German label printer Labelwerk has taken its first steps into digital colour printing with investment in a Xeikon 3030 REX.

Labelwerk is an owner-managed business focused on serving the market for self-adhesive labels in the pharmaceutical industry, including a number of generic brands. The customer portfolio also includes companies from the automotive industry and manufacturing businesses from all over Germany, as well as in other European countries.

Xeikon’s REX range is the company’s offer of remanufactured presses, introduced last year to allow smaller companies greater access to professional digital printing systems at a more affordable price point.

Prior to acquiring its Xeikon 3030 REX digital press, Labelwerk’s production portfolio consisted of five offset presses primarily used for book printing and two heatset web presses, as well as a monochrome laser printing press for barcodes, which was sufficient to meet customer demand at the time. With times changing, Labelwerk managing director Jens Hermann opted to upgrade.

‘For many years, the main focus of technical pharmaceutical labels was on the accurate reproduction of medical information,’ he noted. ‘These labels have now become ‘colourful’, meaning that they involve colour effects and graphical content. At the same time, there is now increasing demand for shorter runs with frequently changing images and different language versions.’

As a result, Labelwerk’s addition of the Xeikon 3030 REX press allows it to meet growing demand for short-run label orders and increasing quality requirements. Label orders of up to about 400sqm can be produced more profitably on the new Xeikon 3030 REX than on a book printing offset press, as the costs associated with traditional pre-press, such as plates and make-ready, are not incurred. A further benefit identified by the company is the sharpness and definition of fine black text on transparent film.

Mr Hermann continued, ‘We resisted going down the digital colour route for a long time because of concerns about cost and quality issues. However, digital printing technologies in general have made tremendous progress.

‘In particular, Xeikon’s proposal for us to purchase a remanufactured press for the fraction of the cost of a new one tipped the balance for us. Compared to other digital printing press providers, Xeikon offered the best overall package.’

The digital press was installed at Labelwerk in April 2021, and is the first of its type in Germany.

Jürgen Zeußel, sales manager for labels and packaging in Germany at Flint Group Digital, commented, ‘For a business on this scale, getting into digital printing can be an enormous financial effort. Xeikon introduced the REX portfolio of remanufactured presses in order to enable small and medium-sized printing businesses like us to get into the profitable and growing digital printing market, without the major investment expense previously required.’

Digital Labels & Packaging detailed the demand and options available for refurbished/remanufactured digital presses in the January/February 2021 issue of the magazine, which you can also read here