Impact Label’s control-panel overlay project with a Roland VersaUV LEC-300.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Impact Label has found a way to utilize digital for its labeling projects.
Founded in 1964, Impact Label (impactlabel.com) has grown in the 45 years since to have about 70 employees, with branches in Chicago and Chattanooga. Most of Impact’s work is, as you might expect, labels--much of which is done on silkscreen presses or flexographic presses.
But in addition to its traditional, high-capacity presses, Impact has also been using Roland digital presses for more than 10 years. Earlier this year, the company installed a Roland VersaUV LEC-300 UV inkjet printer/cutter. “We do prototypes and smaller-quantity jobs, or when the customer needs something quickly. We’ve done runs from one piece up to 500 pieces,” says Matt Berry, the founder’s grandson. “Once or twice we’ve done maybe a thousand pieces, but that’s about the largest.”
Asked to describe a typical project, Berry recalls being approached by an engineer who had designed a system for balancing the pH level of large quantities of water. The customer was planning to begin manufacturing the product, and he needed an overlay to go over the control panel of the device, with holes in it for all the switches and such to show through. He wanted 250 sheets that he could stick on the plastic surface of the device himself, but was on a tight budget.
Impact art director Dave Kusa designed the labels with the client’s help, using Macromedia Freehand. “The design for the labels was elaborate,” recalls Berry. It would ordinarily be a silkscreen job. But in this particular case, because of the tooling costs involved for die-cutting the sheet after screen printing, his volume would have to be really high to make it effective. Setup and tooling alone would have put us out of the ballpark for his budget.”
But with the LEC to do both printing and cutting, Impact was able to meet the customer’s needs. “The files were a little tricky,” Kusa recalls. “For example, the job involved setting up a line that wouldn’t print but could be read by the die cutter.” While Kusa did his work on a Mac, the files were sent to the LEC from a PC using Roland Versaworks RIP software. Impact printed the label on 4-mil self-adhesive vinyl on the LEC-300, then took it off that machine and laminated it with 3-mil velvet polycarbonate. Finally, Kusa and crew put the material back on the LEC-300 to cut out all the holes.