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Label converting

Label converting is a market with a seemingly endless variety of products. Find out more…

What is label converting?

Product labels communicate information such as ingredients, proper use and handling, and safety warnings. They clearly identify brand names, trademarks, and logos; provide decoration; grab the attention of potential consumers; offer chances to win a prize, encourage buyers to make a purchase, and even provide instructions on how to properly dispose or recycle the item or packaging when finished.

In label converting, manufactures around the world rely on UV cured inks, coatings, and adhesives to create highly decorative, durable, and functional product labels that exhibit significantly brighter and bolder colours than water- or solvent-borne formulations. Labels are often film laminated with a UV curable adhesive, further protected with a UV curable matte or gloss varnish, and ultimately applied to a wide range of consumer and industrial goods and packaging. When brand managers want products to stand-out from the competition, they insist on UV cured labels.

To produce the extensive range of label types, converters utilise multiple print technologies designed for narrow and mid-web processes including flexo, digital inkjet, offset, letterpress, and screen; all of which can be equipped with GEW’s mercury arc, UV LED and hybrid lamp designs that enable operators to quickly swap between arc and LED curing technologies.

UV curing benefits to label converters

  • facilitates printing to a wide range of label substrates and heat-sensitive materials

  • inline embellishments such as cold foil adhesives and cast and cure

  • high-gloss and special effect over print varnishes (OPV)

  • instant cure of inks, coatings, and adhesives that enables inline finishing immediately following cure

  • superior lightfastness, weatherability, and chemical resistance

GEW product advantages

  • complete and easy-to-integrate curing systems designed specifically for narrow and mid-web label presses

  • shielding, brackets, and chilled rollers seamlessly engineered into lamp designs

  • interchangeable mercury arc and LED cassettes driven by a single power and control system provide curing flexibility for converters transitioning from arc to LED

  • mercury lamp and LED cassettes easily removed in seconds using a single Allen key

  • remote performance monitoring and troubleshooting of all internet-connected lamps

Narrow web flexographic printing

Flexographic printing, also known as flexography or flexo for short, involves shorter press set-up times; lower-viscosity chemistry; and ease of inline laminating, die-cutting, and finishing compared to gravure and offset. Flexo processes deliver graphics, text, adhesives, varnishes, and other coatings to web substrates one transfer at a time, via anilox cylinders and flexible photopolymer plates.

Flexo presses seamlessly integrate UV curing lampheads after each print, coating, and adhesive station to enable the production of high quality and high functioning labels on rolls of plastic, shrink film, metallic film, foil, cellophane, paper, and cardboard at narrow web label press speeds up to 300 m/min (1000 ft/min).

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Narrow web UV digital inkjet label converting

UV digital inkjet label presses offer an economically viable means of producing short runs, variable data and graphics, and jobs printed directly from electronic files to an incredibly broad range of substrates. UV curing is easily integrated into single pass, digital inkjet presses to partially cure the under white, pin the colours, and provide final cure of fully printed labels.

UV LED curing is the preferred technology for white inks and inkjet pinning, and depending on the ink set, GEW mercury arc lamps or LED systems are used for final cure enabling UV digital inkjet label press speeds up to 100 n/min (300 ft/min).

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Web offset label converting

Web offset label presses create high-resolution images by offsetting high viscosity paste inks through a combination of multiple rollers, aluminium printing plates, and transfer blankets. Each colour is applied individually using dedicated print decks with UV interdeck curing integrated after specific colours, after a series of colours, and after coatings.

High-quality roll-to-roll or roll-to-sheet labels are generated on narrow and mid-web plastic films, metal foils, and paper at press speeds that can exceed 300 and 600 m/min (1000 and 2000 ft/min). Web offset printing can lay down 1/3 the ink of flexo printing.

Other variations commonly found in East Asia include web offset and waterless (dry) web offset designed for use with less expensive PS (pre-sensitised) aluminium and silicone plates.  In the case of waterless offset, no fountain solution is necessary.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Other label converting applications

In addition to flexo, digital inkjet, and web offset, GEW’s mercury arc, UV LED, and hybrid curing solutions are easily integrated into other label presses including:

  • flexo inline rotary screen

  • screen – flatbed and R2R

  • letterpress – inline and CI, rotary and semi-rotary

  • web offset waterless

GEW will be pleased to assist your evaluation and decision-making process to ensure that the optimal mercury arc, LED, or hybrid solution is matched to your application, process, and integration needs. Please contact our experienced team. We are available to offer guidance on product selection and can deliver the level of experienced system integration and ancillary components you require.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Speak directly to a sales representative

If you are unsure about which UV curing system best suits your requirements, we are here to help. Please contact one of our sales representatives directly.

Marcus Greenbrook

International Sales:
Marcus Greenbrook
Director, International Sales

T: +44 (0) 7764 986 911

Email Marcus directly

Chris Nuttall

UK Sales:
Chris Nuttall
UK Sales Manager

T: +44 (0) 7733 320 126

Email Chris directly