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From Print to Cut

 

Wide Format Solutions Enable Label Production

 

By Cassandra Balentine

 

Part 1 of 2

 

Wide format print/cut solutions provide an excellent tool for producing short-run label work. Depending on volumes and application types, print service providers (PSPs) have many options.

 

“The great thing about using wide format to produce labels is that you can run long print jobs as wider widths, cutting down production time and costs,” suggests Michelle Johnson, marketing coordinator, Mutoh America, Inc.

 

Integrated print/cut solutions provide end-to-end automation and a one-step process for printing and cutting. Alternatively, print providers utilize existing standalone printing and cutting solutions, enabling separate print/cut workflows.

 

Integrated Solutions

For the end-to-end production of digital labels, integrated print-and-cut devices offer an attractive solution. These roll-fed solutions provide a high-quality print and inline contour cutting.

 

Among its repertoire of graphics arts solutions, Graphics One, LLC offers the EcoMax 44. The device offers a maximum printing and media width of 44 inches and high image resolution of up to 2,880 dpi. It features indoor and outdoor image quality and durability with the ability to fully utilize the company’s “green” SEPIAX direct-to-anything ink.

 

The company recently introduced at the International Sign Association’s expo the EcoColor PC36 Print-and-Cut device. The 36 inch device prints with four colors at 1,440 dpi. The integrated contour cutting capability cuts at speeds of up to 24 inches per second with 800 grams of cutting force.

 

The Mimaki USA, Inc. CJV30 Series offers an integrated print/cut solution. Ideal for the production of seals, labels, and vehicle markings the line is available in four different sizes. An automatic media clamp function enables substantial reduction of manual operations. The number of pinch rollers and their clamp pressures are set from the RIP software and pinch roller pressures automatically change according to media. Additionally, high precision contour cutting provides continuous crop mark detection. Users also benefit from the ability to work continuously unattended with the uninterrupted ink supply system. 

 

Roland DGA Corporation offers a variety of UV LED and metallic eco-solvent printer/cutters that are well suited for the label production.  All Roland printer/cutters feature integrated print/cut technology, which prints and contour cuts designs into complex shapes, all in one seamless workflow. Additionally, they come with specialty inks, VersaWorks RIP software, and automated maintenance features that minimize production time and costs, including advanced ink circulation systems that automatically keep heavier ink particles in white and metallic inks from settling in the lines.

 

The company’s UV LED print/cut products are offered in 30- and 54-inch widths. Roland’s VersaUV LEC series wide format inkjet printer/cutters are designed for short-run labeling applications, printing CMYK, white, and clear UV inks on a range of flexible label media, including vinyl, films, foils, BOPP, PE, PET, and offset label stock. Price points for the LEC series are $59,995 for the 30-inch LEC-330 and $68,995 for the 54-inch LEC-540. 

 

Roland’s eco-solvent printer line includes several models ideal for short-run label production, including SOLJET Pro 4, VersaCAMM VS series, and VersaStudio BN-20 metallic inkjet printer/cutters. These devices range in size from 20 to 64 inches wide; feature Eco-Sol MAX eco-solvent inks in CMYK, white and metallic silver; include VersaWorks RIP software; and are supported by color management solutions from CGS, EFI, and GMG. 

 

Pricing for these models are $29,995 for the 64-inch SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640; $23,995 for the 64-inch VersaCAMM VS-640; $19,995 for the 54-inch VersaCAMM VS-540; $16,495 for the 30-inch VersaCAMM VS-300; and $8,495 for the 20-inch VersaStudio BN-20.

 

Summa, Inc. DC4 is a complete wide format print-and-cut system. It includes ColorControl RIP + Cut software, power take-up rollers, media baskets, eight universal ribbon cassettes, a full set of CMYK ribbons, and a 54-inch by 50 yard roll of high-performance 3M Commercial Graphics media.

 

An Automated Cut

For those not requiring an integrated print-and-cut solution, wide format standalone automated cutters extend the capabilities of a print shop. With the addition of a separate cutting device and applicable software, the ability to produce contour-cut applications is possible.

 

GCC provides the Jaguar and Puma cutting plotters. The Jaguar family includes the Jaguar II and Jaguar IV series. With intuitive features, the series represents the apex of vinyl cutting plotter technology.

 

The Jaguar IV series features a standard Automatic-Aligning System to guarantee precise contour cutting by detecting the registration marks on digitally produced images. Selectable cutting forces range from zero to 600 grams to accommodate a variety of materials, including fine and thin masking films to thick and hard reflective films at up to 60 inches per second of cutting speed.

 

Powered by a digitally controlled servo system, the Puma III is a versatile machine with the ability to plot and cut without the need to alter the plotter’s mechanical configuration. For vector cutting, users install a blade holder. For plotting, a drawing or ballpoint pen is installed.

 

Gerber Scientific Products, Inc. (GSP) offers its Tempo 600, a friction-feed vinyl cutter bundle designed to meet the needs of the entry-level vinyl-cutting sign shop, or shops looking to add additional vinyl cutting capabilities. The 24-inch plotter is bundled with OMEGA CS software and is designed to have users up and running with a complete, reliable, affordable, and accurate vinyl cutting solution.

 

GSP’s enVision 750 is a 30-inch self-standing sprocket-feed plotter designed for everyday use while offering the ultimate in speed, reliability, and durability. The enVision series runs on OMEGA software, as well as most popular design software platforms supporting HP-GL. With ultra-precise tracking and simple material loading, the enVision series are the fastest sprocket-feed plotters on the market.

 

Mutoh offers two solutions suited for label production. The ValueJet 1324 eco-solvent printer is priced at $14,995 MSRP and a ValueCut 1300 cutter is priced at $4,995. Bundle prices start at $18,995 MSRP. Both the printer and cutter include software to run the respective machines.

 

Summa provides a range of wide format automated vinyl cutters. The SummaCut Series offers advanced S-Class cutting plotters, integrated into a newly designed drag knife cutting head. The cutters are capable of reading registration marks for counter cutting; not only on standard materials but also on reflective, holographic, or mirrored materials, as well as through many types of laminates.

 

The company also provides OPOS-CAM, the fourth generation of its OPOS contour cutting alignment system. The device is developed to increase workflow efficiency for contour cutting printed graphics including signs, labels, vehicle wraps, and decals. Using advanced camera optics technology combined with Summa’s intelligent CameraControl recognition software, OPOS-CAM delivers fast marker recognition specially suited to meet the demanding workloads of wide format graphics companies and inkjet printer manufacturers.

 

The Summa S Class cutters deliver a family of cutters designed for high-volume cutting of vinyl, reflective, sand-blast resistant, and precision contour cut labels. The Summa S Class D Series cutters incorporate cutting-edge internal electronics, 16 megabytes of processing and re-plot RAM, three powerful digital servomotors, and the third generation of the OPOS X contour cutting alignment system. The Summa S Class T Series offers advanced computer-controlled blade rotation and up to 600 grams of cutting force. With a genuine tangential cutting head, S Class T Series have the cutting precision of a flatbed while providing the ease and high-speed of a roll-fed cutter.

 

Unlimited Potential

The move to digital label printing enables wide format PSPs to capitalize on narrow format businesses, without the need for a million dollar investment. Designed for ease-of-use, print-and-cut and automated standalone contour cutters enable the move into a new direction with huge profit potential.


Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Apr2013, Digital Output DODL1304

 
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