Graphic Label Solutions Sparks a Transformational Change with Sustainable EFI Jetrion LED Narrow Web Printing
Tennessee-based Graphic Label Solutions (GLS) was seeking an alternative to its existing label production process. The company was using screen printing as well as a wide format printer to produce labels. The screen printing process was becoming cost-prohibitive for increasingly shorter runs, and digital wide format printing did not yield enough throughput to keep up with demand. In addition, GLS was interested in seeking new business it could not accomplish with its current processes, as well as a more efficient way to finish its work. The solution also had to be environmentally sustainable to fit with the company’s desire to have as small an environmental footprint as possible.
GLS chose to become the very first business in the U.S. to install an EFI™ Jetrion® 4950LX narrow web LED inkjet press with inline die cutting. GLS President Deb Warner was attracted by the Jetrion’s small environmental footprint and high quality. The press also made smart financial sense because, in most cases, GLS can print and finish jobs using a single operator.
The Jetrion 4950LX LED inkjet narrow web press represents a new level of digital label production systems — with improved image quality, finer text, higher speeds and advanced LED technology. It allows label manufacturers to take on more primary label applications as well as pharmaceutical and nutraceutical labels. Its LED technology enables printing on lighter-weight, heat-sensitive and specialty substrates while delivering the lowest cost per label.
GLS also found the Jetrion’s modular construction attractive, offering the ability to expand the press without the need to buy a new one, adding finishing, color stations and more over time.
“The brands we work with are all setting goals for sustainability,” Warner adds. “They want suppliers that share that commitment. When I first saw EFI Jetrion UV inkjet technology a few years ago, I knew it would help us offer high quality while reducing waste. LED was the missing piece I needed to really address what our clients are looking for from a sustainability perspective.”
EFI’s “cool cure” LED inkjet curing technology gives GLS the ability to run thin and challenging stocks ranging from 0.5 mil to 30+ mil thick. The press also reduces costs with lower energy usage and LED’s significantly longer lamp life compared to traditional UV-curing lamps.
GLS’s Jetrion acquisition completely transformed the company; GLS has sold off its previous production equipment – including a narrow web flexographic press, a screen printing press and a roll-to-roll, solvent inkjet printer – replacing it all with the new, four-color, 13.5- inch wide press.
“From a productivity perspective,” Warner says, “the difference is night and day. One operator handles the entire process, and it takes about 15 minutes to set up compared to very lengthy setup times for screen and flexo. You just put the jobs in the queue and they run perfectly. We have yet to have a rejection!”
In seeking new business, Warner leverages the unique Jetrion capabilities in combination with her WBENC status and publicity from awards. “This allowed us to get into the wine label business,” she explains. “This is not something we would have been able to do before, but a winery read about us being company of the year and contacted us. These labels would have been cost-prohibitive with screen printing. I was also recently in Detroit meeting with one of the ‘Big Three’ automotive companies, and they were quite taken as well with what the Jetrion can do.”
Warner is the first Jetrion owner to become a UL-authorized label supplier, having gone through UL’s rigorous certification process to ensure that she could accurately produce the UL Mark on OEM labels. “This sets us apart,” she says, “and we expect it to drive a good bit of business.”
Graphic Label Solutions (GLS), based in Columbia, Tenn., is a single source for high quality labels, point-of-purchase and related products. The company offers customers expert design and engineering services and dedicated customer service. With more than 25 years of experience, GLS helps customers with design, material selection and determination of the best printing processes to meet budget, quality and other requirements.
GLS produces a wide range of products, from decals and nameplates to roll labels, in-mold decorating and coupons. The company also offers print-on-demand services for its label products as well as postcards, point-of-purchase materials and more.
GLS is a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a WBENC Certified Diversity Supplier. In 2013, GLS’s progressive approach to its business earned it the U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUBZone Company of the Year award for the State of Tennessee.
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Label Assembly Line Bottleneck
A manufacturer of electronics was in need of a labeling solution for one of their product lines. The product needed to have several individual labels applied during the manufacturing process, but the fact that each label was treated as a separate part was causing their assembly line to bottleneck and making them late on shipments.
Working with the customer we developed a solution that not only addressed the obvious issues with using 5 or 6 individual label sheets, but also rectified issues that the customer hadn’t even considered.
The solution was simple, we took all of the labels required for one assembly and grouped them onto a single sheet. The new labels were kiss cut allowing for easy removal during assembly. The one sheet travels with the product during assembly, greatly simplifying inventory because there are fewer parts to manage. Producing an entire label set on one sheet also improved the color consistency, providing exact color matching every time. This is called Kitting.
In addition to the boost in efficiency, this new process produced a cost savings of 20% to 30% for the customer by eliminating several setups and die charges they were currently being charged.
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