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11 Mar 2019
Digital label printing

Digital labels - how quality will affect your ability to move with the times

Once upon a time, printing labels for packaging was about legibility and longevity. And that’s still true. But now another factor has come into play, and label printers who fail to take it into consideration could find themselves struggling to keep up with innovations in the industry.

There are two key innovations that label printers should be aware of:

1. Digital label printing

Digital label printing is revolutionising how labels are printed. It’s letting printers do short-run, fast-turnaround projects for clients in a way that is far more affordable than ever before.

Digital label printing lets you print sequential or variable labels far more cost effectively than traditional techniques like flexographic printing. As there are no plates required, the set-up time and cost for each job is dramatically reduced.

The flexibility offered by digital label printing is significant, and can open up new revenue streams and opportunities for printers.

One of the most exciting emerging opportunities for label printers is augmented reality.

2. Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is set to take the label industry by storm.

AR combines real-world views with digital content. Users just download an app, then scan the label to access videos, cartoons, audio files, or other information relevant to the product.

This delivers an unprecedented level of interactivity. For example, imagine you’re considering which pasta to buy. You scan the label on one brand to see a video of a celebrity chef making a recipe with that pasta. The chef recommends a particular bottle of wine to go with that recipe. So, you go to the bottle shop and find that bottle, and use the same app to scan its label. Now, you’re watching a video from the winemaker about the wine and its vintage, what foods it goes best with, how it should taste, and how it is likely to mature over the next few years.

You buy the wine and, because it was pricey, you put it in your cellar and plan to drink it on a special occasion. Five years later, you pick up the bottle and can’t remember what the winemaker said. So, you scan the label again and now, instead of seeing the same video you saw five years ago, you watch an updated version that explains what to expect if you open your wine today.

The opportunities for businesses to upsell, cross-promote, and generally make their products stand out are almost limitless using AR technology like this.

However, it’s important to remember that the success of any AR technology connected with labels depends heavily on the quality of the label itself.

AR relies on sophisticated markers to be printed on the label. The smartphone camera must be able to pick up those markers accurately for the AR content to appear. So, it’s important that the printed label be highly accurate in terms of colour reproduction, fidelity, and crispness.

With Australian label printers already receiving strong demand for AR-enabled labels, it’s only a matter of time before this type of label goes mainstream. When it does, label printers will need to have the right equipment in place to meet the demand.

The Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 190 is being used to deliver the quality that’s required for AR labels. It produces colours accurately and the output is exceptionally high quality. It’s affordable to run and delivers an outstanding result.

The AccurioLabel 190 is helping Konica Minolta customers innovate and compete more effectively in a changing world. It’s a digital label printer which opens up myriad new opportunities for printers, attracting new customers who need small volumes of labels but require sophisticated options such as the ability to print barcodes or include AR markers.

To find out how a digital label printer could help your business unlock new revenue opportunities, contact us today.

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