The label market is one of the printing industry’s biggest growth segments. The dynamic growth in demand for digitally printed labels in particular continues unabated. Following the global market launch of the Gallus Labelfire 340 digital label press – a joint development by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and Gallus based on leading inkjet technology from Fujifilm –, series production is now getting off to a successful start at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site. Initial customers of the new series presses include several companies from the United States.
Heidelberg produces the digital inkjet print engine of the Labelfire in Wiesloch-Walldorf. The company’s entire digital printing portfolio will also be manufactured here in the future. The base unit of the new press is made by Swiss subsidiary Gallus at its German production site in Langgöns. The system is designed to meet growing demand for the cost-effective production of short, medium, and versioned label runs.
“The requirements related to quality, flexibility, and speed are getting even more demanding in label production,” says Stephan Plenz, member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Equipment. “With the Gallus Labelfire, we’re leading our customers into the digital future with the growing label market. The considerable interest confirms we’ve adopted the right approach,” he adds.
Well-known U.S. label print shops order further presses
Following numerous orders from Europe and Australia, Heidelberg and Gallus are now also enjoying success in the key American market. Info Label from Clifton Park in New York is getting the first Gallus Labelfire 340 supplied to a label print shop in the United States. The company’s President, Mark Dufort, took a look at the first demonstration press at the Digital Label Forum in Heidelberg and then at Gallus in St. Gallen. “By investing in the Gallus Labelfire 340, we’re offering our customers outstanding quality combined with shorter delivery times at lower costs,” he explains.
Another U.S. customer – Hub Labels from Hagerstown in Maryland – has also signed up for the new Gallus Labelfire 340 digital label press. Its first glimpse of the machine was at Labelexpo Europe 2015 in Brussels and the scheduled delivery date is fast approaching.
Thomas Dahbura, President of Hub Labels, has the following to say about the press: “This is the first digital press I’ve seen that can do exactly what I expect it to. It integrates all steps from the reel to the finished label in a single production pass – whether digital or flexographic printing, cold-foil printing or die cutting. I was impressed by how much effort Gallus and Heidelberg put into ensuring this system was a success. Although we’ve already seen other presses with an excellent resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, this one is simply unbeatable with its resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi.”
Digital printing drives change in the growth segment
The new Gallus Labelfire 340 digital printing system has been designed for the self-adhesive labels market. The global print volume for these labels is growing by about 4 percent a year. Although nearly 5 percent of this volume is printed digitally, this figure is rising rapidly with up to double-digit growth rates. Indeed, digital printing is driving change in this highly promising market segment. It is anticipated that, in the medium term, just under half of the presses sold in this sector will be digital. By launching this new technology, Heidelberg and Gallus are actively shaping change in the business models used in this segment and offering users a versatile and cost-effective solution.
The entire digital printing portfolio, together with the offset systems from Heidelberg, can be integrated into a print shop’s overall workflow using the new Prinect Digital Frontend (DFE). Web-to-print applications and multi-channel publishing business models are also supported. In this way, Heidelberg is making the smart print shop a reality, enabling users to largely automate their offset and digital printing processes and control these in a standardized, transparent way. The medium-term goal is for digital business to account for around 10 percent of Heidelberg Group sales.