Digital labels & packaging on Fujifilm’s B1 digital press

Stunning designs for Farrow & Ball-Liberty tins

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Fine-tune color adjustment process for complex patterns made possible with digital technology Photo Fujifilm
Fine-tune color adjustment process for complex patterns made possible with digital technology Photo Fujifilm

Luxury homeware brand Liberty and paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball have collaborated to launch a range of limited edition tin designs, which were printed using Fujifilm’s Acuity B1 digital press for metal decoration. Each tin design, comprising multiple colors, had to exactly match Farrow & Ball’s brand colors, as well as the shades and complex designs of textile fabrics manufactured by Liberty. Tin specialist William Say & Co manufactures the 57mm wide lever lid tins, which can hold 100ml of paint, at its site in Bermondsey, London.

Commenting on the success of the project, Stuart Wilkinson, Sales and Marketing director at William Say & Co, said, “This is a milestone for both William Say & Co, and the industry as a whole. Having personally been involved in the development stages over the last two years doing various trials and tests with Fujifilm, we have been extremely happy to be able to use this new digital technology in order to successfully deliver such a complex print project for our customer Farrow & Ball. I think everyone will agree that these new tins look absolutely fantastic.”

William Say & Co supplier, Tinmasters, printed the complex designs with its Acuity B1 press. Liberty and Farrow & Ball’s brand managers were present during the color adjustment process, which involved more than 70 fine-tune adjustments of 25 colors in less than four hours.

Fujifilm
Inkjet technology pioneer, Fujifilm, agreed to an ongoing partnership with the UK’s largest specialist metal packaging printing firm, Tinmasters, in 2020

Richard O’Neill, CEO at Tinmasters, explained, “There are a number of factors that would have been very challenging from a lithographic point of view. The repeat runs on this project are likely to be 200 sheets with six different designs on each sheet. The designs are not appropriate for composite printing where you buy a lithographic press and put different designs on one sheet to try and get the run lengths up. That was not what Liberty was doing here; they were randomizing the designs, but with each design being very different with different colors.

“We composite printed complicated patterns, randomized on the sheets. It would have not only been expensive to print litho, but almost impossible to do what Liberty wanted because of the complexity of the patterns and the criticality of the colors.”

Oliver Mills, Technical Marketing specialist at Fujifilm Wide Format Inkjet Systems, said, “We are delighted to see Fujifilm’s inkjet technology helping to deliver yet another creative metal packaging project. Limited edition projects like this are simply not possible using lithographic technology and, until now, digital alternatives have lacked the necessary quality. Fujifilm’s Acuity B1 digital inkjet press is redefining the creative possibilities for metal packaging companies and the brands they serve.”

Since early October, all six designs of the paint-filled tins have been showcased in Liberty stores alongside its textile fabrics. The tins are also being sold in Farrow & Ball showrooms, as well as on its website.

In 2020 when Fujifilm and Tinmasters began their collaboration for digital metal decoration, Kevin Jenner, business manager, Industrial department at Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems said, “I think the transition from analog to digital in metal decoration is a couple of decades behind the graphics industry, where we’ve been developing and refining our inkjet technologies for 20 years. It’s quite a homogenous market, with all of the major players producing very similar applications with a similar kit so it represents a unique opportunity.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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