Value of UK label production may be set to rise by 3% over the next three years but individual run lengths are definitely decreasing.

With the global label market valued at around Euro25bn, digital print technology developer HP Indigo estimates that up to 60% of all orders now fall below 2000M.

And with 20 000 label sites worldwide – 600 of them in the UK – it has its sights set firmly on meeting the growing demand for fast turnaround short-run production.

Following its launch at LabelExpo last September, HP Indigo’s dedicated ws4000 label press has already been installed at 13 European plants. Since its installation in March, French beta-site adopter Adesa Labels (Nimes) estimates that 20% of its Euro4.88M turnover is generated digitally.

Adesa is running its ws4000 alongside a full complement of conventional print processes. Managing director Brice Carugati claims that, whilst run-lengths of 1000m are the norm, a recent order for 150 000 labels off is indicative of how customers are beginning to value end-result quality above average running speed levels of 16m/min.

Use of substrates now extends beyond paper stock to PP and PE, with the company able to print actual samples in place of Cromalin proofs ahead of full production at no extra cost.

Complete with Omega in-line finishing, a second-generation Nilpeter system will also be available next year. The likely purchase price for the ws4000 is around £550 000. A simplified point of entry model is nearer to £340 000.