TLF Graphics has installed a Labelmaster laser-based digital finishing system from SEI Laser, advancing its existing capabilities and opening the US printing company up to new business opportunities.

Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Rochester in New York State, TLF Graphics is a technologically diverse printing company specialising in product decoration for the food, beverage, cannabis, health and beauty markets. It provides short to medium runs and also offers e-commerce ordering.

Labelmaster is a digital finishing system that allows on-the-fly changeovers and cutting without the need for tooling and die inventory. The system has a maximum web speed of 100m/min, can handle web widths up to 350mm and process roll diameters up to 610mm or 1000mm). With a modular design for expanding future capabilities, Labelmaster machines can be specified in roll-to-roll, roll-to-sheet and roll-to-sticker configurations.

TLF Graphics sought out a replacement for an older laser cutting system that was integrated on the backend of a digital press but was no loner being supported by the manufacturer, the company’s vice president of operations, Adam Jarjourahill, explained.

‘When we first purchased the machine, it had a 1000-watt laser,’ he noted. ‘Shortly thereafter we had to change to a 400-watt laser to cut all of our materials. Over just eight years, the laser control power was replaced twice. Many of the components are now worn or damaged and cannot be replaced. In addition to the ongoing repair costs, the laser performance and productivity had dropped by 30-35%, resulting in delayed shipments and lost profits.’

Having met SEI Laser and its agent in North America, Matik, at a Labelexpo trade show, the decision was made to invest in Labelmaster after evaluation against another laser option. Testing for the Labelmaster was conducted at Enterprise Print Group, with the team from TLF said to have been impressed by Labelmaster’s ability to switch jobs and adjust settings on-the-fly.

Mr Jarjourahill continued, ‘We chose to go with SEI Laser, because the Labelmaster cutting speeds significantly outperformed the competitor’s laser in a side-by-side comparison. One of the field test cuts included a basic 43mm rectangle. The Labelmaster ran at 90m/min, while the competitive laser ran it at 27m/min. Additionally, Labelmaster can cut a wider range of materials, including reflective substrates that were not compatible with our old laser cutting system.’

‘It’s going to deliver ten times the productivity of our old laser system,’ stated Mr Jarjourahill.

TLF Graphics president Bob McJury said, ‘We have a substantial fleet of digital presses that can print very fast. The bottleneck in finishing required a lot of overtime. Margins in the printing business are thin. We can’t afford to lose a shift due to downtime for equipment repairs. We had to come up to speed with our finishing equipment. The Labelmaster is an important tool to deliver speed and service. Eliminating overtime for finishing will be a big savings with improved productivity and cost reduction.’

In addition, the new laser will open up opportunities to TLF. As an example, a recent quote request came in for 25 different labels in small quantities. Finishing that job without the Labelmaster would require $4000 in dies. TLF can now promise no films, no plates and no dies with a complete digital process from the order entry through shipping.