Automation is driving the next wave of labeling equipment

When Labelexpo Americas 2022 arrives in September, guests will have the opportunity to see how much label and packaging printing technology has changed over the past four years – when the last show was held in 2018. Automation has become a hallmark of so many manufacturers as they strive to improve label converting efficiency and help printers meet today’s myriad challenges.

Automation can help accomplish many tasks, from reducing waste to addressing the labor challenge facing industry today. The challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic, supply chain constraints, “The Great Resignation,” and more.

Manufacturers work diligently to ensure that the latest equipment can meet the specific needs of their customers. Prati, for example, has optimized its DIGIFASTone product line to meet the demands of the “present future”. Maintenance has also become automated.

“These challenges have accelerated the trend towards more automation and intelligent machines capable of handling a wide range of applications and end-customer needs,” explains Chiara Prati, CEO and CSO, Prati Company. “In addition, Prati’s remote training support and remote control system is a great boost to allow our customers to stay in touch with us and be guided step by step during installation and remote training of their new machines by our experienced in-house technology team.”

Based on Futura technology, DIGIFASTone includes laser cutters and custom digital finishing groups, such as tactile effects and textures, decorations and textures up to 130μm, braille and more, to better help this generation’s label converters with solutions that meet industry requirements. 4.0. DIGIFASTone is fully modular and available in SD or DS configurations.

To enable just-in-time printing and finishing, Prati’s digital finishing uses DOD LED/UV printheads. With a speed of 50 m/m, the converters are capable of selective UV coating even at high thicknesses. In addition, the full version is already available with the foil application for a fully digital “cold gold” and “hot gold” effect. According to Prati, this printing technique allows a limited investment and reduces processing costs.

“We are very close to the market and to the customers, and we adapt to their requirements with our tailor-made solutions,” explains Prati. “All our machines are configured to the specific needs of our customers and it is rare that two machines are identical. Based on a modular concept, each module can operate completely independently. Whatever the need of our customers to have or upgrade to include a new processing function, a dedicated module is integrated without excessive costs. The company’s motto is “Standardize the Customization” and perfectly reflects our pro-customer working philosophy. »

This modular concept, which offers customers upgrade capabilities, allows them to protect their initial investment and adapt to all market conditions with Futura technology. This range is designed to simplify the work of operators and increase their safety – while serving the brand.

DIGIFASTone generates a very low amount of waste, reduces set-up times and displays a registration accuracy of 0.15 mm, even reaching 100 m/m in the configuration with laser cutting. DIGIFASTone is available with various accessories and can perform a range of functions. These include buffering for connection to a digital printing machine and in-register rotary and semi-rotary die-cutting on pre-printed material. Longitudinal cutting systems with manual and automatic blade positioning are achievable, as is single, double and turret rewind. In addition, a control module for 100% print quality inspection is available.

The digital finishing unit, designed to generate high levels of productivity, can be built with a single printhead for ink thicknesses up to 250 microns at a speed of 25 m/m, or with a double print head for thicknesses up to 280 microns at a speed of 50 m/m.

The DIGIFASTone Laser module is also capable of processing the entire workflow completely digitally, from PDF to shipping, ensuring what Prati says is a single workflow for a truly digital model: web-to- labeling, web-to-sticker, web-to-packaging.

“Among the advantages of using DIGIFASTone with the optional laser are the ultra-fast delivery times and high productivity thanks to the change of work thanks to the automatic reading of barcodes / QR codes”, says the society. “Furthermore, the laser can process detailed cut shapes, without any contact with substrates, working on strong adhesives without damaging the backing – and there is no limit to label length. And, most importantly, laser cutting ensures a completely digital workflow, from design to delivery, for a highly efficient and truly digital business model.

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