A Digital Package Printing Primer
Bob Leahey, Associate Director for Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, asserted packaging is a strong focus area for printers because the segment exhibits consistent growth opportunities.
During an Oct. 18 afternoon session at the 2018 SGIA Expo on “Digital Adoption in Printed Packaging Markets,” Leahey outlined three key packaging segments — folding cartons, flexible packaging and corrugated — and the rise of digital printing within each of these segments.
With “brand owners intent on mass customization,” Leahey said digital printing has been on the rise in packaging, as it also provides printers with increased operational efficiency and waste reduction.
Folding cartons, Leahey explained, are typically primary packages made from single-ply paperboard. Offset is the primary printing technology used in this segment, but digital is coming on strong. Some of the presses that have introduced digital to the carton segment are the HP Indigo 30000, Xerox iGen series and presses from Xeikon. Some inkjet solutions have arrived for the carton segment, with more on the way.
In particular, he highlighted the Heidelberg PrimeFire 106 and Landa S10, which are B1 format options, providing similar size options to what offset printers have typically used. Additionally, Leahey highlighted digital folding carton finishing solutions, such as the digital cutting solutions from Highcon, and digital embellishment solutions from MGI and Scodix.
In the flexible packaging segment, the vast majority of printed output is produced via flexographic or gravure technologies. However, digital printing has hit the scene, largely through the adoption of the HP Indigo 20000 digital press. Inkjet solutions could be on the way soon, from vendors such as ThinkLab, Fujifilm and Uteco.
Leahey explained that single-pass inkjet presses that can provide high-graphic output are beginning to see their first installations. These include the Barberán Jetmaster, EFI Nozomi C18000 and HP PageWide C500. Durst is about to join that list, with the Delta SPC 130.
Additionally, Leahey explained, inkjet solutions have also hit the scene in the preprint corrugated market, providing digital printing for corrugated liner material, which is then added to the board in the corrugating process. Examples include HP PageWide T400S and PageWide T1100.