Stamping Capability Opens New Markets

Foil can be classy or it can be flashy, but there's no question it attracts attention. Just a small amount of foil on a label or package can be enough to catch a consumer's eye and provide a slight edge over a competing product on the shelf. It's no surprise, then, that hot stamping is so popular.

“You see examples of this growth on common products,” says Michael Aumann, director of sales and marketing, Brandtjen & Kluge, St. Croix Falls, WI. “A perfect example is Cheerios, which held a CD giveaway with foil stamping on the front. Foil stamping is being integrated into more products.”

According to Tom Kirtz, president, Telstar Engineering, Burnsville, MN, “We're seeing some growth just from the smaller private brands improving the quality and ethestics of their label to compete with the bigger users.”

For converters, investing in platen or rotary hot stamping equipment can open up new markets.

When a label printer shops for rotary hot foil stamping equipment, the first choice is whether to use an electrically heated system or an oil-heated system, Kirtz explains. “The electrically heated system is quick and easy to install on a press. It's very easy to change from one die to another versus an oil-heated system, which requires breaking apart a hot oil line, draining the oil from the cavity of the rotary hot stamp cylinder, cleaning up, and starting over again. But when you get above a 16-inch-wide press, the electrically heated systems don't have enough kilowatt power to maintain constant temperature. So the larger presses running larger repeats must run oil-heated systems in order to maintain constant temperatures while hot stamping.”

According to Joyce Porter, regional sales manager/marketing director at Independent Machinery, Palatine, IL, “It's important for the equipment to accommodate a wide range of foils and substrates. In our market, everything is overlapping. Whether it's a printer going after finishing applications or it's material variances, converters need to accommodate whatever comes in.”

Application diversity also is important, says Porter. Combination die work — the ability to run foil and emboss at the same time — and hologram transfer are key. “You're not going to have a call for just blind embossing,” she says. “You have to consider doing combination work, and the design of the machine must lend itself to the diversity that's going to come your way.”

As always, minimum makereadies are a must. “Run lengths are shrinking,” says Porter, “thus the key demand is quality rather than speed. You don't need to have a racehorse to handle a 5,000-unit run. You do need to have the ability to change over your machine quickly, so computerization has really taken over. A touchpad screen is key; it gives the operator the ability to make adjustments in the heat zone on the fly.”

Kirtz reports the equipment used to manufacture engraved dies has improved with upgraded computer controls and off-line programming, and the tooling and precision have improved, making the detail of hot foil stamping better. “Some of the really fine, intricate lace patterns and images of coins and things are really improved,” he says. “There's also a broader range of foil choices for different looks. Holographics are coming on strong, and converters now have the ability to do registered holograms in-line and hot foil stamp on top of inks, something you couldn't do not so long ago.

See Telstar Engineering's narrow ribbon unwind unit on page NPD6. For more hot foil stamping products see the What's New Products section in the August 2001 issue and check on-line at www.pffc-online.

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