Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

St-Luc Labels&Packaging is the first customer worldwide for the new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press

HP recently announced that St-Luc Labels&Packaging, of Nazareth, Belgium, has bought the first HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press which was launched at Labelexpo Europe, Brussels, Belgium. The new press, which boasts a range of hardware and software upgrades, including a production speed up to 40m/min (compared to 30m/min of its immediate predecessor, the HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press) also features an inline primer unit to facilitate substrate treatment, reduce production times and cut stock inventories and associated costs.

For St-Luc, this is the company's first step into digital production. An established label producer with 100 employees and a turnover of €20+ million, the company specialises in self-adhesive labels, film applications such as shrink sleeves, cardboard packaging and POS (point of sale) materials. Its clients are mainly active in the food, cosmetics and petrochemical industry.

So why go digital now?
"We've always invested in the best available technologies," Niko Dhondt, managing director, St-Luc Labels & Packaging, explained. "When we learned about high definition flexo (HD-flexo) which could improve screening technology and further refine printing results, we decided to make the move. And indeed, we were able to increase the quality level far beyond the market standard."

In August, St-Luc became the first label converter in Benelux to receive the HD-Flexo Certificate from EskoArtwork, whose software supports the technology. HP prepress partner, EskoArtwork provides a number of HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging tools as well as the HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Server, powered by EskoArtwork.

"The next step was to ensure a uniform quality for short runs," Dhondt continued. "The answer: digital printing. HP Indigo WS6600 performs at this high-end quality level, makes frequent job changes possible and is complementary to our HD-flexo process."

St-Luc chose HP as its partner to enter the digital area because it was convinced of the performance of the HP Indigo presses. The new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press offers a number of special features and therefore suits the company's requirements perfectly.

"The inline primer unit will be of great benefit," Dhondt said. "It makes running the same paper-based substrates for digital and flexo runs possible, so we won't have to handle additional stocks. Also the ease with which the in-line finishing can be configured is of great importance to us. We will simultaneously install a Digicon finishing line from HP finishing partner, A B Graphic International.

"In case of simple finishing, we will run the jobs in-line. For more complex jobs, requiring more elaborate processes, we will run the finishing device in an off-line configuration," Dhondt explained. 

Leveraging versatility
St-Luc plans to use the full capabilities of its 7-colour press by using it not only for label converting, but also for shrink sleeve, flexible packaging and folding carton production. St-Luc operates also Microbox Packaging, in Bondues, France, which focuses on cardboard packaging. St-Luc is confident that the HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press will be used for producing trial packaging and short runs to complement Microbox's production.

For St-Luc Labels& Packaging, digital print is the next promising step for the future, opening up new possibilities and goals. The company's digital and HD-flexo capabilities will complement each other perfectly and ensure that its customers receive the best quality regardless of the method of printing.