I talked to Duncan Ferguson, Director of Professional Printing Solutions, at the recent LabelExpo show about new Epson products and the state of the marketplace.
So what is the message from Epson at LabelExpo?
"The message at LabelExpo is that Epson has the best quality technology and a wider range of digital labelling solutions than all the others. With Epson we are all about quality and flexibility. With our label printing solutions you aren’t restricted to a specific ink type - we offer a choice of UV or aqueous inks so that our customers can select the ink and technology that is best for them and their needs.
"In addition to our production-level UV single-pass and aqueous scanning SurePress digital label presses, we also offer a single-pass desktop label printer – the ColorWorks C7500. It’s designed for industrial print-for-use and is aimed at manufacturers who may want their own in-house labelling capability. It gives a very good gloss finish and takes away the need to treat the label. It is popular because it increases speed to market.
"This bridges the gap between a low production office label printer and a converting label press. There are many different business models out there and we want to provide solutions that may cover them all, rather than expecting our customers to change their business model to suit our technology. Giving our customers choice is important and that defines our business and technological strategy.
"At the show we also launched the next generation of our large format aqueous printers: the wide-gamut SureColor SC-P range which replaces several Stylus Pro models. We demonstrated a proofing and a photographic/fine art application – again illustrating the flexibility of our printers.
What’s your view of the European market for high-end digital label printing?
"We have a very diverse label and packaging market in Europe due to factors such as multiple languages, numerous regulations, high quality expectations, and short run requirements in sectors such as the wine industry. These factors drive innovation and at Epson we have developed products to meet the needs of this challenging market. Digital industrial printing and production is driven by the requirement for short run or fast response. In a country like the USA with 300 million people and one language those drivers may be less forceful
What do you think about the developments that are taking place in relation to direct to shape inkjet printing?
"Personally I think DTS seems a little slow in terms of productivity and it is not really a full production solution at the moment. However, I do think that there is potential for direct to shape innovation, but it does depend on the application. Epson is involved with in-mould decoration for 3D objects which has high impact which could deliver higher productivity and potentially higher quality than DTS where you may have to sacrifice one or the other."