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The value of digital printing in the current packaging market

Many packaging printers consider the idea of investing in digital printing. It is therefore initially helpful when making an investment decision to take a close look at the technologies and current market trends.


These days, more than ever, the consumer is in the driver’s seat when it comes to how, when and where – or even whether – marketing messages are considered. For this reason, brands are adapting their marketing programs to make them more personal and relevant. This can be in the form of personal messaging to a specific type of consumer or through the use of versioning to target specific demographic or psychographic groups.  Read the full article in our eDossier “The value of digital printing in the current packaging market”.

And this change does not only affect marketing messages; brand owners are also diversifying their products in order to better target specific regions, seasons, customer groups, events, etc. The result? A growing volume of short-run labels and packaging that can often be too costly to produce using conventional production methods. This is where digital printing comes in. Today’s digital presses can not only produce short runs – even down to a quantity of one – cost-efficiently, but there is no compromise in quality.

Forward-thinking label and packaging converters who are striving to adapt to the new market realities often adopt digital printing primarily as an alternative to conventional printing in order to reduce costs – not only in the printing process for shorter, more targeted production runs, but also to take advantage of workflow automation and digital finishing solutions. But to take full advantage of the possibilities enabled by digital printing, converters must look beyond simply reducing costs and think about how these technologies might be applied to new opportunities, new business models and applications that were previously not available to them: full personalization, just-in-time production, web-to-print offerings, to name just a few.

A good example of this was demonstrated at IPEX 2014. In cooperation with CHILI Publish (providing a web-to-print online editor) and the Belgian toy manufacturer Clics, Xeikon established an online portal that allowed Clics’ customers to pre-order, from a number of variants, a toy box with personalized packaging through the website. The campaign required the cost-efficient production of high quality, short-run, personalized folding cartons, and the only way this type of high-margin application can be produced is with digital print.

Choosing the right digital press

There are many criteria a packaging converter should consider prior to making an investment in digital printing. These include size and format of the digital press and environmental requirements such as room temperature and humidity as well as dust sensitivity. Converters should also verify what types and weights of substrates can be used, and whether any type of primer, coating or other treatment is required. 

Cost of consumables is another issue that should be considered, as digital presses often carry a completely different business model than conventional converters may be used to. These questions are directly related to the type of digital printing technology ultimately selected: ink/inkjet or toner/electrophotographic, the two major classes of digital printing for labels and packaging. Learn more about the “The value of digital printing in the current packaging market” – you can easily download it in our shop.

This article was first published in Flexo & Gravure Global isssue 3-2015.

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