Implementa is a local printing factory, located in Santiago, Chile. Several years ago, they decided to invest on Konica Minolta digital press, bizhub C1070P and C1100, to add shorter run, faster turn around options to their portfolio in addition to a Heidelberg offset press they have had used for the long time.
The main applications they produce are menus for restaurants, business cards, flyers and post cards. After starting to use digital presses, it didn’t take long for them to realize that finishing digital prints is a bottleneck of production. Compared to quantity of jobs and profits they deserve, finishing part used to take a long time and labor work, such as to guillotine 100pcs business cards, hand crease menu pages etc.
Antalis Chile, the dealer for Konica digital press and Uchida finishing equipment in Chile, found that AeroCut Quatro and Tapit WII+ would optimize the workflow, and offered these products as solutions. They decided to make investment, and it resulted in great improvement beyond expectations.
As the Quatro stores a lot of job memories, it can finish printed pages right away. It allows an operator, used to be attached to guillotine and hand creaser, to walk away from the machine when it’s running and do something else, like round cornering, packing etc.
Tapit WII+ helped streamlining packing and delivery procedures for small format products. For example, as soon as post cards are finished by the AeroCut Quatro, an operator can put batches on the Tapit WII+, bundle these and bring them to delivery section. It also succeeded to save a person from doing routine labor for all day long.
Now they are trying to create new value-added applications, expanding their portfolio that they can offer to customers.
Nowadays more and more people are getting used to shop on-line, but some people would never be satisfied by such virtual shopping experiences. Technology is improving rapidly, yet it cannot reproduce real shape, texture, volume and smell of products. That’s why I can bet that people won’t stop “real” shopping for the next several decades, especially when it comes to apparel. And what do you see when you are shopping? Of course products themselves, and yeah, swing tags.
Swing tags have important information that need to be presented to consumers. At the same time this is also important for sellers to manage inventory and sales. For these reasons, tags have to be physically attached to products.
From sellers’ viewpoint, swing tag is a cost, and it’s reflected to the price of product. We are paying for not only product itself but also its tags. So generally, reducing costs of swing tags will make everyone happy.
How do you print swing tags on-demand?
There are some ways to make swing tags. Firstly, printing methods are roughly divided into two ways.
A. Offset / Flexo print
B. Digital print
Offset is perfect as long as large numbers of same tags are required. In this case, to handle variable information such as size, color and price, labels must be prepared separately and attached to tags, or all the options have to be pre-printed and then ticked manually.
Digital print is an ideal way to handle variable information, especially when the required quantity is not big. If all the variable information is printed, additional label is not necessary, which is a great advantage to print digitally. This can be an option to print “base” prints by offset and overprint variable information by digital.
So how would the difference in printing methods result in purchasing cost of customers? Here’s a rough calculation in case of making 10 kinds of 100 tags. The prices were referred from the one of the most major web-to-print service provide in Japan, and converted into USD from JPY based on the current exchange rate.
(4 colour duplex, 250gsm)
7 days turnaround
1 day turnaround
$13 x 10 kinds = $130
5 days turnaround
|Variable data option
+1 day turnaround
+1 day turnaround
+1 day turnaround
7 days turnaround
4 days turnaround
Digital print is 10% cheaper and 3 days faster. Of course the price even break point may vary depending on quantity, country, company etc., but for both printers and customers, important thing is to have an option. Actually this is not a bad deal for the printer, too. The printer can get the job done with faster setup and production time, improve customer satisfaction, and compared to business card, this is an added-value job.
How to optimize “on-demand” swing tag production.
One of our customers is specialized in “on-demand” swing tags and improved their productivity. We are quite impressed with the way they produce swing tags. Here are the procedures.
1. Print digitally
Let’s say… they need 1,000 tags of the same size (90x50mm) but different contents. Firstly they prepare ready to print variable printing data, and print 24up tags on SRA3 sheets. If they need 1,000 tags, it is 42 sheets and only takes about a minute to print as today’s production digital print engine is as fast as 70ppm.
2. Programmable paper drill
Put the prints on the programmable paper drill. Punching holes on piled small tags has risk of damaging products and it requires skill to finish them beautifully. If the drill punches holes on multiple layout original sheets, the height of print pile becomes lower which means a risk of damage is lower. This way requires more strokes, but if the drill is programmable, this is not a big issue. If the template is pre-programmed, this phase will take only 5 mins.
3. Finish tags with AeroCut
Then, put the pre-punched prints on the AeroCut. As the AeroCut Quatro is capable to finish 7x 24up cards per minute, it takes less than 10mins to finish off all the tags. (While the AeroCut is working, the operator can walk away and do other jobs.)
One of the advantages that AeroCut has is, it is capable to finish folding swing tags, too.
Another tip, use a bundling machine to separate tags. This prevents contamination and for customers it’s much easier to handle.
[Link to Youtube – Tapit-WII+]
Overall, as shown on the drawing below, it dramatically decreases production time. Plus, it saves the labor, time and costs to print and attach labels.
So once again, if you prints business cards on-demand, why don’t you put swing tags on your portfolio?
(Written by Yasto)