The Gold Standard

Vibrant colors and shimmering foils receive high marks at the Tag & Label Mfrs. Inst. (TLMI) 2004 awards competition. However, it's the elegant gold and black foil stamping of the Nickel & Nickel Zinfandel wine label that sets this year's standard of excellence.

Winners were announced October 26 during TLMI's 2004 annual meeting in LaQuinta, CA. A total of 107 awards were presented, including 47 first place, 22 second place, and 35 honorable mentions. Here are details on just a few of this year's winners.

Best in Show: Black & Gold Elegance
Tapp Technologies Inc., Langley, BC, takes Best in Show (and first place in the Wine & Spirits — Offset Color Process — Prime category) for its Nickel & Nickel Zinfandel wine label. The converter faces the challenge of stamping two foils in one pass with two foils at one station. The process requires foil stamped over foil, and the die-cut is difficult to maintain.

The processes used to create the wine label include 330-lpi four-color printing with extra black; gold and black foil stamping; embossing; and aqueous varnishing. Suppliers include Sanjo, Toka, Avery Dennison Fasson, Kurz, and RotoMetrics.

The company receives first place honors in the Wine & Spirits — Offset Line & Screen/Tone — Prime category for the Ledson Chardonnay 2003 wine label, as well as in the Wine & Spirits — Offset Line & Screen/Tone — Non-Prime category for its Pahlmeyer Winery neck label. The converter also earns five honorable mentions in various categories.

Warm and Cuddly
In the Flexography Color Process — Prime category, Aladdin Label Inc., Waukesha, WI, warms judges' hearts with a first place win for its Photo Teddy Bear stickers.

This job is produced with 200-line screen registration, which is difficult for four-color printing with no border support. Water-based inks are used. Suppliers include Wausau Coated Products, Arcar, RotoMetrics, Aquaflex, and DuPont digital plates.

The Cutting Edge
In the Flexography Line & Screen/Tone — Non-Prime category, Dow Industries, Wilmington, MA, cuts through the competition with the M3 Power label for Gillette. The challenge with this label is to achieve high ink densities while maintaining clean and open vignettes on a very mirror-like substrate. The integrity of the graphics reportedly are maintained with the company's fully integrated digital workflow. Tight registration is a key factor based on the design…special adjustments have to be made to the press to hold registration because of the thickness of the material, notes the company. Suppliers include FLEXcon, Sericol, RotoMetrics, DuPont Cyrel, Arsoma, and Harper Corp. of America.

The company also takes second place and honorable mention in several categories.

Pinwheel Challenge
Impressive Labels Inc., Safford, AZ, takes first place in the Flat Screen Printing — Non-Prime category for its ESP 16-LX Label. The most difficult task for this label is keeping the registration even around the pinwheel, the company reports, and the white print around the “plus” logo also is difficult to keep in register. The precise die-cuts are said to be challenging, too. Suppliers include Lexan and Nor-Cote Intl.

Fighting Anime
Label Technology Inc., Merced, CA, fights through stiff competition to take first place honors for Capcom's “Blade Warriors” trading card wrapper in the Roll-to-Roll Color Process — Prime category. The high-end image has to match a folding carton, and it's run flexo on difficult material at 150 lpi with water-based inks. Suppliers include Paper Converting Machine Co., DuPont Cyrel, Nexus Plastics, and NAPZ.

The company also earns first place in the same category for Flanicci Natural Peel skin treatment packette.

Simple Elegance
Collotype Labels Pty. Ltd., Adelaide, Australia, receives first place in the Wine & Spirits category for its Graham Beck wine label. The label's five-color rotary offset printing with gold silkscreen, varnish silkscreen, and rotary graining is challenging.

Suppliers include Nilpeter, Flint Ink, Ruco Ink, Rotra Pacific, Fuji, and Avery Dennison.

The company also receives four honorable mentions in various categories.

Illuminating Labels
Graphic Solutions Intl., Burr Ridge, IL, shines with its electroluminescent lamp, which provides back light for mobile phone displays and keypads. This entry takes first place in the Tags Industrial and/or Systems category. The tolerances on this job are what make it technically challenging, the company reports. Color-to-color registration is ±0.25 mm. Print to die-cut registration also is ±0.25 mm. Dies are supplied by Apple Die; other supplier information is proprietary.

The company also receives an Innovator Award in the same category for its 1.5-V printed battery that powers micro-electronic applications in the novelty, radio frequency identification, cosmetic, and medical industries.

A Cool Competitor
The Smirnoff Ice Low Carb beverage label chills at the top with a first place honor for Spear, Mason, OH, in the Gravure Line — Prime category. This label is printed seven-color plus laminate at 600 fpm. It was converted from a screen/hot stamp label for cost savings and additional gloss. Suppliers include Avery Dennison, FLEXcon, Sun Chemical, ADT, and RotoMetrics.

The converter also takes a first place award in the Flat Screen Printing Line — Prime category for its Kipling Light beer label.

Digital Gets It Done
Using an HP digital press, Prestige Label Co. earns first place in the Plateless Printing category for Waterman's White Wine label. The clarity of the detailed image and the sharpness of the text is enhanced by the effect of reversing out five colors (four-color process plus white) on top of a pressure-sensitive foil. The achievement of this label, which was run in short runs of multiple versions, is to yield an expensive look at a fraction of the cost typically associated with foil-stamped labels. Other suppliers include Fasson, Metallized Paper, Rotoflex, RotoMetrics, and Craig.

The converter also earns a first place in the Promotional category for its Stacker Push/Pull label.

Innovator Award: Tracing Know-How
Designed for fingerprinting by law enforcement in any location, Corporate Express, Fresno, CA, receives the Innovator Award for its Fingerprint Foil in the Flexography Line — Non-Prime category. A special fingerprinting “non-drying” 150-fpm ink is sandwiched between two layers of film. Foil is flexo printed using water-based and proprietary fingerprinting inks. Suppliers include Plastic Suppliers, WIT, DuPont Cyrel, and Mark Andy.

The following converters also receive First Place awards for these North American entries:

  • Amherst Label for American Red Cross
  • Hub Labels for Crowley Dairy
  • Lauterbach Group for American Lung Leaves
  • LogoTech for Spiderman Foam Soap
  • LSK Label Co. for Winston Hill
  • McDowell Label & Screen Printing for Bronze Express, Purple Daze, and Bronzer
  • Multi-Color Corp. for Dawn Complete 600 ml
  • Northstar Print Group for Icehouse Premium Beer and Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest Lager
  • Packaging Solutions Corp. for Hummingbird Hook
  • Quality Assured Label for 429 ml Raid Protector
  • Spectrum Label Corp. for Prestone Windshield Heat Canadian Backs and Kikkoman Toasted Sesame Marinade
  • Valley Forge Tape & Label Co. for Johnnie Walker Direct Marketing Label Set

Judging this year's competition were Steve Lee, RotoMetrics; J. Page Crouch; Ray Mackura, Avery Dennison, Fasson Roll NA; Robert J. Smithson, Trinity Graphic USA; Mike Buystedt, ANI Printing; Patrick Hague, Water Ink Technologies; Dilip Shah, Nilpeter USA; and Paul Teachout, Aquaflex.

For a complete list of winners contact TLMI, 40 Shuman Blvd, Ste. 295; Naperville, IL 60563; tlmi.com.



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