HP announced commercial availability of a high-volume digital press that helps consumer packaged goods makers, product marketers and other product brand owners increase their marketing effectiveness and reduce costs and environmental impact across their product label supply chains.
The new HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press’s combination of speed, size format and streamlined digital workflow offers distinct advantages over conventional analog printing of labels, shrink sleeves and other packaging materials.
The high-volume, high-quality digital press helps brand owners make their manufacturing supply chains more cost-effective by significantly reducing time to market and waste from obsolescence. In addition, label and packaging converter businesses that serve brand owners can reduce make-ready waste while offering enhanced efficiency to their customers by moving production to a just-in-time environment that diminishes warehousing and inventory needs.
“HP is unlocking lean manufacturing benefits for consumer packaged goods makers in addition to offering a competitive cost per label,” said Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, Indigo division, HP. “Building on the success of the market-leading digital label press, the HP Indigo ws4500, the new WS6000 model offers a combination of quality, fast turnaround and flexibility that will enable our customers to pursue new revenue opportunities.”
The HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press prints at 98 feet per minute (30 meters per minute) in four-color mode, and is compatible with a broad range of media – from thinner flexible packaging substrates, to label and shrink sleeve media, to folding carton material. The press is designed to be more cost-effective than the traditional flexographic printing process used in label and packaging production for jobs up to 13,000 linear feet (4,000 linear meters), a figure that represents approximately 80 percent of label jobs.
“Over the past few years, digital printing has fast become a new mainstream printing process for short-run, profitable label production. With the introduction of the new HP Indigo WS6000, digital printing is moving to a higher profitability, medium-run, high-performance industrial label press operation,” said analyst Mike Fairley, director of strategic development for Tarsus Expositions and Publishing’s Label Group. “The WS6000 would seem to be a converters’ ideal production solution in today’s cost-competitive world.”
Label converters now installing the HP Indigo WS6000 are experiencing new production opportunities to transition manufacturing from traditional flexography to digital for greater efficiencies. HP Indigo presses are the only digital label and packaging solutions that use true PANTONE-licensed spot-color inks, and they are the only digital label and packaging presses offering four-, six- and seven-color PANTONE-licensed spot color emulation, giving converters the ability to meet their customers’ demanding brand color standards.
HP Indigo presses, which are already widely used in the label converting industry, meet or exceed brand owners’ stringent quality needs. In the past two years, labels printed on HP Indigo presses have earned best-in-show honors in industry quality competitions that also judged entries printed on flexographic and offset presses. With the proven quality and higher productivity now offered, converters’ capabilities with the new HP Indigo WS6000 are drawing increased attention from leading consumer packaged goods firms.
“The HP Indigo WS6000 is a real ‘game changing’ technology. With frequent artwork changes and high SKU complexity, this digital technology can dramatically reduce the speed to market for labels and other printed packaging materials,” said Michael Ferrari, associate director, Corporate Research and Development, The Procter & Gamble Company. “As more label and packaging converting work goes digital, companies like P&G can enhance the consumer experience by efficiently bringing a greater variety of designs to store shelves, ensuring that more consumers are aware of a given product’s benefits and qualities.”
Designed for high-volume production approaching the level of printing done on flexographic presses, the HP Indigo WS6000’s larger 38.58-inch (980 mm) repeat length permits greater productivity and lower costs per label. New HP Indigo Print Care offerings on the WS6000 model help users gain remarkable uptime through advanced diagnostics, troubleshooting and remote communication tools.
The press uses the HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Print Server, powered by EskoArtwork, which leverages industry-leading workflow technology for efficient file processing and outstanding color capabilities while enabling production processes such as step-and-repeat and variable-data imaging.
The HP Indigo WS6000 enables the affordable production of multiple SKUs for products, a key strategic advantage in retail marketing. With multi-SKU marketing, product brand owners can employ more diversity in the range of designs used on products, catering to a wider range of consumers’ distinct tastes.
The first North American firm to install the press, Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS) of Hamilton, Ohio, is substantially growing its business by offering higher-volume, high-quality labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons that enable all levels of consumer product manufacturers to affordably and effectively market their brands.
“Because it is more cost-effective than flexo on such a wide range of work, the number of companies that can take advantage of digital has gone up four- or fivefold with the WS6000,” said Jay Dollries, president and chief executive officer, Innovative Labeling Solutions. “The press not only gives all brand owners the ability to increase sell-through rates with different, compelling graphics for each flavor or variety of a product, it enables midtier firms to compete more effectively on the shelf with photographic-quality labels they might otherwise find too expensive to print using flexography.”
The Stratus Packaging Group, Europe’s leading producer of labels and flexible packaging materials, is also among the first companies to install the HP Indigo WS6000. The press has been installed at Stratus’s digital production center in Martin de Limoges, France, and is being used to offer advanced services, such as versioning and fast-turnaround production.
“The volume of digital print runs has been increasing constantly for three years,” said Isidore Leiser, president, Stratus Packaging Group. “The new production capacities of the HP Indigo WS6000, combined with the traditional high quality of the HP Indigo presses that we already have, immediately appealed to us and allow us to meet our customers’ needs even better.”
Digital presses offer a significant, additional advantage over traditional flexographic printing by virtue of their ability to print different images with every impression, as opposed to repeating the static images engraved on printing plates. In the labels and packaging industry, this capability enables one-step bar code serialization, where each label or package carries a unique identifier that enables distribution tracking and helps thwart product diversion and counterfeiting.
“Track and trace” serialization is especially useful in pharmaceutical label manufacturing. Some national and state governments around the world are already scheduled to mandate track and trace for prescription drug packaging in the next few years.
Gurnee, Ill.-based Nosco, a leading provider of secure pharmaceutical labels and packaging, is producing serialized drug labels, folding cartons and blister packs on its new HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press. This offers the advantages of digital to a broader set of customers that only used flexography before because of volume demands.
“The WS6000 is a highly productive digital printing device for packaging, significantly changing the game by allowing digital to move from short- to medium-run quantities,” said R. Craig Curran, director of strategic initiatives, Nosco. “We are able to gain new business and significantly grow our digital printing operation.”
More information about the HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press is available at http://www.hp.com/go/labels.