FINAT Establishes Digital Label Task Force

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands—FINAT, the international association for self-adhesive label industry, announced it has been undertaking preliminary initiatives for standardization of testing methods for digital printing resulting from requests from the industry.

In the past 15 years there has been a continuing growth of digital printing technologies with now over 30 digital label press suppliers in the market, representing some 40 different models. With more than 1,300 digital label presses already installed, digital label printing is now regarded as a mainstream label printing technology. It is accepted by thousands of end-user customers in all kinds of applications and in a wide range of run lengths.

Over many years, printability testing equipment, procedures and standards for conventional printing by offset, letterpress, flexo or gravure have become widely used and/or accepted by the paper and board, printing, converting and print end-user sectors. However, most of the standard printability tests and procedures have yet to be fully tried, modified or utilized—or new tests developed—for the digital printing of labels and packaging. So, although the digital market matured significantly over the past decade, there remains a major leap to being taken.

For that purpose and upon the initiative taken by IGT Testing Systems and label guru Mike Fairley, a task force representing different disciplines has now been established. This technical digital label printability group is now to explore the possibilities of setting up a common testing framework facilitated under the FINAT umbrella. The overall aim is to make digital label printing a more globally standardized technology in terms of printability, performance standards, test methods and procedures. There are a number of challenges currently identified and determined. There is a need for defining and agreeing on digital technologies and terminology. It is desirable to benchmark digital label printing processes against each other and against conventional printing on existing test equipment. In addition, standards and procedures for testing digital label printing need to be written and dedicated or new test methods developed where required.

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