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Topflight Goes Hybrid with DICEweb Inkjet Engine

Based in Glen Rock, PA, Topflight Corporation, an industry leading label printer and specialty converter has been meeting the needs of demanding customers in the medical device, pharmaceutical and personal care industries for over 60 years. With its experience in combining innovative technology with conventional printing and finishing processes, Topflight turned to PPSI to supply a custom-designed DICEweb system to provide digital printing capability in-line with one of its more than 20 flexographic presses.

According to Topflight's Director of Operations, Tonya D. Nye: "We saw the need to go digital because we are getting more customers who want short runs and variable data labels. We looked at some stand-alone printing systems, but we have several million dollars' investment in dies, so we wanted to be able to print digitally without having to invest in new tooling. The DICEweb system gives us the 4-color digital printing capability we wanted, while making use of one of our custom flexo presses to apply primer and to die-cut."

Plant Manager Brian Litvak explains the value the business is getting from DICEweb in detail:

"We specialize in just-in-time delivery, so most of our work is short-run. 500 feet is typical, so we batch jobs that use the same die to minimize set-ups. Traditionally, we might run anything from 8-50 single PMS color SKUs on the same die, changing plates on each, and wasting about 150 feet on each set-up. We've gotten pretty slick, and we can do about 30 flexo jobs like this in an 8-hour shift."

But now, we're using the 4-color DICEweb to match the PMS colors, and the print is electronically registered to the die station. With the digital print, we have zero material waste after the initial set-up, and zero time between SKU-changes on the same die. As with flexo, we'll run about 100 feet on a die-change, but we're saving about 70% in substrate costs overall, and we're getting about 66% more jobs per day out the door."

"With the higher productivity we're getting from the DICEweb system, we can offer reduced lead-times to our key accounts, creating a higher barrier for the competition."

Topflight Corporation is a privately held, ISO 9001:2008 and 13485:2003 certified company which manufactures primary and secondary labels, precision die-cut components, shrink sleeves and conductive parts for the Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics and Personal Care, Electronics and Durable Goods industries. Headquartered in Glen Rock, PA, Topflight also has locations in Switzerland, Venezuela and Australia.

DICEweb is a 1-6 color add-on UV inkjet print engine that can be retrofitted to an existing flexographic printing press. Because it mounts on the press, the printer can make use of existing investments in finishing equipment as well as laying down primer, white or varnish with the flexo units. This gives the printer the best of both digital and analog worlds: digital printing for short runs and variable data, accurately registered to conventional flexo printing and inline finishing.