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Packaging Commentary & Analysis

INKredible Insight: Packaging Is Part of the “Omni” in “Omnichannel”

It wasn’t the sole focus of the event, but packaging was well represented in INKredible’s salute to print’s place at the table in the omnichannel environment.


New Inkjet Press Lets Graphic Image Label Get Better at What It Does Best

A label shop serving customers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border found everything it was looking for, and more, in a highly capable inkjet web press from Epson.


The Regulated Package: Product Container and Social Contract (Premium Content)

Given all of the mandates and expectations placed on packaging today, there may be something socially significant to add to the list of traditional packaging functions.


From Sharklet and Sappi, a Release Paper that Takes a Big Bite out of Bacterial Growth

Neoterix ST gives medical institutions and other germ-fighting environments the first completely non-toxic solution for blocking bacterial growth on high-touch surfaces.


The View from “Oz”: Label and Packaging Producers Chart a Changing Business Landscape

To many, Australia may seem to be on the far side of the world, but the business issues confronting packaging and label producers there are much the same as they are anywhere else. A recent conference by a newly formed trade association addressed some of them.


RadTech Europe Evaluates UV/EB Ink Curing for Food-Safe Packaging

Radiation-curable inks and coatings represent a world market that is forecast to grow at a healthy CAGR of 4.1% to 2019, with cartons and labels claiming the largest share. But, making sure that curable fluids are safe for food packages remains a prime concern for the entire packaging supply chain.


“Push to Stop” the Presses: Heidelberg Demonstrates Concept of Autonomous, Navigated Printing (Premium Content)

Imagine a press so thoroughly automated that it almost seems to be a member of its own crew. This is what Heidelberg says it has made possible with the concept it calls “Push to Stop.”


HP PageWide: Georgia-Pacific Deal Revealed; Corrugated Print Systems Ramping Up

The first sale to a U.S. customer refocuses attention on the 110" inkjet platform with which HP intends to revolutionize printing on corrugated.


At Graph Expo 2016, a Respectable Showing for Labels and Packaging

Although not a show about labels and packaging per se, Graph Expo proved to be a worthwhile place to go for information on innovative ways of producing them.


A Toast—and Another One—to the Genius of Corrugated

Corrugated packaging protects effectively, presents handsomely, and succeeds environmentally. What’s not to like or to give credit where due?


You Are the Package. Do You Like What You See?

We interact with packages so much and so often that we sometimes begin to merge with them—and they with us.


Packaging Innovations Are in the Vanguard of the Fight to End Food Waste

Food waste is a shameful spectacle wherever it occurs. The problem is global, but so are efforts to solve it with new solutions for extending the edible lives of packaged foods.


Report from drupa 2016: The Latest in Short Run and Digital

What will motivate packaging printers to adopt digital presses? Personalization may be a key selling point, but it isn’t primarily what will drive installation of these machines.


The Lure Of Digital Packaging: A Printing Industry Growth Area

If the rise of digital printing for packaging is starting to look irresistible, there are reasons —technological and market-driven—behind the momentum it is gathering.


Avery Expands Its Reach in GHS Labels

Embracing international standards, OSHA now has a new set of rules for designing labels used with hazardous materials. Label giant Avery offers tools to make compliance easier.


CI Flexo Technology for Packaging and Family Values for Leadership Are Showcased at PCMC Impact 2016

The Paper Converting Machine Company is North America’s only remaining manufacturer of CI flexo presses. It’s also distinguished by the humanistic style of its leadership—a management philosophy that cherishes employees as family members.


Fujifilm Introduces EUCON as the Press That Makes Inkjet Feasible for Flexible Packaging

The disconnect between flexible packaging and inkjet printing is wide, but not necessarily unbridgeable. Fujifilm thinks it has the answer in an innovative LED-UV inkjet press it showed at drupa 2016.


Insight: Four Key Trends Shaping the Industrial Packaging Market

Making packages more recyclable, lighter, shapelier, and safer will be the principal drivers for the industrial packaging market through to 2020.


Highlights: 2016 AWA Global Release Liner Industry Conference & Exhibition

Release liners and specialty tapes may not be the highest-profile segments of labeling, but their applications span a surprisingly wide range of commercial and industrial end-uses. A recent conference in Vienna underscored their role and importance.


The Nutrition Facts Label Gets a Makeover, and the Label Industry Gets a Mandate

In one way or another, the changes will alter the labeling of virtually every packaged food and beverage product. But, label producers expect to be able to take it all in stride.


Packaging Material Moving Towards a $1 Trillion Milestone in 2020

The demand for packaging is growing everywhere, but the growth is far from being uniform or monolithic. As always, consumer trends and preferences dictate which packaging formats will gain the most market share.


Start-Up Label Producer Seeks Short-Run, Multi-SKU Opportunities

A new label and package printing company is open for business in Lowell, MA. It's called InTouch Labels & Packaging, and while its start-up footprint may be small, its ambitions are anything but.


Greenfield and 100% Digital, ePac LLC Sets Its Sights Exclusively on Flexible Packaging (Premium Content)

Digital printing for flexible packaging has been slow to take hold, but a start-up company in Madison, WI, says it is equipped and ready for a fast break into this potentially lucrative market.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 2)

The business of printing labels and packaging is changing with almost unnerving speed. Made reassuringly clear at drupa was the fact that new technologies for label and packaging production can give printers the capabilities they must have.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 1)

drupa 2016 wasn’t exclusively a packaging show, but for label- and packaging-minded visitors, it might as well have been—there was that much to see and be impressed by.


Innovative Labeling Solutions Ramps Up in Flexible Packaging

Ohio based Innovative Labeling Solutions and HP Indigo are out to demonstrate that digital printing can become as widely used for flexible packaging as it is for labels.


drupa 2016 to Shine a Light on Packaging

SKU proliferation and the difficulty of staying relevant are challenging brand owners as never before. The answers they seek in digitally printed labels and packages await them in abundance at drupa.


Pride of Place for Labels and Packaging at Pazazz

Warren Werbitt is a passionate printer, and one of his most successfully cultivated passions is the production of high-quality, high-margin labels and packaging.


Innovative Digital Print Production Strategies Drive Dramatic Growth at Quality Tape and Label

In 2008, this full-service label & packaging company saw the writing on the wall with respect to the looming impact of digital printing technologies on its business and wanted to get ahead of the curve with digital adoption.


Eyes on the Packaging and Labels Prize: an Interview with Sappi’s Mark Odgers (Premium Content)

Sappi’s credentials as a supplier of coated fine papers are impeccable. Now the company is taking steps to achieve the same high profile as a source of papers for packaging and labels.


Personalized Packaging is Here

For printers and packaging converters looking to take advantage of the market opportunities offered by customized or personalized packaging, the Zoxxbox story is an interesting one. Learn how the company is leveraging digital tools to make customized packaging an affordable reality in this article sponsored by XMPie.


HP Previews Extensive Catalog of Print Innovations for drupa 2016 (Part II)

HP’s sense of itself as a change agent for digital printing is strong. The very broad range of digital solutions it will show at drupa 2016 befits the size of its ambition.


How Labels and Packaging Can “Touch the Future”: an Interview with drupa’s Sabine Geldermann

A decision to attend drupa 2016 represents a major investment of time and travel expense. The director of the global event talks about why label and packaging producers are among those who should most seriously consider making it.


Digital Package Printing As an Innovation Tool for Consumer Brands: an Interview with Mike Ferrari (Premium Content)

Digital printing is no longer a tangential technology for packaging—it’s a mainstream process for brands that want to stay fully engaged with consumers. An authority on brand management explains why.


Labels and Packaging: Entrepreneurial Springboard for Che International Group

To build a multi-capable network of companies, what better place to begin than the label and packaging business? Just ask Christopher Che.


Packaging Finds Its Proper Place on the Agenda at EFI Connect 2016

The user conference was too wide-ranging to have a single keynote, but it was a good place to catch up with what EFI is doing to streamline packaging workflows.


No Packaging Necessary—No Question?

There are those who envision a future free or nearly free of packaging. Although it might seem unachievable, some tentative steps in that direction have been taken.


Fresh, Flexible, and Family-Inspired: Values that Breed Success at Emerald Packaging

Look around the produce section of your supermarket. Notice how many colorfully printed flexible bags there are? Meet the company that put some of them there.


Heidelberg Crosses the Digital Divide: an Interview with Jason Oliver (Premium Content)

Now a committed developer of digital printing systems, Heidelberg knows where it wants to go in the digital equipment market and what it can do to get there.


Digital Applications Make Gains in Packaging, but Progress Is Hard Won

A special report ahead of drupa 2016 sees the event as the setting for a turning point in the adoption of digital printing for packaging production.


#SharePackage Puts Holiday Boxes to Compassionate Use

A promotional campaign for paper and packaging goes for the heartstrings with special boxes to be filled with gifts for kids spending the holidays in hospitals.


Tech Trends for Labels and Packaging: the Year in Review

2015 was a chock-full-of-news year on the technology front—but only a curtain-raiser for what lies ahead in 2016.


Stocking Stuffers: “The 12 Days of Packaging”

Santa Claus, who knows a thing or two about packaging, has a sackful of innovations for fans of the art form this year.


Aiming at Packaging, HP and KBA Introduce the Widest Inkjet Web Press Yet Developed (Premium Content)

Two technology leaders want to take digital printing for packaging to the next level—and to several levels after that—with a 110-inch-wide web inkjet press specifically for the corrugated market.


Expect New Looks and New Roles for Corrugated

Take another look at the tried-and-true stuff that shipping cartons are made of. Some top developers of packaging printing technology are.


“We Say Yes Where Others Say No”: At Island Pro Digital, Words to Live and Work by (Premium Content)

Packaging isn’t everything at Island Pro Digital, a printing company with a highly diversified product base. But, it represents some of the most interesting work that the firm fabricates for its clients.


Thermochromic Imaging: the Color Shift That’s Supposed to Happen

That old hippie mood ring you’d die of embarrassment to be seen wearing now? It was the cutting edge of an important decorative technology for labels and packaging.


Growth in Folding Cartons to 2019 Will Be Meager but Measurable, says Paperboard Packaging Council (Premium Content)

A growth forecast of half a percentage point per year may not sound like much, but it indicates undeniable post-recession momentum for the folding carton market.


How Quality Comes in a “Chain Reaction” at New York Label & Box Works (Premium Content)

A label and carton company doesn’t get to be 137 years old without having made an unwavering commitment to quality. The 137-year-old label and carton company profiled here has done it by adopting a well-known philosophy of continuous improvement as its playbook.


From “Packademia,” Solutions Not to Be Sniffed at (Premium Content)

Stink-squelching film, inkless color printing, and built-in 3D bar codes are three recent laboratory innovations that could be commercialized as packaging problem-solvers.


Labelexpo 2015: What Keeps a Trade Show Young?

Exhibits at this innovation-packed event said it all about the accelerating advance of digital technologies into every segment of the label printing market.


Label Seminar in Brussels Reviews the State of the Release Liner Segment

Pressure-sensitive labels account for half of all release liner applications. Conferees at this event found no shortage of opportunities to discuss technical advances and market challenges.


Is There Enough Extra Room in That Package for a Lawsuit?

People don’t like packages that look as though they contain more than is actually inside them. But, prosecutors and class-action attorneys do.


TruTag Technologies Pushes Back Against the Pharma Fakers, One Tablet at a Time

A dust-sized anti-counterfeiting tag for medicine pills? Turns out the idea isn’t hard to swallow or digest.


As Publication Markets Decline, SAPPI Steps Up Its Profile in Packaging

Anyone who has ever picked up a glossy magazine probably has touched SAPPI publication paper. Now the company hopes to achieve the same kind of ubiquity with its packaging papers.


Four Key Trends Driving Flexible Packaging

The advantages of flexible films—economy, versatility, convenience, and bio-adaptability—will make flexible packaging one of the most opportune growth markets in packaging over the next several years.


Wrapping Up Packaging at Graph Expo 2015

Those who came to the show in search of answers for packaging production should have had no trouble locating them in the vendor stands and specialty areas where packaging solutions were being featured.


How Graphic Measures International Cultivates Packaging’s “Best of the Best in the World”

Not every packaging printer has what it takes to pass muster with this performance-certifying organization. But, those that clear GMI’s high bar can claim elite status among packaging service suppliers.


Packaging Production Will Have a High Profile at Graph Expo-CPP

Packaging professionals who haven’t yet decided whether to invest in a trip to the show still have time to give the idea the serious consideration it deserves.


Is It a Package, or Is It a Warning Sign?

It’s impossible to take controversy out of certain kinds of products—or the packages they come in. More consumer-goods packaging is starting to feel the heat.


Walter G. Anderson Thrives on Change in An Increasingly Complex Food Packaging Market (Premium Content)

As consumers demand more variety, food packaging production gets harder to stay ahead of—but not if the producer is as well equipped and as versatile as this market leader.


Study Sees Underlying Strength in the U.S. Market for Flexography

Technical advancements and process improvements in flexography should keep it secure in its key applications. even in the face of competition from digital.


Global Flexible Packaging Market Set for Rapid Growth

Advancements in flexible materials have made them mainstay substrates for food and beverage packaging all around the world. A new report foresees solid growth for the sector in most regions from now through 2020.


Q: When Is a Package Not a Package? A: When Inspiration Strikes

For many people, an empty package is an artist’s kit full of creative opportunity. Brand owners may not fully appreciate how they benefit when their packaging is repurposed for fun or practicality by end-using consumers.


Reinventing Business: Making the Move to Digital Packaging (Premium Content)

According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, some leaders freeze instead of acting because they are concerned about the consequences of change. This article explores how McBattas disrupted the status quo and reinvented itself with digital folding cartons.


Are We Printing More Nutritional Labels than There Are Eyes Willing to Read Them?

Companies that print food labels work hard to make sure that the information on them is correct. It’s a matter of professional pride and, very often, also one of complying with the law. But, out there in the consumer marketplace, who cares?


Hybrid Press Profile: FFEI Graphium Updated (Premium Content)

Flexo and inkjet make a whole greater than the sum of the parts in an advanced UV label press that combines the most useful features of each process.


Yes We “Can,” and Do, Says New Promo Campaign for Aluminum Containers

“Open Up to Cans” is what consumers are being urged to do by a can makers’ trade association. But, when it come to beverages, most already have.


Refining Packaging Cycle Time: The “Last Mile” Power of Digital

Packaging is one area of the printing industry where growth continues. But it is not without its challenges. Learn how leading packaging converters are leveraging digital technology to address time-to-market challenges and developing new revenue streams in this article sponsored by Highcon.


Not with A Pop, but A Whimper

What would Bubble Wrap be without poppability? Alas, we are about to find out.


Business Success Is All in the Family at Prystup Packaging Products

This privately owned folding carton company follows a straight line from its family values to its strategies for business growth.


Conferees Roll Up Sleeves for Close Look at Growth of Sleeve Labeling Market

Sleeves are coming on strong as labeling options as numerous technological advances make them more attractive to work with. A recent event in Florida covered some of the most important ones.


“Cluster” of Companies Aims to Stimulate Papermaking Industry in the Bay State

There’s strength in numbers—and in “clusters” of businesses like the ones that have come together to reinvigorate paper manufacturing in Massachusetts.


Man of Letters: Hermann Zapf and the Art of Packaging Typography

Typography for packaging design will never be the same after Hermann Zapf—and always will be.


Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies Tell Packaging Knock-Offs To Knock It Off

In a perfect world, food and beverage producers wouldn't have to spend billions to protect themselves against bogus packaging. But, at least they have effective ways to spend the money.


Next-Stage Growth Was Front-of-Mind at Digital Print for Packaging Conference

Digital printing for packaging has room to grow and the means to achieve that growth. There was plenty of room for discussion about making it happen at a recent symposium of experts in Tampa.


The Pizza Box—Yes, the Pizza Box—Reimagined

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it may be because someone has printed or drawn the moon (or another visually arresting image) on the box.


Two Paper Makers Forge Alliance for High-End Packaging (Premium Content)

Trust, a handshake, and an eye on luxury packaging are behind the newly formed partnership between Mohawk and Arjowiggins Creative Papers.


In Praise of Packaging Engineering, with Specimens that Speak for Themselves (Premium Content)

In a package, you see the design, but you experience the engineering: the underlying combination of technical merits that make it practical to use as well as delightful to behold.


Why Can’t We All Be Employed by Employers Like Hammer Packaging ?

Rochester, NY, is distinguished for many things connected to the printing industry. Hammer Packaging is keeping that tradition alive in an exceptionally employee-friendly way.


Eeewww or Edible? Nanoscience May Have an Answer for Food Packaging

Deciding when packaged food has gone bad is a tough call that we often get wrong. At MIT, they’ve come up with a guesswork-eliminating solution.


With Flexcel NX, Kodak Promises to Break New Ground in Flexo Print Quality and Efficiency

Can flexography do a better job with opaque whites, hard-to-hold details, and other hurdles for packaging printing with the process? Kodak says yes.


Xerox iGen 4 for Folding Cartons: An Update from Europe (Premium Content)

If you don’t think of Xerox’s iGen4 as a packaging press, think again. In Europe, the platform is showing off what it can do in folding cartons for consumer-product and pharmaceutical applications.


PET Project: Label-less Labeling

Every beverage bottle must have a label to identify and brand the product—correct? Not necessarily, says the developer of a direct-printing alternative.


“R&D” on a Digital Press Takes Premier Markings to the Next Level in Label Production

Established seven years ago, this small but visionary shop is a case study in the rise of digital technologies in the label printing segment.


Garbage In, Garbage Out, Good Accomplished

How an earth-friendly cleaning products company called method scours the ocean for plastic waste it can recycle into material for new containers.


Sun Chemical Heads to INFO*FLEX with a Full Kit of Packaging Solutions (Premium Content)

A vertically integrated ink manufacturer, Sun Chemical takes a concept-to-shelf approach to packaging with a broad range of products and services for printers and converters.


Not Sure How to Recycle That Package? Look at the Label

The How2Recycle Label is a much-needed visual cue in the right place at the right time.


What’s My Line? Some Labelers Say, “Linerless”

Eliminate the peel-away part of a pressure sensitive label while protecting it from the adhesive on the backs of the other labels it’s rolled or stacked with: it can be done and is being done in the solution known as linerless labeling.


Brother and Domino: An Important New Combination in Industrial Printing (Premium Content)

With its acquisition of Domino Printing Sciences, Brother Industries has made a strong move into industrial inkjet printing with applications including high-speed, full-color label production.


“Dear Packaging, I Hate You”

When designers forget that that the product experience, not the act of opening the package, is what consumers are paying for, things can get stressful.


Packaging Plants Are on the Rise

While we are waiting for flowers to bloom in the spring, we can admire the recent crop of plant openings or expansions in various segments of the packaging industry.


HP and KBA Take Aim at Corrugated Packaging Market with HP’s T1100 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press (Premium Content)

High, wide, and in its own way, handsome: that’s the kind of machine HP and KBA are out to build in HP’s T1100 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press, a solution meant to introduce digital printing to top liners for corrugated packaging.


Learning the Language of Labeling

The Constantia Flexibles Labels Division of Spear Inc. recently announced that it has found a way to make pressure sensitive labels compatible with recycling methods for bottles molded from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. This is a breakthrough, says the company, because it offers an affordable and environmentally friendly solution for bring pressure sensitive labeling to the 400 billion PET bottles the world uses annually.


The Primacy of Process: an Interview with Heidelberg’s Jürgen Grimm

The most successful packaging printing companies that Jürgen Grimm has seen are the ones that have their processes most thoroughly under control. In this interview, the president of Heidelberg USA talks about how that control can be achieved.


PRIMIR Research Explores Tag & Label Printing Trends 2013-2018

Flexo claims almost two-thirds of tag & label market production, but some brand owners still view it negatively. By 2018, 50% of installed tag & label presses will be digital. There’s more—keep reading.


Is There a Case to Be Made for “CPOs”? Kodak Thinks So

By now, you may have heard about Kodak’s ChiefPackagingOfficer, a new online resource for packaging professionals. If you haven’t, its publisher, Joshua Fedeli, wants you to know why the portal is worth your time, attention, and participation.


What’s New at “the New MBO” Packaging Production, Among Other Things (Premium Content)

Say “MBO” to anyone in the industry, and the reply will be “folders.” That answer still passes the word association test, but it’s far from being the full story of what this diversified supplier of graphic equipment now has to offer printers and packagers.


The Water “Bottle” You Can “Eat,” and Other Definition-Stretchers

What does a package do? It contains, protects, transports, and identifies what’s inside it. That’s the neat, four-cornered functional description of a package. Here are some edgier ones—and a couple that don’t have edges at all.


“Radius” of Label and Packaging Capability Grows Longer Within New EFI Enterprise Packaging Suite

Radius software for MIS/ERP has been at work in label and packaging printing plants for many years. Now part of EFI, Radius will significantly expand its toolkit within a new framework called EFI Enterprise Packaging Suite.


Magnum Force

There has been a surge of growth in what are called “large-format wine bottles.” Magnums, essentially (or would that be “magna”?), or wine bottles greater than 750ml. Indeed, popular sizes include 1.5 liters, 3 liters, and 6 liters. Now, obviously, some of these are intended for parties and other events with large gatherings, not a quiet romantic dinner for two, lest it descend into drunken anarchy (which depends on your approach to dating, I guess).


Heidelberg’s “Vision 2020” Hinges on Growth in Services and Consumables (Premium Content)

When a business model needs reinvigorating, the first thing to do is to revisit the fundamentals. Heidelberg acknowledges this with “Vision 2020,” a strategic redirection that places new emphasis on the non-machinery parts of its portfolio.


What We Mean—and Don’t Mean—When We Say, “Sustainable”

Will it surprise anyone to learn that there’s no universally accepted definition of “sustainable packaging”? Probably not, but the extent of the confusion raises eyebrows all the same. Readers of Packaging Digest discovered this when they scanned the results of a recent survey by the magazine and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) into what’s standing between packagers and their desire to make their products more sustainable.


From Across the Atlantic, Lessons to Be Learned About Sustainable Packaging (Premium Content)

A review of recent news about sustainable packaging initiatives in the U.K. and Europe raises confidence that global strategies for managing packaging’s impact on the environment can be developed.


AF&PA’s PaperRecycles.org Sends the Right Message the Right Way

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has done a nice job of consumer outreach with PaperRecycles.org, a new web site that aims at better educating the public about recovering paper and paper-based packaging for recycling.


Guinness record: World’s largest wad of paper!

We can’t improve upon a recent press release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) about the creation of the world’s largest ball of paper—a stunt with an important point to make about recycling for packaging.


Pennsauken, NJ Printer Follows “Value Stream Map” to Packaging Success

At Contemporary Graphic Solutions, manufacturing efficiency and process improvements are 24/7 preoccupations, especially as they apply to the company’s demanding but rewarding packaging business.


Precision and Pride Drive Label Manufacturing at Mossberg & Company (Premium Content)

Mossberg & Company, a commercial printer since 1930, has built an equally successful label printing business through judicious investments in technology and scrupulous attention to quality assurance.


2015 Should Be Chock-a-Block with Opportunity for Packagers, Market Watchers Say

The end of the year always brings a flurry of state-of-the-market reports from research organizations and commentators tracking the global packaging industry. Here are pulls from some of the year-end pronouncements for 2014 that we gathered last month. They tell us that despite the unpredictability that always has to be factored into forecasts like these, 2015 is shaping up to be a promising year for the world’s packaging printers and converters.


In Eastern Europe, HP Flexes Packaging Muscles It Wants the Whole World to See

With the help of partners in Germany and the Czech Republic, HP aimed to show printers and converters everywhere how digital strategies for packaging production can be attuned to changing demand and “future proof” at the same time.


Miyakoshi Showcases Its Equipment Portfolio for Label Printing and Other Applications

A print equipment supplier for almost 70 years, Japan's Miyakoshi Printing Machinery Co. Ltd. is an OEM partner to many of the industry's top technology providers. At a recent open house, the company put the spotlight on presses for labeling and other uses that it markets under its own brand.


Solid Five-Year Outlook for Corrugated and Paper Boxes

There's encouraging news for producers of corrugated and paper boxes in a newly released research report which forecasts that demand for these products will increase 2.6% per year to $39.4 billion in 2018.


How Heidelberg Is Realigning Its Product Offerings to the New Realities of the Label and Packaging Market (Premium Content)

Heidelberg's profile as an equipment manufacturer is not the same as it once was, but its interest in label and packaging production is as keen as ever. This report comes from a high-level briefing that WhatTheyThink received on the company's current ambitions in the L&P equipment market.


Flexographic Printing: Five Critical Steps Forward

The good news is that flexographic printing for labels and packaging has resisted economic downturns and competition from digital while becoming a higher-quality, more efficient production method in its own right. The better news is that continuing technical improvements are carrying flexo toward still higher levels of performance.


From Europe, a New Definition for Labeling

This summer, members of FINAT, the international trade association for self-adhesive labeling and related industries, met in Monte Carlo for an annual congress around the general theme of "The Battle for Shelf Appeal." What emerged were an updated redefinition of labeling and a frank reassessment of the role that labels play in a greatly altered selling environment for packaged goods of all kinds.


Memo to self: get all the *?@#! toothpaste out of the tube, or die trying

Did you know—well, heck, how could anybody know?—that some people are willing to injure themselves if that's what it will take to force the last drop of product out of a container? Or that consumers would rather go to the dentist than see product they've purchased go to waste in packages they can't empty completely?


Dietary Supplements Meet Digital Printing at Labels in Motion, Courtesy of Xeikon

Dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are big business for a small in-plant label printer with digital capabilities that match its marketing ambitions and objectives. An update on Xeikon strategies and financials is also included in this article.


Transforming and Automating Workflows: Packaging Workflow Standards and Futures Part 2

David Zwang looks at process transformation and automation, and the background and steps you need to understand to be successful. He also looks at some of the current product offerings and how they are being used by service providers, to give you ideas about how you can transform your business and strengthen your customer relationships.


Past Is Prologue: 150-Year History Spurs DWS Printing Associates to New Ambitions in Label Production (Premium Content)

Continuous reinvestment and continuous reinvention sum up the strategic thinking at DWS Printing Associates, a Long Island label printing firm with deep roots in the past and a progressive view of the future.


And the Winner Is...the Package!

What lends itself more readily to creative competition than a well designed package? The packaging industry is full of contests that showcase the high degree of graphic innovation that can be found in packages of all types and materials. Here is a short list of some of the competitions that celebrated the art of packaging design in 2014.


Holiday Season Marketing and Packaging Trends

Can it be mid-November already, with preparations for the year-end holidays getting into full swing? Just ask International Paper. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted IP’s chief executive Mark S. Sutton as saying that box orders for the online retail segment have been up 15% year-over-year in 2014 and could continue rising, depending on demand. The story reports that the surge in demand for holiday packaging from both online and traditional retailers is helping to improve the performance of IP’s industrial packaging unit, which provides cardboard boxes, specialty packaging, retail displays, and paper bags.


New Survey Report Takes Fact-Based Look at Label & Packaging Market Realities

Filtering what we know from what we think we know about label and packaging market trends is the objective of “Emerging Technologies for Packaging Innovation,” a newly published report from GrCI Cal Poly and Packaging World.


The Top Three Functional Additives in the Plastic Packaging Market

Functional additives help plastic packages do a better job of protecting their contents. Of the many different kinds of functional additives, the most widely used are those that remove unwanted oxygen, block UV and IR radiation, and eliminate or reduce static.


Memjet Tears Up Rapid’s inkjet Agreement

Memjet, the US company that in 2012 acquired the patent portfolio of Sydney-based Silverbrook Research relating to MEMS-based inkjet digital printing, has terminated its OEM partner agreement with Australia’s Rapid Packaging Services. The agreement has three more years to run until 2017.


What Can Recent Trade Shows Tell Us about the Industry?

Now that most of the year's big trade shows are behind us, we can think back on what we've seen. The September Label Expo Americas show in Chicago offered what we believe is a good lesson—for a print-related trade show to stay vital, labels and packaging are a key source of longevity.


The Beauty of Packaging

Sometimes, it’s good to step back from the speeds, feeds, and tech specs to reflect on the fact that packages and labels can be, well, downright beautiful. Eye-beguiling examples of the aesthetic gems that high-end production makes possible are all over the Internet.


Transforming and Automating Workflows: Packaging Workflow Standards and Futures Part 1

There have been many new digital label and packaging presses released recently, and there are more to coming in the near future. However, these new digital presses will never reach optimal production levels or support and drive the new market requirements, without new standards and workflows.


Impact of the Internet on Print

Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of the drupa trade fair, recently published a “drupa Global Insights Report” on the impact of the Internet on print. It’s based on responses to a survey from more than 1,000 senior decision-makers in the printing industry, including 240 who furnished personal examples of the impact in their own companies.


The Wrap: Label and Packaging Production Solutions at Graph Expo/CPP 2014 (Part 3)

Post-processing equipment and software solutions for labels and packaging were well represented at Graph Expo/CPP, which has come into its own as a showcase for these applications.


The Wrap: Label and Packaging Production Solutions at Graph Expo/CPP 2014 (Part 2)

The productive, colorful, versatile, and cost efficient digital systems for labels and packaging on display at Graph Expo 2014 will come to be seen as inevitable investments for every printing company that is serious about making it in the label and packaging business.


The Wrap: Label and Packaging Production Solutions at Graph Expo/CPP 2014 (Part 1)

Among printing systems for the quick, attractive, and cost efficient production of labels and packaging, none do it better than or nearly as often as offset and flexographic presses. Conventional label and packaging production was well represented at Graph Expo/CPP 2014.


MPS: A Multinational, Multi-Capable, and Multifaceted Packaging Producer

With a manufacturing footprint that spans more than 50 plants on three continents, Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) stands at the crossroads of nearly every major market and technological trend in packaging production. In this interview, MPS’s Erin Willigan talks about what it takes for a diversified packaging company to remain a leader on a global scale.


Packagers Are Urged to Come to CPP Expo for the “Best Technology Investment Opportunities in Converting and Package Printing”

Co-located with Graph Expo, the CPP Expo for packaging specialists does full justice to the term “show within a show” by offering a rich mix of exhibits, educational sessions, and technology investment opportunities.


“Virtuous and Healthy” Packaging

“Virtuous and healthy: those are the attributes of tomorrow’s packaging.” That proposition keynotes Packaging trends / The future of manufacturing, a white paper addressing the ethical as well as the technical mandates that packaging manufacturers must uphold in changing consumer cultures.


Insight: Key Trends Driving Bioplastics for Packaging

Bioplastics—plastics made partly or wholly from renewable raw materials such as cellulose, vegetable oils, and other natural substances—are deepening their reach into packaging for food and other consumer products. Behind their rise are distinct economic and market forces driving global demand for alternatives to fossil-fuel based plastics.


CPG Companies Urged to Prepare for a “1-5-10” Digital Future

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies need to plan for a “1-5-10” market in the United States during the next five years, in which digital’s current 1 percent penetration will likely expand to 5 percent and could accelerate to as much as 10 percent in short order. The source is a new report, The Digital Future: A Game Plan for Consumer Packaged Goods, prepared for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Google, and Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).


Growing Appreciation for Versatile Substrate Keeps the Pace Brisk at Axis Corrugated Container (Premium Content)

Corrugated board meets a wide range of consumer and non-consumer packaging requirements. Customers who appreciate the full range of functional and creative possibilities with corrugated board are turning to Axis Corrugated Container for help in migrating their packages to the substrate.


Five Key Trends Driving Growth in Folding Cartons

The growth of the folding carton market is being driven by a complex of forces, some obvious, others unexpected. The Smithers Pira research organization identifies the ones it believes will raise global folding carton volume to $180 billion a few years from now.


For Packagers, Some (Pet) Food for Thought

We Americans love our pets, and there’s no surer proof than the staggering sums we spend on feeding them. That spending drives a gravy train for packagers serving the pet food vertical.


Million-Dollar Presses: High End Presses Remake the Role of Digital in Packaging (Premium Content)

Digital presses in B2 formats are starting to make their presences felt in corrugated, folding carton, and even flexible packaging, where analog production predominates but where the demand for short-run, variably printed packages is rising. Although placement of these presses remains modest, interest in them is undeniable, and adoption will grow.


Labels without Limits: Meet the Graphium Hybrid Press

Developed in partnership, the Graphium offers a unique combination of digital printing, conventional flexo and various finishing options geared towards the tag and label market. It is a totally modular solution that lets printers configure the press to fit the needs of their customer bases.


Consumers Say, “Nice Package,” but Only Up to a Point

If looks were everything, consumers would be over the moon about their packaging. According to packaging solutions provider MeadWestvaco, appearance is the one aspect of packages that consumers rate higher in performance than they do in importance. It's what prompts two-thirds of them to buy products off the shelf without knowing anything about them or doing any research into them.


Choosing “Commitment” as Its Brand Identity, Lofton Label Regroups and Succeeds (Premium Content)

Lofton Label targets its vertical markets with care and serves its customers with scrupulous attention to detail. In this company profile, CEO Mike Lane talks about how he developed the objectives and implemented the strategy that turned the business around.


EskoWorld 2014 Puts Spotlight on Branded Packaging

In one way or another, making packages better vehicles for brand communication underlay most of the presentations at EskoWorld 2014, a user conference that drew more than 700 people to Orlando. Esko also used the occasion to launch Suite 14, a software collection that aims to provide a common interface for all participants in the package creation workflow.


HP Highlights Digital Print for Packaging Applications at interpack (Premium Content)

interpack, a once-every-three-years trade fair held in Düsseldorf, Germany, is like Pack Expo in Chicago—a huge show that’s heavy on packaging and packaging automation but light on digital printing (with the possible exception of coding and logistics labeling).


The ICG Remembers Folding Carton Industry Veteran Alan Crane

The folding carton industry has lost a legend. Alan Crane (1924-2014) was a visionary, mentor and cherished friend to many, including members and suppliers of the Independent Carton Group (ICG), who remember him fondly.


4over Packaging – A new way of looking at Short Run Packaging

We read a lot of articles and company profiles in the packaging trades that describe companies who are growing their businesses by focusing on a specific niche of the market and developing specialized offerings to serve that niche. I recently interviewed Preston Herrin and Patrick Green of trade printer 4over headquartered in Glendale California who described for me their new offering 4over Packaging.


Digital Value Discovery (Premium Content)

Those developing systems for packaging applications need to understand what brand owners are interested in, and what are their perceptions of digital printing.


Why it’s Important to Understand the Disruptive Technology Adoption Curve (Premium Content)

All members of the packaging supply chain are under pressure to better address the needs of their customers and offer more efficient products and services. This has led to the development of systems that are classified as “disruptive” to address “areas of need” or “pain points” in the process.


Open House at Mark Andy had a few Stars (Premium Content)

On March 26th I attended an open house at Mark Andy’s global headquarters in Chesterfield, Missouri. The main reason I was invited was to be part of the formal introduction and “coming out” of the company’s Digital Series press.


The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part Two – The Two-Track Approach

In Part One of The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing, we discussed the operations (material and operations planning) and marketing benefits relating to digital printing. Recognizing the reality of this operations and marketing dual purpose for digital, we break the compelling reasons for digital printing in packaging into two tracks.


The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part One (Premium Content)

Most decisions made by brand owners related to digital printing have a basis in their understanding of the value proposition that digital brings to their organizations. In our report; Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? we describe how this value proposition is directly tied to unmet needs.


Latest Trends in Packaging Create New Opportunities

Brand owners rely on packaging to not only carry their products to market, but to represent the quality and desirability of those products on store shelves. The package is typically the first interaction a consumer has with a product or brand, and from then on serves as a visual reminder of the experience.


The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part One (Premium Content)

Most decisions made by brand owners related to digital printing have a basis in their understanding of the value proposition that digital brings to their organizations.


Brand Building – A Marketing View

The days of one-way messaging through TV or print ads to appeal to consumers’ purchasing decisions have given way to “engagement marketing”. Two-dimensional (two-way) communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand creates crucial interaction resulting in business and personal success. The bi-directional nature of social media enables a two-way marketing channel.


Megatrends in Packaging: The Digital Age

The digital age is changing our world. Forces driving the change are: people, information and technology.


Finishing Digitally Printed Labels: What Do You Really Need?

In the world of label production, finishing or converting a label is as important as the accuracy and quality of the printing process itself. The decision whether to use inline or offline finishing/converting solutions depends on the make-up of incoming orders and the specific market needs of the customer.


New Printing Opportunities for Flexible Packaging Converters

Over the last decade digital printing has moved from a niche market to a high growth segment embraced by a large number of print service providers (PSPs) that acknowledge the added value and higher profits of digital. One of the results of the proliferation of digital technologies is a convergence of once separate activities.


Is a box just a box? How packaging is impacted by the digital revolution.

Those who have been around the packaging industry can tell you that no one can predict its future. From experiments gone awry – like Jacques E. Brandenberger’s failed attempts at transparent tablecloths that ultimately resulted in the invention of cellophane in 1908.


Is Digital Printing for Corrugated Packaging; The Holy Grail or Third Rail?

My first exposure to digital printing for Corrugated Packaging occurred when I joined Inland Container. This occurred in late 2000, and Inland was in the process of developing a prototype digital press to evaluate the potential for digital printing in Packaging.


With Planning and Preparation, Commercial Printers Have a Growth Opportunity in Special Effects for Packaging and Labels

Commercial printers are increasingly examining the label and packaging market—and they like what they see. As digital technology lowers both the cost of entry and the learning curve for excellent execution, particularly in the area of special effects, the business benefits can be substantial.


What’s next for Digital Printing for Packaging?

The potential of digital print is broadening, and packaging companies are only just beginning to realise the benefits on offer in terms of personalisation, customer engagement and integration with online campaigns.


Heard the Buzz about Digital Print for Packaging?

If you’re a product marketer, packaging developer or brand manager, chances are that you’ve heard about digital print. But how much do you really know about it?


On-pack Traceability Points to Digital Print Future

Sean Smyth of Digital Demand World looks at digital print’s growing role in pack traceability.


Digital Package Printing – The Value Proposition for the Brand Owner

With all the news chatter around digital printing for packaging coming out of Print 13 and Label Expo this fall I thought it appropriate to bring the readership some insights we have on the topic.


Web-to-Print Technology: Enabling Speed and Collaboration for Printers and Customers

Web-to-Print is a concept that has grown rapidly, right along with the internet and e-commerce in general, and represents an efficient and effective way for printers to interact with customers and partners as they plan and execute print jobs. From submission, to online prepress previews and reviews, all the way to production, web-to-print enables customers and printers to use a variety of tools and rich user interfaces to produce impressive results.


Interview with Benny Landa about the Announcement of Komori as a Strategic Partner

Last Friday, Landa announced a strategic relationship with Komori for the manufacture of the transport systems for all of Landa’s sheetfed systems, the first being the S10FC. Kevin spoke with Benny to get a bit more information on this topic.


Where is Digital headed for Folding Cartons?

Eighteen months is a long time in the world of politics, consumer electronics, the growth of an infant and the gain or decline of a 401K but in the development of digital printing solutions for folding cartons that time is not so long at all.


Update from Benny Landa on Digital Press for Folding Cartons

Print 13 started out very nicely for me as my first official meeting was a breakfast meeting on Sunday morning with Benny Landa and three of my “packaging” colleagues.


From the Web to a Label

With run sizes per print job going down and the variety of labels going up, new solutions are needed to supply label printers an affordable, efficient option. The concept of using the Internet as a custom printing-enablement tool is based on a high degree of automation coupled with the benefits of digital color printing


Folding Carton Converter ASG Turns to HP Indigo 30000 for New Business Development (Premium Content)

As the first HP Indigo 30000 units begin to come to market, we are checking in with new owners to see how these B2 sheetfed presses, optimized for folding carton work, will be affecting their converting businesses.


Multi-Packaging Services Chooses HP Indigo 30000 to Expand Packaging Capabilities (Premium Content)

Multi-Packaging Services, based in New York City, is an early adopter of the HP Indigo 30000 folding carton press. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with them to learn more about why they bought this press and what benefits they expect to gain from adding it to their production portfolio.


The Label Sector; excerpts from 2012 PRIMIR Research

In past articles we have brought forward excerpts from a 2012 PRIMIR study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications. This study was unique to many industry studies in that it looked at the force being placed on Brand Owners, the originator of packaging orders.


The State of Thermal Transfer and Digital Printing

Heat transfers may not be one of the more obvious uses for digital printing, but for years the innovative companies have been successfully building up a market in a variety of ways.


Thoughts from the Smithers Pira Digital Print for Packaging Conference

I had the privilege last week of attending the Smithers Pira Conference in Atlanta on the topic of Digital Printing for Packaging. Having been on the advisory board for the conference it was rewarding to see the fruits of our labor being so well received by those in attendance.


Interview with JoAnn Hines, The Packaging Diva

JoAnn is a syndicated packaging writer who is arguably the most prolific “packaging person” on social media. I have been following her for years and thought it extremely appropriate to have her featured here for the WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging audience. Following are the highlights from an interview with “The Packaging Diva”.


Digital Folding Carton — How to Make it Work for You

With the market pushing packaging printers and converters towards shorter runs and faster turnaround times, you might be tempted to assume that folding carton printing is on its way out.


The Flexible Packaging Sector, excerpts from 2012 PRIMIR Research

To help us introduce the various packaging sectors to the growing WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging readership we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.


Interview with Ben Markens, President of Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC)

For the past 84 years, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) has been the leading industry association serving suppliers and converters of all forms of paperboard packaging. We spoke with Ben Markens, President of PPC, about the current state of the folding carton industry and the opportunities and challenges faced by its members.


Interview with Jay Willie of the Independent Carton Group

I caught up with Jay Willie, Executive Director of the Independent Carton Group (ICG) just before he struck out for one of the groups quarterly meetings. The ICG has an interesting business model and long history.


The Folding Carton Sector, excerpts from 2012 PRIMIR Research

To help us introduce the various packaging sectors we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.


Label and Packaging Security: Brand Protection Tools in Printing and Packaging

Billions of dollars a year are on the line for companies as they seek ways to ensure that the products sold with their logos and branding are authorized and authentic. The proliferation of counterfeiting requires brand owners and their converter/printer partners to work together to create a multi-layered  protection plan so that their packaging and labels protect their brands and deter those trying to profit at their (and their reputation’s) expense.


Interview with Steve Young of AICC

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Steve Young, President of AICC, and asked him to share his thoughts around the mission of AICC, the role of AICC, and the opportunities and challenges facing their members.


Interview with Kristi Ledbetter of TAPPI

We recently had the opportunity to catch-up with Kristi Ledbetter, the Converting Division Manager for Tappi, and had the opportunity to get an update on what is happening at Tappi.


The Corrugated Packaging Sector, excerpts from PRIMIR Research

For the next few weeks we will be looking at the corrugated sector of packaging, which accounts for approximately $85 Billion in shipments globally and $24 Billion in North America.


What is coming in WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging

With the launch of the Labels & Packaging section of WhatTheyThink now behind us, we wanted to give you a preview of upcoming topics and what to expect.


WhatTheyThink Kicks Off Special Labels & Packaging Section

Welcome to the inaugural post for WhatTheyThink’s Labels & Packaging website. The folks at WTT and I have been speaking for quite some time on the need a version of WTT that focused on the needs of those in the packaging supply chain. I am honored to be the Managing Editor of this new endeavor and will strive to bring meaningful and timely content to those in the packaging supply chain who are looking for information and intelligence in order to do their jobs better.


Packaging Brief: Highcon Update

As the digital transformation of the packaging industry continues to present new challenges and opportunities for both brand owners and converters, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor checked in with Aviv Ratzman, CEO of Highcon, to see what progress the company has made relative to Euclid, its market entry for laser die cutting and creasing. Read more.


WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging: An Interview with Randy Davidson

I thought it appropriate for the first post to WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging to be an interview with the founder of WhatTheyThink.com, Randy Davidson to get his thoughts on the new venture. So on a snowy Saturday morning with a fresh cup of coffee in front of me, Randy and I had a chat.


Change in Management at HP Graphics Solutions Business (Premium Content)

HP recently had a unpublicized change in management in its Graphic Arts business with the retirement of SVP Chris Morgan. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Stephen Nigro, who has rejoined the group as Global Business Leader for Graphics Solutions and Inkjet.


Who Says Packaging is Not Going Digital? (Premium Content)

HP recently announced that Hamburg, Germany, based RAKO Etiketten acquired five new HP Indigo WS6600 digital presses. This large investment caught the attention of Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, who spoke to RAKO about its investment, production platform and strategy moving forward.


94 Quintillion Bottles of Absolut on the Wall... (Premium Content)

Thanks to Ben Miyares of the Packaging Management Institute for bringing this absolutely unique Absolut Vodka packaging story to our attention. Four million bottles, each different. How did they do it? Read more.


Setting Yourself Apart Through Technology (Premium Content)

Food packaging safety is become a more prominent area in the United States. Insuring that chemicals and odors do not penetrate the package is of great importance to the end customer. Sun Chemical has designed a system of products and procedures to do this.


Outlook for Digital Printing for Packaging

Digital Printing for Packaging is growing quickly; by 2016 it will be worth nearly $12.2 billion, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.6% during 2011–16. This equates to 37 billion A4 prints in 2011 and 75.9 billion in 2016. The growth is driven by the changing demands of packaging buyers – more varieties and pack sizes is fragmenting the market, leading to shorter runs that digital technology can produce economically


Packaging at drupa 2012: Some Out-of-the-Box ideas! (Premium Content)

While drupa isn’t technically a packaging show, there were many packaging solutions on display and a great deal of interest in the segment on the part of visitors. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews a few of the new development she came across as she traversed the many halls in Messe Dusseldorf during her 12 days of drupa …


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Label & Packaging Editor

Jennifer Matt

Patrick Henry, Section Editor
Pat has covered graphic communications for nearly 30 years as a reporter, an editor, and a commentator.

 

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