Tabletop Digital Printers: These affordable units can print labels for a variety of end uses.

Author:Hrinya, Greg

As digital printing continues to be a hot topic in the label and packaging industry, it's important to remember that the technology is not limited to full production presses. In fact, some of the most recent product launches include tabletop digital printers, which can help label printers in a wide range of markets.

Tabletop printers are generally not be the optimal choice for longer runs or massive campaigns, but they serve a vital niche for converters. Compact digital label printers provide on-demand printing, including personalization, variable data and prototyping.

"The benefits of a desktop label solution include an increase in productivity, a reduction in the cost and waste associated with pre-printed labels and a reduction in process lead time," explains Andy Scherz, senior product manager, Commercial Label Printers, Epson America. "Branding, hazard warnings and assorted product sizes create too much variance for traditional bulk printing methods. On-demand color label printing puts the power in businesses' hands, helping to reduce the risk of error or mismatching templates to pre-printed stock."

"The benefits of desktop digital label printing are many," states Mark Strobel, vice president of sales and marketing at Primera. "For label houses, they're a low-cost solution that fills the needs of short-to-medium run label jobs. Print quality is superb at up to 4800 dpi, and in the case of Primera, the ability to digitally diecut any shape or size-all in the same machine is a bonus."

Additionally, they come at an affordable price point--especially when a minimal number of labels are required.

"Digital benchtop printers give users a cost-effective way to add short run and small batch label printing to their businesses," says Katelyn Bohr, director of marketing at Colordyne Technologies. "Label converters can use the system for micro runs and prototyping work, while brand owners have the opportunity to take greater control over their supply chain with in-house label production."

As Mohit Bhushan, global director of product management, AstroNova Product Identification, points out, printers still benefit from the same principles that apply to all digital units, from tabletop printers to production presses. "Digital printing allows artwork setup and machine maintenance to be effortless, as there are no plates or heavy machinery to deal with," says Bhushan. "With a small footprint, most digital label printers today are no bigger than standard office printers."

Tabletop digital printers are not limited to one market, either. They can be quite effective for medical device labels all the way to craft beverages. "We've seen our color labels be particularly effective with medical devices--where color helps identify the correct device to use, chemicals and where GHS labeling requirements must be complied with," notes Scherz. "They're also quite effective in retail, where color labels help customers find products more readily and they draw attention. Additionally, craft beer/wine or food product business owners appreciate the flexibility of printing labels on-demand, without being forced to buy thousands of pre-printed bulk labels to get a lower price per label. They can add customization or make design changes at any time without having to throw away labels or wait weeks for new labels to arrive."

"With the high speed and durability of...

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