"Productive" Narrow Web Printing
In recent years, we have witnessed a profound transformation in the labels and narrow web printing market. Here's how Uteco interprets market trends and the needs of various application sectors: scene-setting proposals at Labelexpo.
Today, a label is no longer just a label but is becoming increasingly sophisticated and interactive, serving as a potential source of information, such as for product traceability along the entire production chain. This is made possible through the connection between the label itself, blockchain technology, and QR codes.
Interest in labelling is also expanding towards new areas, such as adhesive labels for the healthcare sector, directly influencing a market that is becoming more dynamic and diversified.
To address this growing and complex demand, Uteco, a renowned manufacturer of medium to large-format printing machines, has embraced the concept of "productive" narrow web printing. They have designed machines specifically for labelling, with a width ranging from 600 to 800 mm and highly efficient printing speeds to cater to new applications.
The end applications of these machines are versatile, capable of handling tubular laminates for bottles and vials, as well as advanced RFID labels. They range from wrap-around labels for high-speed production and large batches to shrink sleeves that completely encase the container, offering 360-degree support. Thus, Uteco's "narrow web" printing adapts to the needs of short runs or productions with frequent job changes, optimizing production times and costs while ensuring high-quality results.
Full Digital or Hybrid: Synergies and Consumables
From this perspective, Uteco's participation to Labelexpo Europe 2023 marks a significant turning point in their journey toward optimizing their expertise in special printing technologies for labelling that integrate Variable Data, typically in digital format. Uteco is committed to offering high-quality and high-performance solutions, ranging from Full Digital printing to digital-analog hybrid technologies, including rotogravure and flexographic printing. This synergy has proven successful in providing complete control over quality and production versatility.
In digital printing, managing the entire ecosystem, including digital consumables such as inks and primers, is crucial to ensure optimal performance. Uteco is at the forefront, benefiting from years of research and development. Identifying the right materials and their combinations is essential for achieving high-quality printing results, and Uteco can support customers in making these choices, ensuring the robustness of the end-to-end process.
Flexo: Short Runs, Safety, Ergonomics
Among Uteco's offerings for label printers and beyond, the Onyx Go stands out. Designed for the production of flexible packaging in short runs, it represents the most compact flexographic press in its category. Uteco proudly emphasizes that their latest addition combines cutting-edge technologies with high productivity, excellent print quality, and maximum operator ergonomics and user-friendliness. This results in faster changeover times and reduced production waste in this range of machines, with approximately 8 meters at startup. These innovations make the Onyx Go a highly performing alternative to comparable in-line printing machines. Advanced technologies and Uteco's patented systems not only boost productivity but also excel in sustainability, minimizing energy consumption.
Onyx Go also ensures maximum safety and ergonomics for operators, thanks to a completely removable drying unit, replaceable nozzles, and an innovative adjustable HMI console.
Its design defines a strong and recognizable identity, creating a sense of order and compactness while ensuring efficiency and ease of use for the operator.
Rotogravure for Narrow Web
In Uteco's range of technologies significant for labelling, rotogravure is not overlooked. Thanks to its fully automatic systems, the NXS 300, designed to meet the specific needs of short runs and narrow web printing, significantly reduces changeover times between different printing configurations, approaching those of the flexo range. At the same time, advanced automation enhances the safety of the operator’s daily tasks.
In label and packaging printing, the role of finishing has progressively gained importance. Enhancement techniques play an increasingly central role in meeting the growing demands for sophisticated, eye-catching, personalized, and distinctive packaging. Special finishes, hot seal, and unique varnishes not only improve the aesthetic appeal of packaging but also communicate a sense of luxury and product quality.
Functional finishes can significantly influence consumers' perception of the product. Matte finishes give packaging a sophisticated and modern look, while glossy finishes create a bright and captivating effect. Uteco has mastered the know-how to combine in-line solutions for finishing and lamination, with an integrated approach that delivers extraordinary quality and efficiency, meeting the demands of the most discerning customers.
Uteco's participation in the latest Labelexpo Europe 2023 confirms its ongoing commitment to cutting-edge technological innovations for flexible packaging printing and converting. The high level of interest generated at the Brussels event and the feedback received from visitors reaffirm the pioneering role played by the Venetian multinational in the flexographic industry.