Omnilabel exponentially increases their productivity
Omnilabel, a major label printing specialist in the Netherlands, was Durst’s first customer to install the Tau 150 Label Press in 2010 with a view to opening up new market potential with digital label production. The Tau 150 has accounted for 60% of Omnilabel's increase in turnover over the past four years.
Combined with rising demand, this necessitated an expansion of the production capacity. In December 2014 Omnilabel and Durst decided to intensify their collaboration by installing the Tau 330 digital UV Inkjet Label Press with Jumbo roll units.
Michiel Smudde: “The Tau 330 enables us to expand into new, interesting market segments with new products.”
New market segments, new applications
Omnilabel has a large customer base with diverse label specification and print run requirements. Most jobs have to be delivered within three days. There is an increasing demand for small and medium production lot sizes in the highest print quality and with added-value such as variability and versioning. Quality, flexibility and very fast delivery are of great significance to the Omnilabel organisation.
Applications at Omnilabel range from smaller and mid-range runs for industrial and safety labels to labels for the electronics and automotive industry, fashion, drinks, body and health care, household products, the chemical and paint industries, printing on blank die-cut labels and printing of variable data jobs including sequential numbering, text, images, barcodes, matrix codes and QR codes. As regards new applications in packaging, from 40 micron, the company can now print on packaging material, especially blister foils.
Blister foils for packaging
"The new Tau 330 enables us to develop our core competence with a greater focus on digital production," stated Michiel Smudde, Managing Director of Omnilabel BV in Dalfsen. "In addition to its excellent print quality, the Tau 330 is equipped with a number of interesting features, including an integrated cooling roller for the processing of thin, heat-sensitive materials such as aluminium foils for blister packs. This will help us develop new business models in the future."
Omnilabel is now able to print on the Tau 330 using Durst's new Tau Low Migration Inks for primary food packaging produced by Sunjet. The used substances of the Tau Low Migration Inks comply with European Printing Ink Association (EUPIA) guidelines, the Swiss Ordnance for Materials and Nestlé Packaging Inks Specifications. This ink increases the production range of the Durst Tau 330 to include unsupported foils for specialty packaging applications such as blister packs, yogurt pot lids and many other applications.
Michiel Smudde: "This is a highly significant feature for us as demonstrated, for example, by the new blister foils for food packaging for Unilever marketing department. We already print packaging orders for health products on their behalf, but with the low migration inks we can also include food products."
He continued: "The 330 mm maximum width of the Tau 330 enables us to move into primary packaging. Bearing in mind that this will be a highly profitable market, with figures increasing by 12 to 14% annually (as opposed to 2 – 3% for labels), we have already set up a new, digital packaging division and appointed a dedicated sales representative."
The integrated inert gas system also reduces the typical odours of UV inkjet printers, thus complying with the low odour print production requirements of the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Competencies focused on digital production
The Omnilabel management (Mark Eshuis, Ingrid Smudde-Eshuis and Michiel Smudde) decided to invest in the Durst Tau 330 as an additional production facility, i.e. the Tau 150 is staying in place. Michiel Smudde explained that there is still a lot of scope for Omnilabel in sizes up to 150 mm wide. "We can still use the Tau 150 for this type of work. The Tau 330 enables us to expand into new, interesting market segments involving new products. Obviously we are still very active in the larger – adhesive and/or non-adhesive – label segment, but there are some very viable opportunities in the packaging sector. Using the Durst Tau 330 Omnilabel is able to meet this demand and deliver the requested products in the desired number and quality, promptly and profitably."
Michiel Smudde added: "Despite the extensive range of market solutions on offer, Omnilabel once again opted for Durst and decided to invest in the Tau 330, as this printing system features an impressive range of applications and an outstanding print quality of 1260 dpi. The resolution is much better than in flexo or screen printing and customers are asking for it. Moreover, Durst's operational and service competencies were also crucial factors, which made Omnilabel decide not to go for the lower priced products offered by some competitors."
Speeding up productivity
Michiel continued: "The new Tau 330 enables us to develop our core competence with a greater focus on digital production. In addition to the excellent print quality and speed, the new Jumbo roll winder/unwinder will speed up production even more, facilitating uninterrupted print production and faster job changes."
This large roll unwinder/rewinder can handle rolls of ø 1000 mm diameter or roll lengths up to 4000 linear meters for material widths up to 330 mm. To support this speed the system incorporates automated motorised loading and unloading of heavy rolls with a built-in roll lifter. Furthermore, a built-in splice table facilitates easy and fast roll changes. The system is equipped with a servo drive to feed material in both directions.
Michiel Smudde explained why the production speed has become 3 times faster in relation to the Tau 150, while printing labels smaller than 150 mm wide. "Because the print width is twice the width of the Tau 150, we are already able to place two maximum 150 mm wide labels side by side on the Tau 330. Moreover, the Jumbo unwinder/rewinder facilitates uninterrupted printing for much longer roll lengths – 4,000 instead of 2,000 running meters. With the Jumbo winder/rewinder in place we have a factor of 4 less stops in production. A certain amount of time is lost each time the machine stops, which is why this feature saves us a great amount of time. When the system runs it prints very smoothly and precisely, even with two smaller rolls of labels side by side - another reason to opt for this machine. As a result overall production is approximately 3 times faster than what we could achieve with the Tau 150, which is already fast! This means a 25% lower production cost to print the same volume."
He added: "Although Omnilabel does a lot of work in the range up to 2,500 running meters, there's also considerable potential in the range between 2,500 and 10,000 running meters. That's why both machines are more than welcome as far as we're concerned."
Durst specifically developed CMYK inks for the Tau UV Inkjet printing systems. Omnilabel opted for extra White on the Tau 330. Michiel Smudde explained: "Almost 50% of our labels are transparent so we first print white on them. The Durst Tau runs at the same speed to print white, thus avoiding loss of time. Moreover, similar to other colours, the white dries immediately which again prevents time loss whilst overprinting white during a second step."
There have been many developments in paper and cardboard for digital printing in recent years, but Omnilabel employees regularly attend training organised by suppliers. A wide range of standard materials can now be applied without expensive, time consuming preparation or drying and finishing process steps. The Tau systems deliver constant print quality throughout the entire production run, from the first to the last label. The option to repeat orders makes it possible to replicate all parameters without long preparation cycles.
Compared to conventional flexo print techniques, which Omnilabel is still using for very large or one or two colour runs, the Tau is simple and easy to handle. The optional Variable Data Print module (VDP) makes it possible to create individual labels, varying in number or colours.
Omnilabel serves approximately 650 customers in the Benelux and Germany. Since 2010 the company has acquired approximately 300 new customers for digital label printing on the Tau 150 printing system. Most clients aren't really bothered which printing system is used to produce their orders and don't notice any difference. Some comments relate to improved quality in terms of resolution and colour. Many are happy with the option of shorter runs, runs in different versions or with variable data, and now, with the Tau 330, with wider labels and packaging products in outstanding print quality.
Omnilabel also deals with a number of special clients including ACA in Eindhoven, which is managing the automation process for more than 600 fashion retail shops in the Benelux. Omnilabel supplies volumes of about 25 different – adhesive and non-adhesive – labels, produced from stock. From 1 March 2015 Omnilabel will continue these operations in a joint-venture with ACA.
Michiel Smudde concluded: "We execute our existing jobs with great care and attention to detail, but we are also constantly looking for new applications and products that will serve our customers even better."