By Olivia Cahoon
With digital printing capabilities, the possibilities for brand owners and industrial markets are seeming endless for label and packaging applications, enabling variability, short runs, and faster turnarounds. Both traditional converters and digital print providers look to the latest label printing systems to enable innovation with creativity and efficiency.
Above: TLP is an industrial label printer and converter headquartered in Menomonee Falls, WI.
Established in 1984, Tailored Label Products, Inc. (TLP) is an industrial label printer and converter headquartered in Menomonee Falls, WI. The company operates a manufacturing facility in Suwanee, GA and a distribution center in Monterrey, Mexico.
With over 130 employees, TLP offers converting, die cutting, flexographic, digital, and screenprinting services with an international outreach. Its Menomonee Falls facility houses 55,000 square feet of workspace.
TLP takes pride in its commitment to label and die-cut adhesive needs. Its facilities use a quality management system that is ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949:2016 certified. ISO 9001:2015 is acknowledged as the fundamental quality management system while IATF 16949:2016 defines the requirements for organizations in the automotive industry.
With these certifications, the shop offers improved on-time delivery, reduced defects and waste, and enhanced product process quality with tools like failure mode effects analysis.
In addition to label products, TLP offers in-house design and testing capabilities. The TLP Quality & Engineering Lab integrates throughout the product development process and is positioned to solve many label and adhesive challenges. Its compliance to the automotive industry’s exacting demands brings additional benefits to all TLP clients including color consistency, design and process reviews, durability tests, engineering analyses, exact measurements, and thorough documentation.
TLP introduced digital printing equipment to its label production operation in 2015. “Our customers require much shorter run quantities and shorter lead times,” shares Lindsey Muchka, senior marketing manager, TLP.
When the label provider first considered investing in digital printing technology, it looked for durable inks and the ability to consistently match spot colors on an array of substrates. Shortly after, TLP selected the Fujifilm North America Corporation Graphium UV inkjet hybrid press designed for durable labels and specialty print. “We had high confidence with the Fujifilm team in supporting us after the purchase,” offers Muchka.
Graphium’s digital ink allows converters to move from screen or flexography to digital for the first time. The press prints up to 13,240 square feet per hour with up to 1,080 dpi. It handles paper from 13.8 to 16.9 inches including cast-coated, coated, high-gloss, metalized, thermal, and uncoated materials.
With the Graphium press, the company operates under a hybrid environment that augments digital, flexographic, and screen printing technologies. “Even without the digital print it’s a good flexographic press with full laminating and converting capabilities inline,” adds Muchka.
By investing in digital printing technology, TLP increased service offerings. “It has opened doors for us such as on boarding programs with high SKU counts. We can do so without plate charges,” shares Muchka.
Compared to alternative technologies, Muchka believes digitally printing labels provides shorter lead times, reduced makeready times, and less material usage. In addition it has allowed them to attract and retain younger talent.
In the next few years, Muchka sees TLP adding more digital technology as well as automation to its press room. “All of which will help us reduce costs and add more value for our clients.”
The company currently offers a variety of labels, tags, and prototypes for industrial manufacturers. Examples of custom applications include die cut adhesives, digital labels, dome labels, harsh environment labels, industrial prototypes, medical and laboratory labels, protective masking labels, regulatory labels, shipping labels, and supply chain compliance labels.
For labels that must withstand harsh environments, TLP delivers durable options. As some specialty materials are difficult to work with, the company creates new configurations and processes that exploit their unique properties.
TLP harsh environment labels provide maximum resistance to factors such as abrasion, acetone, chemicals and solvents, extreme heat and cold, hydraulic fluid, isopropyl alcohol, low surface energy plastics, powder coat paint, UV, and water. These labels are ideal for aerospace, alternative energy, appliance, automotive, biomedical, electronics, and outdoor power equipment markets.
Recently, an industrial OEM approached TLP to incorporate new regulatory guidelines to its branding and instructional labels. The repeat client requested new labels across its entire family of products.
“Due to the sheer quantity of labels and variations, the sales cycle to production parts was lengthy,” explains Muchka. “Because the versioning we’ve seen on this family of labels, we knew the digital press was the best fit.”
Using the Fujifilm Graphium press, TLP ran 40,000 square feet of labels inline, back-to-back, without stopping or starting the press. No setup times or plate changes occurred either.
According to Muchka, digital technology improved TLP’s efficiency for exactly these types of jobs. “Materials, sizes, and tooling remains the same, but imagery and text is changing on demand via the digital heads.
Grow With Technology
TLP is an industrial label converter and printer that recognizes the benefits digital print technologies can offer label production, including expanded color gamut, increased speed, and new applications.
With the right technology and expertise, digital label printing and finishing solutions provide a significant opportunity for those looking to make the investment.
Feb2020, Industrial Print Magazine