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Digital Printing

Digital Printing

Digital printing allows us to manufacture medium to short runs of high quality labels at an extremely competitive price. How do we do it? Repacorp has invested in a digital press that does not use plates—thus no plate charges!  And we invested in a tool-free digital cutting system that does not require dies—thus no tooling charges!  (Without die limitations, you can make your label any shape imaginable!)

With digital, you save on plates, tooling, material waste and time. Let’s compare flexo printing costs to digital printing costs by looking at a simple example of printing a 4-color process label:

Quantity: 1,000 labels:

Flexo
$400 plates
$500 dies
Approx. 2,000 feet of material to set up a press (for registration)
Press set-up time approx. 3-4 hours
Total: approx. $2,000 ($2.00 per label)

Digital
$0 plates
$0 dies
Approx. 50 feet of material to set up a press (for registration)
Press set-up time approx. 15 minutes
Total: approx. $200 ($.20 per label)

 

In the table below, we ran actual retail costs of a label:

Size: 1.37” x 1.75”
Die Cut: Special
Varnish: None
Variable Printing: No
Versions: 1

 

Quantity Flexo Plates Rotary Die Flexo Print Flexo Total Digital Total

1,000 labels

$400

$900

$500

$1,800

$172

2,500 labels

$400

$900

$511

$1,811

$193

5,000 labels

$400

$900

$519

$1,819

$230

10,000 labels

$400

$900

$538

$1,838

$303

25,000 labels

$400

$900

$621

$1,921

$541

As you can see in the chart above, there is a big difference in the cost between digital and flexo printing!  However, digital printing is only cost effective for runs of about 10,000 feet of material or less.  When you  get into larger runs, flexo becomes more cost effective.

As technology improves, presses are getting wider and faster. Digital will be competing with flexo printing within 5 years.

2 Responses to “Digital Printing”

  • wthudgins:

    This is very interesting and useful information . . . . I am curious what limitations you may have in terms of the available substrates and adhesives when utilizing this process. Also, do you have the ability to emulate spot PMS colors really well or possibly addtional print heads for actual PMS colors. Not a huge deal . . . as long as the color will build well. I am finding that the current economic situation has made buyers a bit more lenient regarding what would historically have been considered very critical color . . . especially when there is a tremendous economic advantage to producing the job digitally . . . and the result is reasonably close to the desired PMS color. I notice you have no coatings listed in this pricing scenario . . . . can you varnish or UV coat when using this process . . . I am assuming that would be an off line operation . . . if possible . . . yes / no?

  • Andy Heinl:

    Wthudgins,

    In regards to adhesives and substrates; Our press can print on numerous substrates, every material must be thouroughly tested due to our press not printing well on certain face stocks but there is really no limitation on materials as long as the test prints well. Right now we have roughly 25 stocks approved on our website and are always willing to do tests if you need a different material with special adhesive.
    In regards to PMS colors; Our process is completely 4CP digital so we cannot match PMS colors exactly. However, if you have a PMS color you would like us to match for a certain job we can do a PMS match and get as close to the requested PMS color as possible.
    In regards to Coatings; We offer lamination, gloss varnish and matte varnish. If you need a specific overlam or varnish (ex. Thermal Transfer Imprintable varnish) then we can custom quote it. With that being said, our inks are UV inks and are very durable. I try to steer people away from using varnishes and overlams on most jobs because our inks are very durable. Varnishes and overlams are overkill in most situations and just add unnecessary cost.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions,

    Andy R. Heinl
    Manager, Digital Printing
    andy.heinl@repacorp.com

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