Print-and-cut devices are ideal for label production in both consumer and industrial markets. Each segment benefits from the capabilities of wide format digital in their own ways. On the consumer side, personalization is a big draw. Industrial markets look for shorter runs and quick turnarounds.
In either scenario, an end-to-end system with not only print capabilities but finishing provides efficient label creation. “For label production in particular, the ability to print, cut, and also perforated cut the graphic inline means you can focus on other aspects of your business while production is completely unattended,” explains Eric Zimmerman, product manager, Roland DGA Corporation.
Royce Owen, director of marketing, Summa, Inc., agrees, explaining that many output providers are sole owners or small businesses with a few employees, with limited shop space and minimal investment capital. “These businesses generally seek highly versatile equipment with the smallest footprint and price tag possible, which is why integrated print/cut technology is all the rage with startup shops and small companies just getting into the industry,” he continues.
Short runs, quick turnaround times, and personalization are benefits of digital print. “The ability to offer short-run and custom labels, with all the unique effects made possible by clear, white, and metallic inks, provides a valuable service to customers who otherwise would have to pay much more for the same product if analog printing processes were involved,” shares Zimmerman.
Specifically, the consumer space is influenced by personalization requests. Stickers with a child’s name to adhere on a lunch box or folder; a decal used to personalize a wine bottle for a special event—these are all viable options when it comes to printing with digital versus analog.
For the industrial market, shorter, customized runs are attractive to print buyers looking to minimize stock on shelves. Also, one offs and prototyping possibilities are important considerations. These buyers require quick turnarounds.
The investment in a wide format print-and-cut device factors into how rapidly a business adopts the device into its shop and existing printing practices. Price point determines affordability. Many wide format printers are out of reach for smaller shops, but print-to-cut devices are attainable.
“For the consumer market, you do not need to purchase the fast machine, but the suitable machine. You might need to calculate your job loading and choose one suitable machine. For the industrial market, we suggest purchasing for speed since throughput is everything for this market,” says Sandy Shih, product manager, GCC.
While the initial cost provides a barrier to entry, customers pay a premium for customization. “Although the per-label costs for short and custom runs may be a bit higher than for volume production, you can charge accordingly, making wide format a great profit center for your business,” recommends Zimmerman.
A Wide Influence
Label printing is one application that provides a fast return. The popularity on both the consumer and industrial levels means label printing, and more importantly the effectiveness of print-and-cut devices, is not disappearing anytime soon.
As Shih points out, in a print on demand world, there is simply more small volume printing needs. If one print shop can finish a job within a day because of its printer/cutter and the other shop needs three days to farm out the finishing aspect, which shop will the customer choose?
Servicing different markets with one device is a sure way to gain on the competition in the print space. In the next part of this series, we look at some of the newest wide format print-and-cut devices used in label creation.