How We Helped Clone Print Shift to More Reliable Digital Label Finishing

Image of the Clone print logo

Clone Digital Print and Copy - Ellen Zalman-Rai - Santa Rosa, CA

For a business like Clone Digital Print and Copy—a small-scale, California-based printer, copier, and label producer servicing the local business, nonprofit, winemaking, craft beer, and cannabis industries—flexibility, reliability, and customization are key to helping producers stand out on the shelves.

Often, that means bringing the label production process in-house. But things don’t always work out perfectly—and when that happens, Allen Datagraph Systems, Inc. is ready to step in and assist.

When Clone Print owner and founder Ellen Zalman-Rai ran into trouble with a competitor’s digital label finisher, she turned to ADSI to help find a better solution. Together, we outfitted Clone Print with the right solution for their needs, and opened up new potential for what Ellen can offer her customers. 

The result: an efficient, effective, and reliable label finishing system designed to do exactly what Clone Print needs, with plenty of support to keep their operation running smoothly with each batch.

Struggling With The Competition

As a small-scale label producer centered in a few key industries, Clone Print has specific needs for their label production process. Unfortunately, these were needs that their previous digital label finisher simply could not match.

Before working with ADSI, Zalman-Rai and her partner at Clone Print had been working with the AccurioLabel Digital Label Press from Konica Minolta who had paired this with the Eclipse Digital Label Finisher. Unfortunately, this led to problems almost from the very start of production.

“It was a nightmare. The finisher really just didn’t work well, and we spent a lot of time trying to keep things running,” said Zalman-Rai, recalling those early struggles with the Eclipse finisher. “We spent way too much time trying to get accurate cuts and splices.”

Because Clone Print prides itself on its flexibility and variety of offerings, adding extra time and reprints didn’t make for a very efficient printing process.

“We use a variety of different stocks, and we do a lot of short-run label production. A lot of places have only three house stocks, but we have five or six,” said Zalman-Rai. “Because we don’t have a dedicated operator for each machine, we just really, really don’t have time to babysit the finisher and make sure everything is working as it should with every run.”

Eventually, the problem became so disruptive that Clone Print decided to make a major change—and that meant finding a digital label finisher that could handle their demands. 

That’s when Ellen and her partner at Clone Print turned to ADSI, and the result has offered significant improvements to their label production process.

Making The Switch to ADSI

With a clear goal in mind and a focus on getting their label production process onto a smoother track, Clone Print contacted our team at ADSI to learn more about how we could help get them to that goal. We suggested they take a closer look at one of our most highly-rated digital finishing systems: the iTech Centra HS Finisher

“For us, one of the huge things was to have reliability. The finisher needed to be adaptable to what we needed, and it needed to perform up to expectations without needing constant monitoring,” said Zalman-Rai. “That’s what we liked about the Centra HS: once everything is set up and running, there’s very little input needed on our end.”

Once Clone Print co-founder Surendra Rai had a chance to take a closer look at the Centra HS to ensure it was adaptable and had the controls that Clone Print needed, they decided to purchase. From there, we sent our staff out to make sure Clone Print was properly trained and set up for success moving forward.

“Unlike a lot of people in the industry, we actually understood digital printing going into the digital label production process, as well as working with a page frame and setting the production process up,” said Zalman-Rai. “We didn’t need a lot of the more basic training, and Zoltan from ADSI understood that. He came out, made sure our software was set up, then went back through to make sure we understood everything, including how to set up the file, how to set up the media, how to format sensor marks.”

“All in all, the setup and training process with ADSI was really seamless—Zoltan knew his stuff, he was really nice, and he showed us clearly how to set up, how to run, and how to troubleshoot.”

Unleashing New Potential for Label Production

As a niche label production business focused on short-run labels production (typically under 10,000 labels per run), short turnaround time is critical for Clone Print.

“When we get an order for wine labels from a bottling company, for instance, the specifications are often really tight. The rolls need to run exactly dead-on, with only a ⅛ inch liner or so on the top or bottom of each label—essentially, dead center,” said Zalman-Rai. “Fortunately, the hold slitting is really tight in the Centra HS, which helps us print good, clean rolls. That’s really important to us.”

The Centra HS Finisher drag knife is also an important factor for Clone Print’s label production process, since it removes the need to have a new die made for each run. This results in a lower cost-per-label for Clone Print, a faster turnaround time per batch, and greater flexibility in an industry where standardization is not always possible. 

“We print some labels for cannabis producers, and there’s a lot you just can’t standardize in these fast-moving industries,” said Zalman-Rai. “Similarly, the wine labels we produce are mostly for boutique or smaller wineries, and many of them want to have their own thing. That’s why it’s nice that the Centra HS is easy to use and simple to adjust for unique label shapes and materials.”

Because the Centra HS offers die-less cutting and finishing, producers like Clone Print are able to produce labels in any shape they want. Plus, because the Centra HS is designed for use with multiple media, working with unique materials is simple.

“We print on all kinds of media, including really thin materials like BOPP, to much thicker materials like bright white felt stock. The Centra makes it simple to switch between media, and makes it easy to mix and match,” said Zalman-Rai.

Additional features—including the option to laminate, die-cut, strip and slit custom labels in one production pass; or to cut multiple depths within the same cut file for perforations or multi-layer applications—have allowed for more intricate cuts, more distinctive labels, and more satisfied customers for Clone Print.

“So far, the Centra has just been really reliable, and the interface is really easy to use. We run maybe one or two test cuts, then we’re ready to go,” said Zalman-Rai. “And best of all, if any problems come up, ADSI is always quick to respond and answer—something we, from experience, just can’t say about the competition.”

ADSI Offers Continued Service & Support

We do our best to set all of our customers up for success right from the very beginning, and Clone Print is certainly no exception. But, as with so much of life, things don’t always go perfectly, and problems do arise from time to time. 

That’s why ADSI, as an American-based company, specializes in providing “white glove” service to help overcome those problems quickly and keep our customers’ label production processes running smoothly.

For Zalman-Rai and her team at Clone Print, this offered an improvement over the process offered by our competition. 

“Eclipse is based in Great Britain, and so there was kind of an issue with getting information after we had ordered their finisher,” said Zalman-Rai. “It was frustrating to get feedback from the same representative who trained us on the machine, and that became a serious problem when it became apparent that there was something wrong with the machine itself.”

Since choosing to work with ADSI, however, these customer service issues have vanished. For a small company like Clone Print—for whom getting a quick, reliable response is critical—this has made a huge difference.

“The ADSI customer service has been great. When we ordered our Centra HS, we had only one issue with the shipper—definitely not [ADSI]’s fault, but they were still right on top of it, calling their representative and working to figure things out,” recalls Zalman-Rai. “Plus, any time we had questions or had to get help with something, Zoltan, Ray, and ADSI have been really responsive.”

“They actually answer our questions and take care of us as a customer, and that makes it so we can turn our jobs around in a timely manner for our clients instead of telling them ‘Well, we have to rewind and try again.’ For us, that’s really critical, and ADSI has delivered.”

Ready To Upgrade Your Label Production Process?

Over nearly 40 years in business, we’ve helped dozens of label producers, printers, and small businesses just like Clone Print improve their label production processes. If you’re looking for a partner to get your label production up to meet the needs of your customers, we’re here and ready to help.

We encourage you to take a look through the offerings on our website for a closer look at what our machines can do. Then, when you’re ready, get in touch with our team and we’ll get the conversation started to get you on the road to more efficient digital label production.

Tags: Cannabis, Digital Finishers, Short Run, Wine & Beer