Digital Printing – Expanding Capabilities
Adding digital printing capabilities has opened up a whole new set of possibilities for solving customer problems, but sometimes physical size limitations still can get in the way. Then again, a digital press is not like an analog press; thinking differently may provide an opportunity to transcend physical limitations allowing for new ways of doing things you never could have imagined before.
Although our HP Indigo digital press is a packaging press designed primarily for cartons and labels, its variable print capabilities provides opportunities for a number of short-run print opportunities including banners or point of purchase displays. A customer shared with us a problem they had with a display header that they were having screen printed. The graphics on the display are made up of a variety of well-know OTC product logos which often change depending on which provider’s product is being promoted. In the past they had to order higher quantities than what they wanted because of the high set-up costs associated with screen printing, but then had to throw a lot of the inventory because of the frequent changes made to the various OTC product logos. Using a digital press would have the advantage of quicker set up times so they could order fewer at any single time. The only problem was that the header sizes were 36” and 48”- and only the smaller of the two sizes would fit in our press cut-off point.
Each 48 “display header has 16 OTC product logos evenly spaced across the length of the piece. The background is a solid color with the customer logo in the middle. By setting the repeat at half the length of the header we were able to create a full 48” strip. It was then just a matter of using variable data to drop in the logos at their predetermined locations. Although this operation was technically more complex than space allows, the short of it is that we were able to handle both sized headers including one that exceeded our equipment cut off point by over 12”. This would be like adding a “sheet extender” to a 40” litho press to run a 56” press sheet. There is no such thing as a “sheet extender” although I would love it if it existed.
The final product delivered was printed more consistently and at a higher resolution than what the customer had previously received. They were able to cut back on their order quantity and save money while reducing inventory and obsolescence. This example proves that with our skilled technicians and digital print technology, we can produce products that we never thought possible before.