animals. This is as true for flexo presses as it is for digital. Both have undergone a profound transformation. Here are the four main ways in which modern printers differ from their counterparts of a previous generation:
1) Variable Printing Data: Variable Printing Data allows images and text used on labels to be customised and varied between prints, and even within the same print run. This digital printing innovation is now also available to flexographic printers through upgrade modules and hybrid technology. The upshot of this is a greater degree of personalisation, which allows end clients to access shorter print runs at lower prices than previously. The result: a huge upsurge in demand for flexible printing, which spurs technological development in a virtuous circle.
2) Faster Speeds: digital and hybrid printers are faster than previous models – a lot faster. They can complete orders in a fraction of the time, and then move onto the next one. Partly this is because the printers themselves are quicker, and partly it’s due to reduced preparation time. With digital and hybrid printers you don’t have to mess about preparing plates before a print run, which reduces your setup time and also cuts the cost of printing.
3) Capital Investment Cost & ROI: Investing in a printer is still a big capital decision. However, the absolute cost of printing technology has gone down over the last few years by a considerable margin. The real term, relative cost of printing equipment has also come down, with the cost of digital printing being less than it was and far greater returns to be had from flexible print jobs. Market demand is still as high as ever has been, if not more so, leading to higher profit margins being available. Businesses that invest in new kit now are liable to see a quicker and higher ROI than the last time they purchased new printing technology. There is no sign of this trend slowing down.
4) Quality & Accuracy: Wastage in the printing process is enough to make any works manager groan. Inaccurate margins, ink spillages or other failures result in money being figuratively poured down the drain. Fortunately, digital and digital-enhanced technology is far more accurate. Print runs can be pre-programmed using CAD software and implemented at the flick of a button. Smart, servo driven print motors can detect errors and correct issues before they mount up. Greater accuracy is good for end clients as it means printers can handle far more complex and original label designs. It is good for label print businesses because it reduces waste and increases your profits. Overall quality is also improved. Just compare a modern product label with one from 25 years ago. You can see the difference in the variety and clarity of colour, the different fonts, images and layouts available today.
Reliable, Cutting-Edge Print Technology From Focus Label
At Focus Label, we specialise in novel hybrid printing solutions, as well as a range of reliable flexographic presses, digital printers and label converting machinery. To discuss your requirements, please get in touch with one of our service team by calling 01949 836 223, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Label printing industry trends are discussed in further detail in our free e-book How To Stay Ahead In The Label Printing Industry. Click here to claim your copy.