Label Printing: get fit for tomorrow's markets – today

Digital label production prepares you for the future of the industry. Without the hard work or risk.

Digital technology – a licence to print labels?

Digital label production is booming. To take advantage of that growth, enjoy digital's new benefits and keep your analogue production equipment profitable while transitioning with Konica Minolta's complementary approach to printing services.

Professionally printed labels are big business nowadays. Industries need to identify and differentiate their products and brands, custom labels can be used in exciting new ways, and the volume of printed square metres in the sector has nearly doubled in recent years. Even in this online era, label design plays a hugely important part in acceptance of a product. The label on a bottle or item of packaging reflects the message and identity of the brand. 

The latest figures from marketing research institute Smithers Pira show that the volume of printed square metres in this sector rose from 4 billion in 2014 to 7 billion in 2017. 

What is label printing? 

It would be impossible for the world of retail, commerce, industry or distribution to operate without labels in today's time. They can be found with multi-coloured illustrations on almost everything that we buy in high street retail stores, pharmacies, DIY shops, and even out-of-town hypermarkets and garden centres – whether products are pre-packed in bottles, tubs, jars, pots, trays or other types of containers, shrink-wrapped or even affixed directly to items as diverse as lawnmowers, tennis rackets, clothing or hardware. 

Labels are an essential medium that can be used to identify and help to market all kinds of goods, as well as provide essential consumer or legislative information such as weight or volume, supplier or manufacturer contact details, ingredients or contents lists and maybe storage, handling, healthy eating, usage or safety information. 

In addition to this, almost all labels nowadays carry a barcode – the patterns of black and white lines that are scanned at automated checkouts – to identify and price items on the customer's till slip. Barcoded labels of various kinds are also used in the manufacturing, handling, shipping and distribution sectors for applications as diverse as assembly and factory automation, in parts and components identification, and the field of tracking and traceability throughout the supply chain. 

New label innovations in recent years have also seen the growth of special types of labels capable of interacting with mobile phones to access websites, provide further consumer information, enter competitions, play games or become part of social networks. Some labels are even uniquely variable or personalised. 

In short, labels have become an essential component of everyday modern life in one form or another.  No surprise then, that labels of all kinds are one of the fastest growing sectors in the printing industry, along with flexible packaging, averaging around 4-6% per annum growth worldwide for at least the last 30 years (current growth is estimated at 4.7%), and almost always achieving growth above GDP. On a global basis, labels are produced by a highly specialised niche printing industry sector which currently generates over $60 billion in turnover. 

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Investing for growth and profitability - The role of digital printing in the world of labels

The rapid acceptance and investment in digital printing had a major impact on the rapid growth of label printing, changing the way custom labels are designed and manufactured and how they can be used in exciting new ways, for example wine labels, food labels and water bottle labels.

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The benefits of label printing

The benefits of label printing

Digital label presses

The label printing sector has grown to such an extent that annual installations of digital label presses are now close to 30% of all narrow-web press installations worldwide, with over 3,000 digital label presses installed worldwide in the label industry at the end of 2015. 

Looking ahead, digital label presses are forecast to make-up close to 40% or more of all annual narrow-web press installations by 2020. 

Against this backdrop, the overall value of digitally printed label jobs nowadays is viewed as far greater than the printed cost alone. Industry estimates indicate that although digital label printing is currently only about 3 to 5% of all printed pressure-sensitive label jobs by volume, it makes up some 15 to 18% or more of all print jobs by value. 

The many benefits of this growing sector include:

Seamless workflow 

A seamless workflow has become one of the essentials of successful digital label production. It provides the basis for minimising errors and paperwork, speeds up response times, and provides continually up-dated manufacturing and customer information, as well as bringing down lead times. 

Cost efficiencies 

Compared to conventional label printing, the digital process does not use printing plates or require any platemaking materials, chemicals, processes or time resulting in cost saving. 

Production benefits 

For the brand owner, the opportunity to reduce or eliminate label warehousing, reduce time to market, and improve supply chain efficiencies can be a compelling reason to turn to digital label production. The possibility of just-in-time production, short-run proofing and test marketing of labels is also of great interest. 

Marketing opportunities 

New added value and marketing opportunities for brand owners – indeed almost any size business ‒ have become a real focus for label users in today's ever-competitive environment. There are many examples of where digital printing solutions have provided the possibility to easily produce multiple versions or variations, variable design images, personalised labels, mass customisation, new promotional opportunities and even regional, seasonal or special event labels. For the digital label producer these marketing opportunities offer the potential to add value and enhance profitability. 

Environment and sustainability 

There is little doubt that the environment and sustainability have become important issues. By producing exact quantities rather than a percentage of 'overs', digital printing reduces print wastage. Unlike other printing processes, there are also no chemicals, water or plate making materials used with digital printing. 

Brand security 

A relatively new, but growing area for digital design and printing with the latest software solutions is to incorporate security design backgrounds and special features, variable images, micro text, anti-copy features and much more. 

Track and trace 

The fact that digital labels can be printed individually means printers can produce sequentially numbered or coded labels, create hidden codes matched to visible codes, and provide changing codes that can be used with smartphone technology – all offering new possibilities for track and trace label solutions. 

Why digital label printing creates new business

Why digital label printing creates new business

New opportunities

Digital label printing also brings in more business for the converter's conventional printing presses, while creating new opportunities in the shorter run and niche unsupported film markets for sleeves and flexibles. Around 14% of label converters that have invested in digital presses now also produce profitable shorter-run, mid- to narrow-web flexible packaging – sachets, pouches, tubes, pot lids, wrappers, bags and flexibles – for customers who started out on labels alone.

Typical Label Applications

Glossy or matt adhesive sticker paper, YUPO, PET, PP. An extended list of supported substrates from the major vendors of self-adhesive media is provided upon purchase of the Label Press.

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Label Printing

Label Printing

Technology of the future meets benefits of the present

Konica Minolta offers an easy-to-use suite of quality software and hardware that lets you enjoy all the benefits of new digital technology with none of the potentially negative effects of transition.

It's designed to give you the technology of the future – without having to sacrifice the benefits of the present.

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Make the move from analogue to digital printing – painlessly

Recent surveys of the industry suggest the most significant business 'pain points' for label converters are shorter lead times, and finding qualified press operators. So if you're looking for a one-stop shop to solve both these 'growing pains' at once, moving your company seamlessly from conventional to digital label production, exposing you to vast new digital markets and creating small batches of high-quality labels and stickers with a speed and flexibility your customers will talk about, the AccurioLabel 190 is the digital press for you.

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You do the printing. Let us do the impositioning.

With its PDF-based workflow and generous feature set, AccurioPro Label Impose is an impressive tool indeed. This software lets operators handle a wide range of pre-press tasks from a single control station, can be seamlessly integrated into our AccurioLabel 190 hardware, perfectly compliments the Konica Minolta Label Press. The missing piece in your digital label printing puzzle.The only digital label printing software you'll ever need.

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Always at your Service

Our experienced, knowledgeable specialist staff will answer any questions you may have, and show you how to operate your product. Our services function for your benefit, within a support system designed to ensure you and your company benefit fully from the solutions. We offer a range of different services, including optimised print services to combine your consulting; hardware and software implementation; workflow management to lower your document spending; and smart security services, to keep your business safe.

How we help Firus Druck to impress their customers

Firus Druck, a traditional label printer from a renowned German wine region (Mosel), was looking for the right solution for their customers demand of self-adhesive wine labels. They invested in a Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 190 and a GM DC330Mini as well as a GM HOTFB330 Standalone Hot Foil. The video describes how the investment is part of a wider strategy for our customers’ growth and development. It is about embracing new technologies and change within the ever-changing printing market.

All the features you need (and one or two more)

Konica Minolta's powerful mix of software and hardware solutions has been created with one objective in mind: to enable your company to move seamlessly from analogue to digital processing, lock your printing business solidly into the booming profits of the label design of the future, and enjoy the maximum benefit and added value of digital. 

Our features will let you offer your clients personalisation, lower your running costs, simplify your operation and put together your own seamless, customised version of the transition to digital. You can offer shorter run-lengths, flexible delivery times and much more. At the same time, those trusted analogue presses will just keep on running with our product mix. In short, our features let you enjoy all the benefits of the new technology while keeping your existing analogue plant profitable as you transition. So what are those features? The benefits to your company of our digital label printing product mix include:



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Colours are processed at a resolution of 1,200 dpi x 8 bit with 256 gradations expressed in 1 pixel

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Image density control technology

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No pre-coating of media required

Manage all your campaigns in one portal

Operation is intuitive by following on-screen instructions; no need for extensive user training

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Per-minute speeds of 18.9 m, 13.5 m and 9.45 m can be selected to match the media used

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Simitri® HD E toner technology

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Tasks such as colour adjustments that are highly time-consuming on analogue now take seconds

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The 3-dimensional hybrid structure that incorporates functional polymers provides high performance for all media types

How GrafiPrint expanded their business

The Italian digital commercial printer GrafiPrint has expanded their business with a roll-to-roll label production machine from Konica Minolta.

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shaping print to business.

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Do I need to change to digital? Find out with Digital1234

For conventional analogue label converters looking to invest for the first time in digital label printing, there is more behind the decision than simply buying a new printing press or process. It requires a great deal of evaluation and thought beforehand, including decisions about people, sales and marketing, pre-press capabilities and colour management at each individual company. 


Identify, Assess, Justify and Implement

Investing in digital label printing means stepping back and taking a critical look at the way you do business and how you liaise throughout your work chain and with your customers. For busy label printers and converters looking to invest in digital printing technologies for the first time, the challenge is often to know what questions to ask themselves, who in the company should be involved in the decision-making process, and what the implications for other departments, or even customers, might be. 

To assist companies in their thinking and decision-making, Konica Minolta has designed the Digital1234 assessment guide. This business development programme is a business-based questionnaire covering a range of crucial business topics; using a simple and visual 'traffic light' system, the assessment helps you quickly identify the areas of your business that could benefit from switching to digital by exploring each individual business opportunity. It focuses on the specific needs of label converters and companies involved in the graphic arts fields. 

By examining areas such as your existing business, how you might generate new business by investing in digital, your employees' understanding of digital printing, and management of the digital production environment, the Digital1234 four-step plan – Identify, Assess, Justify and Implement – will tell you for sure whether the time is right for your organisation to switch to digital.

Those four steps are:


Step 1 1


Step 2 2


Step 3 3


Step 4 4

Why not talk to us about how label printing could benefit your business? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will be in touch.