“Waterless printing not only offers the highest quality printing in the industry, it is also the most environmentally friendly,”
Tapp Label Technologies
Located in the heart of one of the world’s premier winemaking regions—California’s Napa Valley—Tapp Label is North America’s second largest wine label producer. With the acquisition of the assets and hiring of the employees of its neighboring company, Ben Franklin Press & Label Co., Tapp Label now employs 150 people in their two facilities in Napa, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Tapp Label operates an impressive collection of ten waterless offset presses—more than any other company in North America— as well as some of the best equipment in digital printing and finishing. Tapp also offers combination flexographic printing to meet the exacting needs of some of the best-known wine producers, vineyards and wineries of all sizes around the world.
Dennis Patterson, whose Napa-based Ben Franklin Press & Label Co. assets were acquired by Tapp Label in February of 2013, has been a leading proponent of waterless offset printing and is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the International Waterless Printing Association (IWPA). As an innovator in wine-label printing for decades, Dennis, now General Manager at Tapp in Napa, is responsible for managing not only the waterless offset division in Napa but also Tapp’s continuing commitment to production quality and efficiency in the manner demanded by the company’s many eco-friendly clients in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. “The merging of Ben Franklin’s assets and experienced employee base into our recently expanded Napa operations was the perfect strategic fit in our core market and for our constituents,” says Tapp CEO John Attayek.
From the intricate designs and embellishments on the labels they produce, Tapp Label has earned dozens of printing's most prestigious accolades, including five Benny statues—for highest recognition of excellence in printing, awarded by the Printing Industries of America—and many top awards from the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI).
In the same doting way that Napa’s vineyards and wineries nurture their grapes, Tapp Label carefully and artfully produces internationally recognized wine labels. Catering to high-end, well-known brands and many of the high-volume household-name brands prevalent across North America demands the utmost in creative innovation, service, quality, and color consistency. Being situated in Napa and Vancouver, where passion for the environment and eco-friendly standards are at their highest, raises the bar even higher. Tapp Label has met these demands by installing six Sanjo narrow-web, waterless offset label presses in Vancouver and another four in Napa, while using waterless offset plates manufactured by Toray.
Over 70 percent of Tapp’s label printing utilizes UV waterless lithography. The remainder of their production is carried out on two digital presses, for projects in which CMYK color is acceptable to the client or for label projects that require serialized numbering or variable imaging. Tapp Label has finishing presses that can answer any design embellishment needs including multi-station, hot-stamp emboss/deboss, UV flexo spot colors, and high build for screen printing, among other features.
“Waterless printing not only offers the highest quality printing in the industry, it is also the most environmentally friendly,” says waterless evangelist Dennis Patterson.
One of Tapp Label’s most advanced waterless, pressure-sensitive label presses was designed by Patterson and partially manufactured by Sanjo, making it the first international press built just for the wine industry. Patterson's goal was "to put together a machine that would excel in the kind of high quality and exacting printing required for wine labels, offer options for embellishment, provide the 'greenest' production possible, and do it at a competitive price."
The press offers eight different printing technologies in-line: waterless offset, flexo, letterpress and flatbed silk screening, foil stamping and embossing, and spot or overall aqueous or UV coating. The flatbed silkscreen unit can achieve many different effects, including high builds, glitter images, and anti-counterfeiting. The multiple foil stamping and embossing units are also flatbed, which allows for higher quality reproduction with more cost-effective tooling than can be achieved with rotary dies. The hot stamping heads have foil saving devices that cut down significantly on foil waste. Coating on the press can be either UV or aqueous, overall or spot, which will allow for a number of different effects. The die cutter on the press was specifically designed to die cut the environmentally friendly and recyclable 1.2 PET liner.
In addition to utilizing waterless offset technology, which eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to greenhouse gases, Tapp’s waterless presses are powered by superefficient servo drivers that reduce paper and ink waste throughout the printing process.
Over a decade ago, Patterson introduced stochastic screening as another tool in his production capabilities. Stochastic screening, also called high-definition or FM screening, uses random dots to produce brighter and richer colors and images. Stochastic screening offers clearer and sharper images, smooth tonal transitions, and vibrant colors. It also reduces color variations throughout the run, and achieves the same ink coverage on the paper while running at lower ink densities. Stochastic screening allows Tapp Label to lay down 300 line screen ink resolutions to deliver vivid color in the highly artistic and imaginative specialty of wine labeling.
“The wine label industry pushes the envelope to produce the highest quality,” says Patterson. “Their designers are talented and bring us very unique label creations. Their demands are steep and we produce wine label jobs that have never been produced before. Some of our labels even contain art reproductions.”
In addition to using waterless printing, Tapp Label has been steadily improving its environmental profile in other ways. They successfully completed an audit for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification. They have also partnered with Napa Valley Recycling in reducing its landfill waste; the firm has implemented single-stream recycling and has increased its recycling contribution. The Napa plant’s solar powered roof is also helping with energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint.
Tapp Label has achieved success in leading-edge markets in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and Western Canada through a combination of technological savvy, production efficiency, and concern for the environment, enabling the Tapp Label team to meet the demands of the creative and graphically innovative wine industry. Waterless offset printing has played a major part in both the success of Tapp Label and in the production of some of the most beautiful and attention-grabbing wine labels in the world. Here’s a toast to Tapp Label and waterless printing: a perfect match!