Digital Printing Takes Hold for Drum Labels

Posted by Performance Coatings Team on 05/09/2019

Just a few short years ago, digital printing on drum labels was cost prohibitive, with prices more than two to three times that of pre-printed label stock. But today, advanced technology has significantly lowered the cost of digital color inkjet printing for drum labelling, making variable data a reality, while also meeting legally mandated drum label performance requirements.


The cost efficiencies and flexibility of digital printing for drum labels offers benefits to a variety of stakeholders across a company. Operations gains added flexibility and a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). Procurement also realizes a lower TCO and more satisfied internal customers. The shipping manager enjoys an easier-to-use solution. Marketing benefits through enhanced branding to make products stand out more while also enhancing the customer experience. The IT manager benefits from ease of integration and ease of maintenance.


The benefits of digitally printing drum labels are enticing for many roles involved, but the benefits won’t matter if labels, and what’s printed on them, aren’t designed to last. Drum labels and the inks used to print on them must perform consistently throughout a variety of hostile environments, conditions and temperatures. To be successful, the digital solution must also deliver fast printing and high performance without failures.


For chemical and hazardous material drum labels, the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) mandates the use of red pictograms to identify chemical and handling hazards inside the drum in a uniform way. On-demand printing has become a smart choice to meet GHS requirements and any other regulatory requirements.


Digital Printing at Work

As a supplier of advanced ink and coating solutions, Lubrizol has fully embraced digital printing for many years. But, it wasn’t until last year that Lubrizol’s worldwide manufacturing facilities made the switch to on-demand color label printers for industrial-strength GHS label printing.


With the introduction of new media types that meet tough BS5609 requirements while delivering a brighter whiter face stock, Lubrizol decided to make the move to lower its total cost of ownership for drum label printing.


The results have proven to be as expected, if not better. In 2018, we realized a 20 percent reduction in drum printing TCO for labels, printers and ink. We’re also meeting increasing demands from complexity in regulatory issues and customer expectations, while better showcasing the Lubrizol brand and meeting the ever-growing demand for private labeling products.


The switch to digital printing has proven to be a simple solution that enhances workflow and helps reduce errors, allowing companies like Lubrizol in the chemical space to produce quality labels—even in harsh conditions—that meet legally mandated requirements at an affordable cost.


In this video, Lubrizol professionals discuss the process and benefits of integrating digital printing into its drum labelling operations.


Performance Coatings Team

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