There are a few options when it comes to digital label finishers so I’m going to explain what types of label finishers there are and why you would use each type of finisher.
What is a label finisher?
A digital label finisher is a machine that allows you to take pre printed, continuous label material and cut it down to whatever label size you require. With lots of finishers you usually get to add a laminate before the material is cut for added durability to the label. Once the labels are laminated and cut the waste material is removed and then the labels can be slit into individual rolls if needed.
Depending on your label size you can usually print multiple labels across and then slit the finished lavels into individual rolls ready for application.
How do label finishers actually cut the labels?
There are really 3 types of label finishers of which there are many models. These three types are separated by the way in which they actually cut the labels. Here are the 3 cutting methods.
Knife cutting has it’s advantages and disadvantages and is one of the most popular forms of label cutting for those producing lots of short run labels.
Knife cutting is great in that it has no setup costs for each label shape you produce and the setup can be super quick. You can create a cut line in something like Ai and then send it straight to the finished and it will cut that exact shape instantly. This is why knife finishers are perfect for those producing lots of different sized labels. You can switch between label shapes and sizes instantly with no mechanical or physical changes to the machine.
The only negative with knife finishing is that it’s slower than both die and laser cutting. However with die cutting you need to actually manufacture the dye. This can take a couple of days so if you were producing 1000 labels from scratch technically knife finishing is quicker in that you can start straight away.
Die cutting is the most commonly used label cutting technique. You need to have a die manufactured to the exact shape and size of any label you are producing. You need a unique die for every shape so if you produce many sizes etc this can become expensive. Dies vary from around £50 to £200 depending on complexity and quality of the die.
Die cutting is very quick and very accurate but has a setup cost and takes time to setup. If you produce larger volumes of only a few shapes then die label finishing might be for you. For example we have a customer who has only 3 label shapes. They produce runs of around 500 to 4000 labels. They have changes in the artwork design but the shapes stay consistent so it’s easy to start the next job. Once you own the dies it’s quick to produce larger volumes of labels.
Laser cutting is very new and still being perfected but it should offer a combination of the two options above. You get the flexibility of knife cutting as there is no setup cost and purchase of dies needed. You also get the speed of die cutting so in theory it’s win win.
The negative with laser is that the initial cost is around 10 times the cost of a knife finisher and you need extraction etc. But if you’re a high end short run label service this will offer great throughput.
What do these label finishing options cost?
Knife label finishers start from around £7500 for a narrow desktop system and they go up to around £20k.
Die based label finishers start around £20 but you’d be looking more like £40k – £50k for a good one.
Laser label finishers are around £80k+ but as this technology becomes more common the pricing should come down.
Example of digital label finishers
Knife Cutting System – Afinia DLF140 – Desktop Label Finisher
Die cutting system – Afinia DLP2100 – Digital Label Press
Which label finisher is right for you?
There are lots of options and many options of just one cutting type so we strongly recommend you talk to our team and let us help you work out your requirement. We can prove the concept using your artwork and producing your labels as you would. We’ll cost machinery and running costs as well as demonstrating the machines to show timings and the process. We’ll help you get a full understanding of the how a digital label finisher could work for you and what it will cost you.Get in touch