Smaller beverage operations such as craft breweries typically rely on a contract manufacture to print their product labels, but that can have some setbacks including delayed order turnaround time and less production flexibility, according to Epson America senior product manager Andy Scherz.
“What we’re seeing as a general rule is that everybody wants to make more variations; tailoring their products closer and closer to their markets,” Scherz, told BeverageDaily at PackExpo.
“Even if you look at the massive brands they’re trying to get more personalized,” he said. “This [customization] is the trend everybody wants to meet and that’s pushing everybody to have more flexible labeling solutions.”
The ColorWorks C7500 Inkjet Label Printer can print custom labels in varying quantities at a speed of 11.8 inches per second in matte or glossy finishes and the printer’s BD-5609 certification ensure that the labels will not smudge or smear, the company said.
“If I’m going to make 50 labels, I’m going to only print 50. I don’t have to order 10,000 [labels] and hope I use them all,” Scherz said.
“If I’m ordering in bulk, I’m always going to be a day late and a dollar short.”
Another issue facing many beverage brands are the evolving label regulations in the food and beverage industry that can vary state by state, he added. Because of this, beverage manufacturers are increasingly looking for more flexible solutions that can rapidly accommodate label content changes.
Updated SurePress printer
Epson also introduced its updated SurePress L-4533AW at PackExpo, which was developed to better meet the growing demand for fast turnaround and longer automated printing times with minimal maintenance needed, the company said.
Like its predecessor, the newest version of the SurePress uses water-based resin ink that contains “special matte black particles” that lay flatter on the printing material creating more vibrant colors, SurePress product manager, Mike Pruitt, said.
“These inks have a resin in them and they’re thermally bonded to the material so it can handle virtually any kind of material for beverage,” he said.
The labels printed on the SurePress are also water resistant a benefit to alcoholic beverage brands that are sometimes chilled in ice before served, Pruitt added.
The SurePress L-4533AW is also more of an investment for beverage companies as the on-demand labeling machine ranges from $205,000 to $500,000 depending on its size and function capabilities, according to Epson.