March 6, 2020 / Label Production

9 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Digital Label Finisher

9 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Digital Label Finisher

For label producers and small business owners looking to maximize their label-making capabilities, adding a digital label finisher to the production line can be a hugely valuable investment.

But while the value of a digital label producer may be easy to understand, there’s still one question that can be challenging for printers and business owners to answer: 

“Which finisher is right for my business?”

At the end of the day, label producers have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right digital label finisher for their business… and without a clear idea of what your business needs (and what problems may still lie ahead), making the right decision can be difficult. 

Fortunately, we know a thing or two about helping businesses find the right label equipment to match their needs—and we’re happy to share the wisdom. Here’s a look at 9 of the most important questions to ask yourself before investing in a digital label finisher, so you can make your purchase and move forward with confidence.

1. What will I use the finisher to produce?

Although it may seem like a basic starting point, knowing what exactly you’ll be using your digital label finisher for might be the most important factor to consider when choosing the finisher that’s right for your business.

With so much emphasis on unique designs and eye-catching labels, more label producers than ever rely on label finishers that can offer flexibility when it comes to label shapes and materials.

If, for example, you plan on printing a short run of labels on a very specific material—say, foil paper, or tamper-proof vinyl—it’s critical to make sure the finisher you choose has the cutting capabilities to produce accurate, clean, reliable labels time after time. Spend too much time fighting with your finisher to get a material through the production line and you may end up wasting time, materials, and opportunities. 

2. Can this finisher achieve efficiency with short runs?

For today’s label producers, being able to execute short runs of unique, custom labels is key to keeping margins up and revenue moving in a positive direction. Without a capable digital label finisher, however, achieving this short-run efficiency may be difficult to impossible.

That’s why it’s important to look for a digital finisher with proven capability to accomplish short runs of labels each and every day—and to do so utilizing a wide variety of materials. That way, label producers can achieve that short-run efficiency without having to cut into profits waiting for pre-die cut labels or waiting for costly dies themselves.

3. How many production passes will the process require?

When it comes to increasing efficiency in the label production process, reducing the number of production passes required to complete label finishing can be a critical time-saving technique. However, not all digital label finishers are able to achieve this same goal equally… meaning it’s up to the label producer to choose a finisher that can handle this requirement.

Ideally, one should look for a label finisher that can complete the entire production run in one pass—including laminating, die-cutting, stripping, and slitting, all without having to manually re-pass materials through the finisher prior to completion.

4. Can the finisher die-cut custom shapes and patterns?

For decades, one of the most widely-felt burdens on a label maker’s productivity and profitability when producing short runs of labels has been the time, money, and frustration involved with ordering pre-die cut labels, or with ordering the dies themselves. 

By choosing a die-less digital label finisher, label producers can avoid these headaches altogether—eliminating the need to order pre die-cut labels, or to wait days for new dies to be shipped, delivered, and added to your production line. A die-less finisher can quickly and reliably cut custom shapes and patterns from a wide variety of label materials, all without adding extra expense or time to your short-run production process.

5. What problems may arise with setup or compatibility with my printer?

As many small-scale label producers may tell you, not all label production equipment is made equal… and for some, adding a new piece of equipment (like a finisher) to an existing -production line can be a time-intensive headache. But thanks to new developments in label finishing technology, this no longer has to be the case.

Many modern digital label finishers, including ADSI’s own Centra HS Finisher, are designed for seamless integration into just about any production line. This allows label producers to pair our finishers with just about any printer or production equipment they may already have on hand, saving time and money as you get your production process up and running.

6. Can the finisher convert from analog/digital production?

For decades, the analog offset label printing process was the main (and, often, only) method by which a label producer could create consistent batches of labels over the course of a production run. By utilizing printing plates, analog printing ensures fairly accurate label production… but often requires a greater number of steps, greater skills, and a much more hands-on production flow.

Digital printing, on the other hand, can translate label information directly from a computer screen to the label production equipment, allowing for much quicker production of labels without the need for printing screens or other analog processes.

But while some printers have made the switch to digital, others remain tied to more traditional analog printing methods. The key here is to choose a digital finisher than can seamlessly convert from one to the other, allowing label producers to rapidly transition from analog to digital (or vice versa) with one efficient digital label finisher.

7. How will the finisher impact my ROI?

We have previously discussed at length the degree to which choosing digital label equipment can positively impact your ROI—from reducing the time and money spent on pre-die cut labels or dies themselves, to unlocking new potential for custom short runs of label production to maximize margins with every pass along the production line.

What may be more important than the actual finisher itself, however, may be the relationship you develop with the equipment manufacturer—because easy access to support and setup assistance can often be key to getting your production process up and running quickly.

8. How will I recover if my finisher encounters an issue?

In that your digital finisher or other label production equipment runs into a technical support issue, having quick and easy access to your equipment’s manufacturer may be the key to getting prompt, reliable support and getting your label production back on track. 

By buying American-made label production equipment from ADSI, you can be sure you’ll have an experienced professional with expert knowledge of your machinery available for rapid support—rather than waiting days or even weeks for a representative from an overseas manufacturer to get in contact with your team.

9. Who will support my label finishing if I get stuck?

As just about any label producer will tell you, problems do tend to arise in the label production process… sometimes, right when they’re least expected, and when they do the most damage to your bottom line. At times like these, it’s critical to have a reliable professional partner to help get you back to your full production capabilities. 

Because we work to build close relationships with our customers, we specialize in providing white-glove service for all potential issues or production problems—meaning you can get back to production quickly and efficiently, without losing time and money to costly production delays.

Take Your Time, Choose Wisely, and Get The Right Digital Label Finisher

When the time comes to choose your next digital label finisher—or any digital label equipment, for that matter—taking time to ask the hard questions about your needs can go a long way toward finding the right equipment for your business.

Here at ADSI, we’re happy to help. We’ve spent years assisting businesses and label producers of all sizes as they transition to in-house digital label production. Plus, we have plenty of experience helping existing label producers improve and refine their production processes to maximize profitability and ensure quick ROI on equipment investments.

If you’ve run through this list of questions and feel ready to choose the label finisher that’s right for you (or if you still need help figuring out which that might be), we’d love for you to get in touch. Our team members will help you answer these challenging questions and get fully outfitted for continued success with label production for years to come.

Tags: ADSI Products, Digital Finishers, Label Finishers, Short Run