Part 1 of 2
Digital printing presses cost-effectively handle shorter runs and multiple SKUs for label production. Label customers seek manufacturers who utilize this technology to achieve exacting color requirements.
Founded in 1969, Dion Label Printing uses digital technology to offer clients customized specialty labels. The company started as a family-owned business in a residential home and operated using flexographic printing capabilities.
Today, Dion Label Printing offers digital and flexographic printing in Westfield, MA with 80 employees in a 30,000 square foot facility. The company offers labels, pouches, shrink sleeves, tags, and tickets nationwide. It serves markets from beverage and food to household products and industrial environments.
“Dion Label Printing strives to elevate our customers’ brands through high-quality printed labels and packaging. From new brands to more established brands, our customers receive the same level of service,” says Ashley Obara, marketing manager, Dion Label Printing.
In 2005, Dion Label Printing entered the digital market with an HP, Inc. Indigo WS4050. Six months later, the company added another HP Indigo WS4050 to keep up with digital printing demands. “Our team was incredibly pleased with the color matching that digital provided along with the quality of print registration,” shares Obara.
With digital printing capabilities, Dion Label Printing provides clients with enhanced registration, clarity, resolution, and quality per label. Obara says customers can develop packaging concepts by reviewing label prototypes, managing product changes, and receiving proofs on the exact material and coatings as their label orders.
“Digital printing offers the capability to print with low minimum quantities and proves to be ideal for our customers with a high number of SKUs. Our craft beer customers have a high number of varieties with lower quantities per item during initial market testing. Digital printing allows us to switch between items effortlessly without plates or setup, which in turn is cost efficient for our customers,” explains Obara.
Since its installation of the Indigo WS4050, the company has upgraded its presses three additional times with the HP Indigo WS6000, WS6600, and WS6800. With its HP presses Dion Label Printing also uses HP brand inks.
The HP Indigo WS6800 prints up to 130 feet per minute in full color. It’s developed for digital labels and packaging production of any run length. The HP Indigo WS6800 handles images up to 12.59×38.58 inches and 0.5 to 18-point substrate thickness.
According to Obara, HP digital presses provide excellent print quality with dynamic quality control and supreme color consistency while the HP consumables pricing model makes job cost estimation predictable. “The extended color gamut printing capability of these HP presses allows us to serve our customers’ exact color requirements. HP also continues to be a strong print partner through customer service, training, and networking resources within the global digital printing community,” she offers.
Dion Label Printing currently offers a variety of labels for multiple industries including beauty, beer, beverage, food, health, household, industrial, medical, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, spirits, and wine.
When printing labels for food and beverage products, the manufacturer carefully reviews products to ensure the correct material combination is selected. It’s also important that labels maintain compliance with FDA regulations. For OTC pharmaceutical labels, Obara says some require an area for lot code or expiration date imprinting while others require a black light additive for security.
“Digital printing accounts for approximately 45 percent of our total revenue and 60 percent of our total process orders. Some customers have all of their labels printed digitally while others utilize both digital and flexographic printing,” she adds.
The company’s primary offering is prime labels with specialty constructions like tamper labels. It prints on various stocks including eco-friendly material constructions, films, holographic paper, metallic, and textured paper. It receives materials from several high-quality sources to ensure the best possible labels are produced.
For finishing digitally printed labels, a 13-inch Digicon digital finishing press from A B Graphic International Ltd. is used. According to Obara, the device runs continuously throughout the day for coating and die cutting of digital labels.
The manufacturer also utilizes a Label Traxx JDF Link to connect to prepress software including Automation Engine and HP SmartStream. “These tools are customized and automated to deliver both digital and conventional print files efficiently with minimal manual intervention after initial product development,” explains Brent Berthiaume, prepress manager, Dion Label Printing.
In 2017, new customer Terra Origin approached Dion Label Printing for 24 labels and packets. The client produces a holistic line of protein powders, vitamins, and supplements that promotes healthy life and longevity.
“We were introducing a new entrant into the nutraceutical category, so we were looking to deliver a disruptive packaging with strong shelf presence,” says Eric Fuller, VP marketing, Terra Origin. Each of the client’s product labels feature an organic logo centered on a cream background with metallic accents.
Dion Label Printing printed the labels on the HP Indigo WS6800 with metallic paper and matte lamination. The sample packets were also printed on the HP Indigo WS6800 using silver cosmetic web material. After laminating the labels, the print shop finished them with the Digicon finishing press.
“We wanted a premium look to our packaging to denote our use of premium, high quality, and natural ingredients, but also wanted to be welcoming and approachable,” explains Fuller.
By working with Dion Label Printing, the client explored different color combinations until achieving its desired result of earth tones combined with color splashes. The company also provided the client with various printed label options including foil and non-foil substrates and matte and gloss finishes.
The labels were printed on time for the client and were displayed at the 2017 Natural Products Expo East. During the job, Dion Label Printing worked closely with Terra Origin to confirm multiple changes based on feedback, proofing, color review, printing, and finishing.
According to Fuller, Terra Origin has received an overwhelming positive response to its new packaging. “We debuted Terra Origin at Expo East and our booth was situated alongside many brands including newcomers to the category as well as long established, premium brands. It took a special look and feel to breakthrough and we couldn’t be happier with the end result, which is delivering on our goal of a premium offering with strong shelf presence.”
Terra Origin continues to work with Dion Label Printing and places label orders between ten and 30,000 labels.
Label manufacturers that adopt digital printing capabilities provide brand owners with a variety of colors, sizes, and value-added features. Digitally printed custom labels are achieved with fast turnaround times, minimal material waste, and little to no setup.
The second part of this series includes a spotlight on another manufacturer working with digital printing technologies to produce labels.
Jan2018, Industrial Print Magazine