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So you want to shift to digital label printing? Here’s how to prepare …

Labels So you want to shift to digital label printing? Here’s how to prepare …


by Danny Mertens

Not surprisingly, digital has a number of advantages over flexographic printing – great quality at an affordable cost (no printing plates required), both for printers and clients, and more flexibility, to name just two.

The digital label printing press has taken the world by storm as an economically viable way to do a variety of label printing jobs.

Still, switching from analogue to digital may seem daunting for some printers. Rest assured though, if you prepare the implementation process well, there is little to be afraid of. To help, here’s a step by step guide on how to prepare for a smooth transition.

Step 1: determining the printing jobs for your digital press

Before making the investment, it is advisable to do some market research. Which jobs are you planning on carrying out with your new digital press? There are a number of options: sa, in-mold, heat transfer labeling, tags, …

When you have decided on how to make your new press to good use, it’s time to think about your clients. Who are they and where are they heading? Are you working for them directly or are you targeting resellers? Also, in what line of business are your clients active? Health and beauty labels, for instance, require a one-pass opaque white that is printed in a productive, consistent and affordable way. Not every press is up for that task. The same can be said for wine and spirit labels.

If your clients are mostly resellers, your unique selling proposition is probably pricing, rather than added value. Your new digital press might be the perfect reason to explore new grounds and penetrate new markets. Try to think about why you are missing out on certain types of business. Does your sales team need to refocus, or are your current presses simply not up for the job?


Try to think about why you are missing out on certain types of business.

Step 2: making a volume plan

Now that you know who your clients are and what they want from you, it’s time to start talking numbers. What are the volumes you are currently producing and what are your ambitions for the future? Remember that one of the biggest benefits of digital label printing is the ability to produce limited quantities with maximum custom variations at a very low cost! Analyzing volumes, can you distinguish any trends? When you group together, for example, the volume distribution with the total number of jobs, what is your conclusion? Has the demand for complex full color labels increased in recent years?

Step 3 : overcoming the barriers

The final step will help you overcome any barriers you see today when shifting from flexographic to digital printing. There may be internal or external issues complicating the implementation process. For example, staff members may lack knowledge of digital printing, in which case you will need to attract trained workers or rely on your digital press supplier and hope he has the experience to help you quick start the business. Or your clients may have certain expectations or predispositions with regard to digital printing. In any case, it’s important that you inform both groups sufficiently so any objections may be removed prior to moving to production.

Here’s a run down of what you learned:

  • Think about which printing jobs you want to acquire with your digital printing press.
  • A volume plan will help distinguish certain trends you can use to make informed business decisions.
  • Overcome any inhibitions that may hinder a smooth transition from flexographic to digital printing.

As you can probably tell by now, shifting from analogue to digital printing doesn’t have to be a complicated, longwinded process. All it takes is a change in focus and perspective. When implemented correctly digital printing is nothing short of spectacular. To sum up, here’s how one of our clients puts it:

The system offers the right quality at a constant speed.

"The overall investment was a lot more attractive compared to other systems, and there is no cost-per-click involved. Plus, it is a ‘green machine’, as it uses more environmentally friendly toners."

Jack Willemsz, managing director w&r etiketten

Are you thinking about going digital?