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Differences between Laser Finishing and Analog Finishing

Differences between Laser Finishing and Analog Finishing

The value added service that every label printer is bound to provide is finishing. Finishing can be done either before or after the printing comes out of the machine i.e Inline or Offline Finishing respectively.

Inline Finishers v/s Offline Finishers

Inline finishing helps the user to simply input a certain set of instructions in the system and run them.

Typically inline finishing reduces the interruptions during the print runs. Inline finishing is best utilized for short runs since you can offer a variety of different shapes and sizes with ease.

Offline finishers are completely separated from the printing equipment. Offline finishing is great for longer runs of prints since you can do this separately from the printing.

Offline finishing is considered faster and is typically preferred when the budget is limited.

What does the word finishing entails when we refer to it with printing?

Finishing inculcates collating, cutting, trimming, padding, folding, die-cutting, laminating, numbering, drilling, binding and among other things.

Let’s dive deeper into two kinds of finishing that a printing company typically provides.

Laser Finishing

Laser finishing, otherwise known as digital finishing, is the perfect solution for companies who are printing a lot of shorter runs. This type of equipment uses laser technology to die-cut labels out and remove the waste materials.

Laser finishing can be either offline, or inline, and should typically be paired with digital presses. The reason to utilize a digital printer with a laser finisher is due to the flexibility having both will give the customer.

There are certain benefits that laser systems provide and they are as following:

Cost efficient

Laser die cutting machines reduces the man hours behind the printing process and cumulatively reduces employer’s cost.

Laser cutting machines are more expensive than the analog finishers, but it should rather be considered as an investment cost.

The flexibility that laser finishers provide will be far better than what an analog finisher can give. Typically, it takes users a minute or two to switch from one cut file to another with the laser machines. With analog, this changeover can take upwards of 15 minutes!

To die-cut labels with laser finishers is extremely easy and they work with digital printers to make the operators life much easier.


Laser label cutters precisely trim the substrates, can cut any shape, and enhances the output to make the label attractive to the eyes of the customers. With the right format provided to the printer, laser finishers can trim any size or shape of printed labels.

The ability to cut out any shape or size on demand is a great tool for your sales team. Customers will appreciate that there are no limitations to what you can print and cut for them which will keep them coming back to your business rather than searching for a new source for their labels.

Ease of Operation

Inline printers that support digital finishing generally require a periodic calibration. This calibration can take a few minutes and can easily be done by the operators of the equipment.

Not only are laser cutters for labels flexible but also very easy to operate.

It reduces lead time for the user and the laser speed on the material or the sheet ranges from 10’ to 170’ per minute.

The Anytron Anyjet II, an Inline Digital Printer and Laser Die-Cutter uses the latest laser finishing technology available. The Anyjet II comes with a Memjet Inkjet print engine inline, so users can print and cut all at once..

After the sucess of the Anyjet I, Anytron added in-line slitters and dual rewinders to the Anyjet II to make it a more robust finishing solution on the back end of the printer.

Laser finishing works best on Matt paper, Polymeric film synthetic, Polyester, Cardboard, Glossy paper, Polymide and Polypropylene. Laser die-cutter allows the user cut any shape or size efficiently.

Higher Laser Power = Higher Speeds

In terms of power, Anytron’s ANYCUT I comes with 80W of laser source. The ANYCUT II can be upgraded to 150W of laser source and ANYCUT III comes with 150W of laser source and can be upgrade to a 250W laser power source.

There is a clear distinction that the higher the laser power will give a much better laser cut than a lower power. Not to forget that the efficiency of the finishing improves as we move on from ANYCUT I to Anycut III.

Analog Finishing

Analog die-cutting is also referred to as traditional finishing. Users who have a set format and do not change frequently use analog finishing.

Analog Finishing consists of two die-cutting systems, full rotary and semi rotary die cutters.

Rotary die cutting systems use cylindrical die to cut the materials in any shape required.

Semi rotary die cutting will need change of die for every different format of label printing and depending on the operator’s skillset, the dies can be changed quickly.

Full rotary die cutting runs at full speed with automatic die pressure on/off ability. It auto syncs with the system to cut labels and manage the waste matrix.

Offset printing and screen printing are two popular techniques used for Analog finishing.

In simple words, analog finishing means producing multiple images or prints of one particular design on a roll of paper using a cylindrical die cut to perform various shapes and sizes on the prints.

Let’s talk about some benefits that analog finishing gives to its users.

Easy to Scale

Analog finishing is a widely used technology which allows for mass production of labels. Utilizing this type of finishing allows customers to quickly scale up their business for mass production.

Low Cost and Maintenance

Analog finishing is generally thought of as a lower cost solution for cutting out labels. The capital cost for this type of equipment is typically less than that of a laser. However, the costs of dies and the changeover times can add up quickly.

Also, analog finishing systems require a monthly lubrication only which makes it low on maintenance and an operator can easily perform this task.

Semi Rotary vs Full Rotary

Some users prefers Semi rotary over Full rotary, as the semi rotary comes with a flexible die plate which is cheaper when used with the magnetic cylinders on semi rotary die cut than full rotary

When we compare the advantages of a laser finishing system with that of an analog finishing system, we see that laser gives more accurate results than analog. Laser also give a faster turnaround time and is easier to pair with a digital printing option than it’s analog counter part.

Laser and Analog finishers have their own sets of benefits. Technology is helping move users from Analog to Laser finishing systems so as to reduce human interruptions in the printing process and save cost for the employers.

Having said that, there are many users who still prefer traditional printing press over the digital ones, as it gives them more control over the entire process.

For more information on label printing and equipment, visit www.arrsys.com

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