Packaging Commentary & Analysis
HYBRID Software has been growing at a fairly good clip and this new $20 million software deployment by the SGK Brand Solutions subsidiary of Matthews International is going to give it an additional boost. More importantly, the new software, Shockwave, their development project name, is a great example of a next-generation workflow solution that was developed for the new market requirements.
Labelexpo is coming to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 15 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, on September 25–27. This is the biggest Label and Print packaging event in the Americas. However, what will be seen there will also prove to be a harbinger for many of the new developments coming to other print production applications.
When it comes to the environmental benefits of flexible packaging, the laundry list is long. On the surface, flexible packaging offers a vast number of benefits over other forms of packaging. The challenge to these comparisons, however, is that flexible packaging isn’t doing a one-to-one replacement. How does this impact the accuracy of the discussion?
New research from Smithers Pira highlights the future growth potential and technical challenges for printing food packaging, and how these will be realized against a backdrop of tighter focus on safety and environmental performance.
Labels and Packaging: Predicting and Achieving Consistent Color Across Disparate Press Platforms and Media ()
Color management standards and process controls have helped raise the bar on defining and meeting client expectations in color reproduction. However, as we see more cross-platform and cross-media packaging and marketing campaigns, how can we accurately predict, prepare, and communicate expected results?
Although digitally printed corrugated packages serve to enclose products, develop displays, and create shipping containers, they can also be used as billboards for savvy brands to advertise and increase consumer engagement. This article explores how brands can take advantage of printed packaging to differentiate their marketing messages.
Smithers Pira presents the highlights of its latest study, identifying the top 20 technical innovations that will underpin a greener and more sustainable future for packaging.
Ecommerce has created a new demand for custom corrugated boxes. To satisfy that demand, the purchase of Plymouth Packaging by WestRock has created a new momentum for producing custom sized boxes on demand at a time when the demand for variable-sized boxes in exploding.
Smithers Pira hosted two terrific digital printing conferences in Chicago earlier this month—Digital Print for Packaging and Digital Textile Printing. Both had great content and were very interactive. In this article, we’ve just scratched the surface of what was covered. We highly recommend putting these conferences on your calendar for next year!
Leading companies in the labels business are benefiting from smart workflow automation. While some feel intimidated by the thought of changing a workflow that works—maybe not as well as it could—we've talked to folks who have made the transition and can't imagine how they actually functioned before.
Technological advances and market trends are forever changing the face of flexographic printing. Smithers Pira values the global flexo print market in 2013 at $147 billion, with a forecast for 2.3% CAGR. Key to this growth are packaging-related industries including corrugated board packaging, flexible packaging, bags and sacks, and others.
Canon is not just entering the label and packaging press market, but challenging the current label press market with the new Océ LabelStream 4000, a 5-color inkjet hybrid UV press that continues to show their strengths in production inkjet.
At RADTECH, David Zwang saw an interesting solution from a young startup company, LUMII, for label and packaging security. Imagine a high-tech moiré that can provide visually 3D security printing inline without the need for external embellishments or to apply post print.
In 2018, the combined active and intelligent packaging market value is projected to reach $5.68 billion and will continue to present new value-adding options in the future according to the latest market analysis from Smithers Pira. Read on for more highlights of Smithers Pira’s latest report.
One of the high points of the Color Conference held earlier this year was a talk by Lisa Price, Design Operations Director at 3M. I was able to speak to Lisa recently to get a little more detail about her very successful Print Quality Management Program that helps her manage a network of more than 700 printers worldwide. Read more.
New research from Smithers Pira points to major growth for corrugated in serving the fast-developing e-commerce packaging markets. Read on for more detail.
Within the direct-to-shape printing for packaging market, digital printing is generally growing as a complement to offset, flexo, and other analog presses that print labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging, and corrugated. This article explores the direct-to-shape market by answering some basic questions about it.
A Significant Speed Boost and Cost Reduction with Hybrid Production Inkjet for Flexible Packaging ()
UTECO Group, in conjunction with Kodak, has released and will be installing the first Sapphire EVO aqueous-based production hybrid inkjet press for flexible packaging. This newly designed press significantly raises the bar on production speed while lowering operational costs compared with existing digital solutions.
Great Northern Corporation added an HP PageWide T400S inkjet press to its operation last year to bring more flexibility to its unique ultra-strong folding cartons. In this post, learn how Great Northern is leveraging offset and digital for more efficiency, and the approach the company has taken to filling the gap between corrugated and folding carton.
Bespoke and Hybrid Processes and Manufacturing: Facilitating Technologies Part 2—The Successful Marriage of Ink and Media ()
In this series, David Zwang will look at the new requirements for print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. In this article in the series, he looks at ink and why it is the key technology.
At DScoop 2018 this week, HYBRID Software announced PACKZalyzer, HP PrintOS-compatible software that “will allow order entry or customer service personnel to receive files from clients and get them ready for production before they enter the prepress department.” David Zwang comments on this announcement.
In this series, David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods, and educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article, he looks at some of the issues that can and should drive a decision.
HP’s Media day focused on packaging this year, which is a very hot topic. This article explores how the PageWide Industrial C500 cut-sheet corrugated inkjet printer expands the number of options for corrugated packages and the people who design them for brands.
Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: Unique Screening Software Solution that Drives Quality in Labels and Packaging ()
In this new series David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this installment of the series, he takes an initial look at an interesting new software development that significantly improves the quality of inkjet imaging.
The Shapes of Things to Come: Direct-to-Object Printing Bridges the Gap Between Industrial and Commercial ()
New systems are emerging that can print directly onto three-dimensional objects, especially cups, glasses, and bottles, to serve what is emerging as a lucrative promotional drinkware market. In this feature, Richard Romano looks at direct-to-object offerings from Xerox, Inkcups, and Engineered Printing Solutions.
Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: What Technologies Facilitate the Development of These Systems?—Part 1 ()
In this series, David Zwang will look at the new requirements for print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods, and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article in the series, he takes an initial look at facilitating technologies that are driving the growth of these solutions.
In this new series David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article in the series, he takes an initial look at drivers and solutions.
We have a new report out, the Printing Forecast 2018, based in large part on the results of our Fall 2017 Print Business Outlook survey. There is quite a lot in the 172-page report, but here are some highlights specific to label and packaging printing. Thus far, commercial plants don't see tremendous opportunities in digital label or packaging—but that may be changing.
In this new series, David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. These new methods are becoming available as a result of the evolution of current and emerging digital technologies. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this first article in the series, he takes a look at the changing landscape to lay the groundwork for future discussion.
The PDF format is gaining acceptance in packaging production. As a result, prepress and converting companies are finding new ways to automate and optimize their processes.
Direct-To-Shape (DTS) has become a commonly used term in recent times. We want to try to clarify a little around the definition of DTS and to describe the state of this particular art. We are prompted to do this by our recent visit to the InPrint Europe Industrial Print show in Milan, Italy, where there was a lot of discussion of the potential of DTS as a market.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a powerful tool that can be used to benchmark, identify areas for improvement, and measure progress. It combines equipment availability, performance, and quality (waste) into a single metric.
CMYK, XCMYK, CMYKOVG, ECG, Fixed Palette – so many terms to describe various types of process printing. What do they all mean and why should you care? We’ll explore all of that in this article.
Overview of the annual update on release liner for pressure-sensitive labels by industry market research firm AWA (Alexander Watson Associates).
Following last week’s announcement of the strategic alliance between EFI and Xeikon, transferring sales, marketing and service responsibility for Jetrion inkjet label presses to Xeikon, Zwang and Sherburne had the opportunity to speak with Benoit Chatelard, President & CEO of Flint Group Digital Solutions, to gain a bit more depth to the story. He was joined by Mark Brussel, CFO.
This week, after several months of negotiation, EFI announced a strategic partnership with Xeikon whereby sales, marketing and servicing for the Jetrion line of digital UV inkjet label printers would be transferred to Xeikon with the Jetrion trademark and ownership of ink manufacturing remaining with EFI. Zwang and Sherburne dug into the details.
It seems like we just finished with drupa 2016, yet Labelexpo Europe 2017 appeared to be a subset extension of that event. Everyone in Label production on any level from around the globe was there, showing and looking at the latest products and trends. It is a very exciting time, with a very promising future for label production. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at some of the major trends and product announcements at the show. In part two of the series, David continues to look a bit deeper at some trends and some interesting futures.
Radtech’ first UV+EB Packaging Conference last week featured suppliers, vendors, and brand owners surveying the current packaging landscape, with an emphasis on food packaging and safety.
Today, Idealliance announced a new program – BrandQ, designed to provide brands with the proper tools and language to better manage print quality across complex supply chains. What is not addressed in the press release is what that means for packaging converters and suppliers to the industry. We spoke with Idealliance Vice President, Global Print Technologies & Workflows, Tim Baechle to find out more.
Yesterday, EFI announced the acquisition of Escada Systems, a provider of Corrugator Control Systems for the packaging market. The UK company adds another puzzle piece to EFI’s growing ecosystem for corrugated, with its earlier acquisition of CTI (ERP) and development of Nozomi (direct-to-corrugated printer). We spoke with Nick Benkovich to get the inside story.
HP and others introduced a new range of inkjet corrugated printing presses at drupa 2016. Many of them were improvements and advancements on existing multi-pass machines, but a few, including the EFI Nozomi and the HP PageWide C500, offered unique single-pass inkjet mainstream production solutions. These new machines open up a wide range of new opportunities for using corrugated in mainstream packaging. However, the HP PageWide C500 may be the only solution at this point that can bring this to primary ‘food safe’ packaging.
In this article, Sean Smyth – Print Consultant with Smithers Pira examines the results of a new report that looks at the growth of Digital Print for Packaging to 2022. This report breaks down the projected growth by packaging application, and shows some surprising results.
In this article, David looks beyond the hardware at prepress, and how new developments will play a significant role in driving the growth of digital packaging production. This is not surprising, since we have been here before in other areas of the industry.
Last month, I attended EskoWorld for the first time. This was the 26th EskoWorld, so I am a little slow on the uptake. But the event was well worth attending and had quite a different feel from other user groups I have attended.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can be used to both measure your production efficiency, as well as use it as a tool for making equipment purchasing decision.
Augmented Reality has the potential to open a world of possibilities for brand owners who are seeking to drive an immersive consumer interaction with their products. When applied to packaging, the digital information is visible through mobile or tablet devices and is enabled by an app. Customers are becoming more receptive to AR, and this article explores how brand owners are leveraging packaging to integrate the technology into the customer experience.
On a recent visit to Belgium, I attended a Esko press briefing scheduled in conjunction with the company’s Flexo Innovation Day customer event.
In this article, David looks at the role of Hybrid Press Solutions to bridge the gap between conventional and digital label production, and even a takes a glance at what these types of solutions mean for other types of packaging.
The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth ahead of us. This offers some perspective on the transition from conventional production to digital production in the label business. While there is significant forward movement in digital, and for the right reasons, it still represents only a small fraction of the total production mix.
It’s not just digital printing technology that is affecting packaging, The way that we are packaging is changing as well. For example, have you noticed how many different kinds of food and beverage items are now available in non-rigid containers? Advances in materials and processes for high-barrier pouches mean that wine (for example) no longer has to come only in bottles.
In his new role as Senior Editor of Packaging and Labels, David will be looking at the demands, technologies and the inflection points that are driving the use and growth of digital packaging and labels. The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth ahead of us. In this article, David takes a look at the some of the drivers and constraints for migration from conventional to digital processes in packaging and label production. There are more moving parts than you might expect.
In looking at some of the changing paradigms made possible through new packaging technologies, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at one that is emblematic of those changes. Those large boxes with lots of filler that you get when ordering products online are about to get smaller, if CMC Machinery has anything to say about it.
In his new role as Senior Editor of Labels and Packaging, David will be looking at the demands, technologies and inflection points that are driving the use and growth of digital packaging and labels. The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth still ahead of us.
Packaging is now a significant part of the EFI platform, and the subject got its fair share of attention at the 17th edition of the company’s annual customer-education event.
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.
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.
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.
Neoterix ST gives medical institutions and other germ-fighting environments the first completely non-toxic solution for blocking bacterial growth on high-touch surfaces.
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.
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.
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.”
The first sale to a U.S. customer refocuses attention on the 110" inkjet platform with which HP intends to revolutionize printing on corrugated.
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.
Corrugated packaging protects effectively, presents handsomely, and succeeds environmentally. What’s not to like or to give credit where due?
We interact with packages so much and so often that we sometimes begin to merge with them—and they with us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Making packages more recyclable, lighter, shapelier, and safer will be the principal drivers for the industrial packaging market through to 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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 ()
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.
To build a multi-capable network of companies, what better place to begin than the label and packaging business? Just ask Christopher Che.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2015 was a chock-full-of-news year on the technology front—but only a curtain-raiser for what lies ahead in 2016.
Santa Claus, who knows a thing or two about packaging, has a sackful of innovations for fans of the art form this year.
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.
Take another look at the tried-and-true stuff that shipping cartons are made of. Some top developers of packaging printing technology are.
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.
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 ()
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.
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.
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.
Exhibits at this innovation-packed event said it all about the accelerating advance of digital technologies into every segment of the label printing market.
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.
People don’t like packages that look as though they contain more than is actually inside them. But, prosecutors and class-action attorneys do.
A dust-sized anti-counterfeiting tag for medicine pills? Turns out the idea isn’t hard to swallow or digest.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Technical advancements and process improvements in flexography should keep it secure in its key applications. even in the face of competition from digital.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
“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.
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.
What would Bubble Wrap be without poppability? Alas, we are about to find out.
This privately owned folding carton company follows a straight line from its family values to its strategies for business growth.
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.
There’s strength in numbers—and in “clusters” of businesses like the ones that have come together to reinvigorate paper manufacturing in Massachusetts.
Typography for packaging design will never be the same after Hermann Zapf—and always will be.
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.
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.
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.
Trust, a handshake, and an eye on luxury packaging are behind the newly formed partnership between Mohawk and Arjowiggins Creative Papers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every beverage bottle must have a label to identify and brand the product—correct? Not necessarily, says the developer of a direct-printing alternative.
Established seven years ago, this small but visionary shop is a case study in the rise of digital technologies in the label printing segment.
How an earth-friendly cleaning products company called method scours the ocean for plastic waste it can recycle into material for new containers.
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.
The How2Recycle Label is a much-needed visual cue in the right place at the right time.
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.
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.
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.
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 ()
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ()
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 ()
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Those developing systems for packaging applications need to understand what brand owners are interested in, and what are their perceptions of digital printing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The digital age is changing our world. Forces driving the change are: people, information and technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Sean Smyth of Digital Demand World looks at digital print’s growing role in pack traceability.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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