Engineered for Endurance
ImageTek Labels is adding digital printing technology that enhances its core business while supporting expansion into new markets.August 2012 By Sue Busch
Durability is undoubtedly the name of the game for every business, but one might say the moniker is especially apt for ImageTek Labels, a PCM Company. This Springfield, Vt.-based company is a manufacturer and distributor of custom-printed and blank label media, print ribbons, lamination supplies, thermal transfer and direct thermal printers, laminators, and finishing equipment. The 12-year-old company has carved a robust niche providing custom label services to manufacturing engineers who require pressure-sensitive, laminated informational, and instructional labels that must endure harsh settings, such as high temperatures, corrosive chemicals, and flammable environments. One flagship offering is its "Survivor Series" label lines, which are reported to withstand temperatures of 1,100 °F and beyond. Additionally, because another division of ImageTek Labels assembles printed circuit boards in high-temperature climates, the firm brings specific understanding of label requirements during the reflow and wave solder processes.
In a similar vein, ImageTek Labels has proved hardy in the challenging economic climate of recent years. Founded in 1994, the company started its printing operations in October 2002 with an Allied Gear 2-color stacked flexo press and one pressman. Today, the 100-plus-employee, ISO-certified firm provides a fuller repertoire of flexo, thermal transfer, and digital inkjet printing services via a cadre of five presses including a very recent addition—an EFI digital printing system. Other related production equipment includes ImageTek Labels' own P5 printer/laminator and MP850 laminator/rotary diecutter.
Finding the right solution
Alicia Baker, ImageTek Labels' sales and marketing coordinator, says that ImageTek Labels produces labels for markets that include industrial, durable goods, medical, and electronic applications. A wide range of substrates are used for these applications including Kapton film, high-temperature polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) and acrylate, and chemical-resistant polyesters. Finished labels typically feature content ranging from parts identification, ingredient lists, directions, bar codes, and more.
Baker credits the company's success to its ability to keep up with evolving label challenges associated with the manufacturing processes across numerous application areas. One example she cites is the upcoming changes to the UL 94 Standard for plastics in devices and appliances that will now require flame retardant label materials. In the case of UL 94, Baker says most of ImageTek Labels' engineer customers have not yet addressed the standard's changes. As a result, the company has sourced and converted flame retardant material and spends time educating its customers about the new requirements.