New technology in on-demand printing will soon be available to growers from Primera Technology Incorporated. The GP3000, a new on-demand, full-color tag, stake and label printer, prints on both sides of tags, stakes and labels with inks that are highly water- and UV-resistant.
Bob Lovejoy, president of HIP Labels, learned about the new printer several months ago, and HIP Labels has since come on board to aid in the development of the product.
Primera, a builder of on-demand equipment for niche markets, had been looking to use ink jet technology for the horticulture market once the water- and UV-resistant ink became available for printing devices. The new printer made its debut at Cultivate’15 in July.
The machine prints on materials that are not compatible with most other on-demand equipment, and will print on up to 20 mil plastic.
“The plastics that are used by growers today are very limited in nature,” Lovejoy says. “They’re very thin, they can tear — tags simply don’t look like regular hang tags. This machine will be printing on the same material we print color picture tags on.”
The printer also has a built-in knife, so as the tags come off of a roll, the printer automatically cuts and stacks them.
“Right now, if a grower is printing a tag, the tag has to be perforated and the grower pays someone to manually burst the tags apart — a timely and expensive operation,” Lovejoy says.
The resolution is much higher than most on-demand color printing options, making for better quality images, says Lovejoy. On top of that, the printer does not require pre-die-cut tags, as it can take a continuous roll of plastic and custom cut the tag to the desired length. The printer will also print tags up to 8-inches wide by several feet long, if you wanted to print bench tape or a small banner.
According to Lovejoy, HIP Labels is helping with the development of the printer partly because it sells the heavier material that the printer uses. HIP Labels is also reconfiguring its recycled plastic material, Milk Made, to run on the printer.
Additionally, HIP Labels can provide print files that the machine can use to print tags.
“Our goal is to help our customers obtain a piece of equipment that does a better job of printing emergency and small loads of tags on demand than they can today,” he says.
The printer will be available in early 2016. It can print files created with any Windows-based software.
Like other on demand printers, the GP3000 is meant to supplement large tag orders, says Lovejoy.
“Tags should be purchased using the 80/20 rule,” he says. “Most companies want to buy 80 percent of what they need pre-printed. You should use every one of those tags. The other 20 percent should be produced using an on demand device like this.”