Colordyne Technologies and Styers Equipment Company recently teamed up to retrofit a 25-year-old inline flexo press with a new digital print engine for Action Label Company.

The reason for the retrofit conversion was to perform short run work more quickly and efficiently, says Andy Espinoza, vice president of Denver, Colo.-based Action Label.

“We do a lot of short runs, but this existing flexo press didn’t hold register to do four-color process that well,” Espinoza says of the Allied inline press he’s owned since 1990. “So when this opportunity came up to help us do our short runs, and it required no plates, we jumped at the opportunity to turn our outdated flexo into a profitable and flexible, short run, four-color process digital printing workhorse.”

Espinoza updated his old press with a Colordyne 3600 Series Retrofit digital label and tag printing platform, which aims to provide a combination of high print quality, fast job production and low equipment cost.

According to Colordyne, the advantage of the 3600 Series Retrofit for label converters like Action Label, which also caters to distributors and other label companies, is that it allows them to add full-color digital inkjet printing to their existing flexographic press — a solution for profitable short run work. That’s because with the 3600 Series Retrofit, label converters avoid setup expenses, reduce waste, and are now able to offer their customers the flexibility and turnaround times they have learned to expect from a digital solution, the company says.

Espinoza said what made the Colordyne Retrofit an attractive solution was the cost-savings associated with eliminating the need to buy print cylinders and plates, along with a significant reduction in set-up waste and production time — a costly process that was required for each short run on his existing press. 

Espinoza worked with Justin Styers of Overland Park, Kansas-based Styers Equipment Company to integrate the retrofit and obtain the Colordyne digital print engine. Styers said companies like Action Label are perfect candidates for retrofit upgrades as it gives them another way to service their customers by performing more profitable short run work. 

“Digital is just the way the market is going,” Styers says. “As conversion programs like the Colordyne 3600 Series Retrofit continue to get faster with higher resolution in a smaller footprint, you can already see that the label converter industry is leaning that way.

“Of course you will see a flexo press in 10 years. But the traditional crossover between digital and flexo, in regards to run length, will grow concurrently with the industry’s adoption of digital print. Our installations are producing jobs in the time it took to them to set them up their flexo presses. There’s a big change going on in this industry — and it’s digital.”

Speed and high resolution are two strong characteristics of the 3600 Series Retrofit. With print speeds of up to 275 feet per minute (84 m/min) at a resolution of 1600 x 1375, the 3600 Series Retrofit platform creates a powerful productivity tool suitable for use in a variety of business environments. Label converters can use the 3600 Series Retrofit to profitably augment and grow current CMYK plus spot color printing activities on short to medium runs, Colordyne states. 

Since installing the retrofit in January of this year, Espinoza has been busy expanding his short run work. And since Action Label is based in Colorado, it has added work with one of the state’s newer industries.

“We’re printing a lot of labels for the medicinal cannabis industry, as well as for the confectionery industry,” he says. “Ever since they found out we have this new capability, our customers have started giving us jobs like crazy. We really haven’t had a chance to promote it because more jobs keep coming in. We don’t have a website. All of our business for the past 35 plus years is word of mouth, and that says a lot about our quality workmanship and on-time performance. 

“The Colordyne 3600 Series Retrofit has improved our performance even more, and it’s simple to use. You just receive PDFs, change them as needed, set it so you print three-across, and that’s it. We’re happy with the system; it’s a very good short run order solution.”