According to general manager of NSI Label, Shawn Bezuidenhout, the postpress equipment running in today’s print shops probably won’t be a perfect fit
for finishing the work coming off digital presses. ‘Shorter runs with multiple configurations mean that equipment designed to be set up once and then left to run for thousands of pieces simply won’t be effective.’ He says shops that want to get serious about their digital printing workflows need finishing equipment designed to keep up with ever-changing work coming off the presses.
With over a decade in digital label printing equipment, NSI Label is a trusted supplier of some of the world’s leading labelling brands throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Its products include digital label printing and finishing equipment, barcode printers, metallic foil printers, label application equipment and a wide variety of label media in both sheet and roll formats.
Shawn says in recent times, a split has emerged between digital printers designed for print-for-pay (PFP) service providers versus those dedicated to print-for-use (PFU) end-users. Within the label industry, nearly all print-for-pay businesses are label converters, and small companies represent the core of the print-for-use market. Through this split, a key theme is emerging – digital printing technologies that are primarily targeted towards PFU users are growing.
‘We’re seeing many digital printers out in the market, but it’s impossible for a single blade finisher to keep up speed with some of these high-end printers, which creates a tremendous bottleneck. What you find is that a lot of these big digital machines get coupled with semi- or full-rotary analogue cutting devices. But once again, those devices aren’t suitable for runs smaller than 20 000. So, what does the little shop do that maybe needs to print 20 000 labels spread across seven variants? It’s impossible to meet that demand cost efficiently with current analogue equipment,’ states Shawn.
He believes the type of finishing coming from manufacturers is geared to be used in an all-in-one type of environment. When the finisher’s able to connect directly to the digital printing station it allows print service providers (PSPs) to manage the information between the two. ‘It’s about enabling intelligence in the finishing system. The job changeover can happen quite quickly. You also see finishing system manufacturers moving into multiple blade offerings.’
In collaboration with its partners in Asia, NSI Labels’ printing units are designed around the new Epson’s Precision Core core printers. Shawn describes the OKI Pro Series as versatile, professional production printers for full colour labels with impact. The OKI Pro 1040 and Pro 1050 are space-efficient, fitting comfortably on a desktop. Both machines can handle 130mm roll-to-roll production with print speeds up to 7m/min.
‘The OKI Pro 1050 is the only label printer in its class that offers customers a CMYK+W print option, making it ideal for striking prints on coloured and transparent materials,’ he remarks.
‘With robust, durable printing that’s waterproof and resistant to UV fading these units are perfect for industrial chemical labelling and asset tracking applications,’ comments Shawn.
NSI Label offers a broad range of roll-to-roll label finishing that pairs well with its roll-to-roll label printing options, which are designed to fill any customer’s requirement. The Virgo 14PL is an entry-level, compact and cost-efficient professional label finishing machine. The single cutting head can handle rolls up to 140mm wide and features lamination, waste removal and post converting. The Virgo 22PL can handle media roll widths up to 225mm with a single cutting head. The SimpleCut RTR is an economy model label cutting machine featuring waste removal as an added benefit, handling media rolls up to 320mm wide with its single cutting head. NSI Label’s Duoblade WS label finishing machine with its four cutting heads can maintain cutting speeds up to 10m/min and handle media rolls up to 340mm for cutting, waste removal, lamination and post converting.
‘This free-standing machine takes up a comparatively small footprint, which means it can integrate effortlessly in an existing label production environment where operating space is minimal,’ adds Shawn. ‘The Duoblade WX is the premium offering of the Duoblade range and boasts up to 12 digitally controlled cutting heads and can handle media rolls up to 350mm wide at a blistering pace of up to 10m/min.’
According to Shawn, the DPR Taurus represents the pinnacle of laser die-cutting globally. With its CO2 cutting head, it can handle roll widths up to 225mm at a rapid start-stop cutting speed of up to 30m/min in any direction. It can kiss cut, die cut, mark or perforate media in addition to lamination, waste removal, slitting and rewinding.
‘With our LabelSmart all-in-one solution you get the best of both worlds,’ he notes. ‘This technology powered by Epson’s Precision Core printhead technology was only released a couple of months ago for the packaging industry, so it’s really built for purpose and certified for most applications, such as chemical, cosmetics and food. It’s a real gamechanger.’
An all-in-one system allows PSPs to reduce their footprint. ‘We see a lot of businesses operating from home or from smaller locations. That’s most certainly going to have an impact in the packaging space. We’re already starting to see some of the bigger runs being moved over into digital because of the quick turnaround time. The more that businesses adopt digital, the lower the costs will become.’