New Opportunities in Digital Packaging

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »
  Today digital printing in packaging is primarily used for prototypes and short run labels. This is eerily familiar to the early days of digital document printing. Been there, seen that – know where that’s gone: Through the roof! Digitally printed page volumes have increased over 750% since 2003, and are projected to hit 130 billion pages by 2015. That growth is being driven by relevant direct mail, transpromo and marketing collateral, not short run quick copies.
So let’s not miss the digital packaging train – there is huge opportunity here.

The packaging market is certainly complex and challenging, with thousands of applications printed on a wide variety of substrates ranging from paper to corrugated, cardboard, aluminum, foil, and an array of plastic films. Packages not only have to be printed, but also die-cut, foil-stamped, and converted or assembled in a factory environment. Yet while printing on numerous substrates is not simple, recent advances in inkjet printing offer the ability to print on a wider range of substrates than ever before.

As print volumes increase, the cost of ink is expected to decline, raising the breakeven point with flexography or offset even higher. And once that happens, brand owners and converters will begin to realize that digital printing enables a lot more than short run.

Those emerging opportunities are varied, exciting, and best of all, profitable:  print-on-demand models, more versioning or customization, personalization or reduced cycle times. There will be opportunities to re-engineer the supply chain to create additional value or reduce costs.

And as PODi & Caslon President Rab Govil recently said, “The packaging market is intriguing as it is one printing market that in general, isn’t being replaced by electronic alternatives.”

If you are exploring the digital packaging arena, you’ll soon be able to find resources at PODi. Our new digital packaging initiative kicks off later this year with publication of a study on what’s driving growth in labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging. There will also be sessions on digital packaging at 2012’s AppForum.

Already working with digital packaging? Share your case studies and help us build a great resource for the future.


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