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Hub Labels Inc. is a large and diversified manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labels. Their 110,000- square foot facility in Hagerstown, Maryland is dedicated to label quality and innovation.
Hub Labels provides a diverse portfolio of capabilities from environmentally-friendly linerless labels for food packaging, to clear film and pressure-sensitive labels for maximum shelf appeal. The company serves a broad range of markets including beverage, wine/spirits, health/beauty, household products, and many other consumer goods.
Hub Labels was shopping for a new digital press technology to provide rotogravuretype detail and quality. The customer first previewed the Gallus Labelfire 340 Digital/ Flexo Hybrid press at Labelexpo Europe 2015 in Brussels, and after running subsequent trials at the Gallus demo center in St. Gallen, they decided to commit to a purchase. The press was delivered in February 2017 and became operational in March. It combines the latest in digital printing technology with the additional benefits of conventional printing.
On the digital side, it features the latest inkjet technology with 7 colors plus white and 1200 dpi resolution (best available in the industry), plus three flexo conventional print units. The new digital press is geared towards shorter runs and is also capable of handling variable text and image personalization. The Gallus Labelfire complements Hub Labels’ full service, onestop solution to their existing customers as well as enticing new customers, especially in the craft beer/spirits and food markets, where private branding and specialization are critical.
Said Hub president Thomas Dahbura, “This is the first digital press I’ve seen that does what I want. It integrates everything from the roll to finished labels – including flexo, screen, digital and die-cutting — without secondary operations.” Continued Dahbura, “I was impressed by how much energy and capital has been invested in this system from all three partners, Gallus, Heidelberg and Fuji. While we’ve seen others with excellent resolution of 600×600 dpi, this machine, at 1200×1200 dpi, is just amazing.”
Label Guru Dahbura states, “The most incredible thing that we’re experiencing is the increase in quality. This machine – it’s a game changer from a quality standpoint.”
When another printing company tapped Hub Labels as a potential back-up vendor for some of their high-end work, they were so impressed with the color and detail in the samples from the Labelfire 340 that Hub was awarded the project.
Dahbura explains, “We did a trial for them and we qualified. I printed an image of a woman and the detail, going from 600dpi to 1200dpi, was unbelievable. In the flexo version, her hand had a visible rosette pattern, but on the digital version the skin was a lot smoother. This machine is in a class by itself.”
Purchasing one of the first US-bound Gallus Labelfire 340 presses follows a tradition of being an early adopter which was started by Thomas’ parents. Hub Labels has always been on the forefront of advances in the label printing industry. The company was one of the first to introduce four-color process, computer-to-plate technology, digital printing, servo-driven presses, and many other innovations. Their customer base has grown from a handful in the 1970s to over 650 active customers today, with several multinational accounts and customers based all over the US. While Hub has grown to be one of the largest label companies in the US, it steadfastly maintains its family-owned tradition and dedication to quality and service that has made it one of the industry’s success stories.
The Gallus Labelfire 340 is a single-pass, in-line solution incorporating flexo and digital printing and converting, delivering stunning 1200 dpi resolution at 50 m/min line speeds. Rotary screen can be added in one of the flexo stations to produce tactile screen finishes. And like every Gallus press, the Labelfire 340 comes with the highest level of customer support and service.