Page 39 - Print 21 Magazine Sep-Oct 2018
P. 39

Digital technology
Smart solution for entry-level labels
At this year’s Gallus Innovation Day, held in
St Gallen in June, Heidelberg unveiled the Gallus Smartfire: an entry-level inkjet press for digital labels, powered by Memjet print heads and including in-line finishing.
The Smartfire allows converters to get into the digital space without needing to invest in the high-end Labelfire. Michael Ring, head of digital solutions at Gallus, says the Smartfire is easy to use and an ideal starter model for digital labels. “With the Gallus Smartfire, we are focusing on new target groups
who are looking for a smart entry into digital label printing. The Memjet technology allows us to offer
an inkjet printing press that produces labels with
a quality of 1600×1600dpi while still keeping the investment costs at a low level,” he said.
The press prints in CMYK with food-safe ink, and, like other Gallus presses, also includes an in-line finishing unit with lamination, integrated cutting plotter, and semi-rotary die cutter. It has a compact footprint and a low power requirement, needing only a standard outlet, and its water-based ink means no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted during operation, removing the need for an exhaust system.
According to Dierk Wissmann, national sales manager for Gallus, Prinect and digital at Heidelberg Australia, the Smartfire opens up new options for Australian customers wanting to move into the digital label sector. “Now we have two digital label machines to choose from – the tried and tested Labelfire, with more than 20 sites now in operation, and the soon-to- be-released Smartfire, which already has some interest here in Australia,” he said.
Above: Gallus chiefs (l-r) Christof Naier, Head of Business Unit Label; Ferdinand Rüesch, Key Account Manager Label, Anchor Investor and Member of the Supervisory Board of Heidelberg; and Dierk Wissmann, National Sales Manager Label and Digital Solution - Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand.
Quality from start
The Gallus Labelfire combines digital printing with embellishment and inline finishing. The digital printing unit (DPU) in the middle is coupled with flexo, screen and cold foil units upstream and downstream, plus inline semi and full rotary die cutting.
According to Dierk Wissmann, national sales manager for Gallus, Prinect and digital at Heidelberg Australia, the DPU is capable of printing at high speed and high quality in seven colours plus white. “The DPU prints using Fujifilm Samba heads at a native 1200 x 1200dpi resolution, with a speed of 50 linear metres per minute no matter how many colours are used,” he said. “Its upstream and downstream capabilities, combined with the digital printing unit, makes it a powerful production device based on a single pass platform.
“What amazes the customer is that jobs that used to take two weeks to print can be done in seven hours, which demonstrates the potential
of the Labelfire.”
“We wanted a system where we could print all the different types of labels we do, one pass and it’s done.” – Paul McCullum
The digital front end is Heidelberg’s own Prinect software, as used on the company’s other presses. “Prinect DFE is based on the Heidelberg professional prepress workflow with the same colour management, screening
and rendering technology that our traditional Heidelberg customers have been using successfully for many years,” said Wissmann.
Heidelberg has seen plenty of interest in the Labelfire since it
was unveiled at Labelexpo 2015,
not only in the Australian and New Zealand markets, but around the globe. “Worldwide, the install base
of the Labelfire has doubled in the 2017-18 financial year. For the first time, Heidelberg is installing three machines at different sites at the same time,” said Wissmann. “At the moment we have three customers with two machines each already, and three more customers are looking at purchasing a second machine as we speak.”
Supporting through the learning curve
The Labelfire is still new technology, and McCullum admits there have been a few teething problems with the installation. “We did expect to have a few technical glitches,” he said. “If you put a conventional press in, within three or four days it is up and running and you are training. This was a much longer process – it will probably be about six months before we are fully conversant.”
That said, McCullum has been happy with the service he has received from Heidelberg since the installation. “You cannot fault Heidelberg. The service staff are more than helpful – they go out of their way to support you. We have 24-hour online support where they
can access the machine remotely and troubleshoot any problems that come up.
For Heidelberg’s part, Wissmann acknowledges the glitches, but is confident they will be ironed out quickly, and – with Dragon’s help – the experience will help the supplier deliver better service in the future. “As it is a new installation, there still are some settling in issues, but we are at the finish line of getting our ducks in a row and we are gaining more and more experience with the two installations we now have in the field," he said.
The Gallus Labelfire is highly specified as an all-in-one printer system. The strengths of UV digital printing combine with inline finishing processes that have been specially optimised for digital printing enable the Labelfire to varnish, embellish and further process labels inline, at the speed of flexographic printing.
The high physical resolution of
the inkjet heads offers advantages, particularly when it comes to small symbols and characters as well as
fine lines and gradients down to zero percent. The smallest droplet size in the printing industry to date results in smooth, satin-finished surfaces, improved ink adhesion and curing and minimal ink consumption. The combination of digital white, CMYK, the colour space enlargement colours orange, violet and green, as well as seven-colour separation mean the Labelfire press system covers a large portion of the Pantone colour space. 21

   37   38   39   40   41