Mortsel, Belgium – More than 40 executives that joined the Packaging and Converting Executives Forum (PACE) last week, visited Agfa Graphics' Digital Packaging and POP Innovation Centre in Gent (Belgium) to learn the benefits of digital printing and the various high-quality packaging applications of Agfa Graphics' :Dotrix industrial UV inkjet digital press . Print specifiers have been looking at :Dotrix to provide cost-effective and eye-catching packaging for their products. PACE (www.paceforum.com) brings together the C-level Executives that shape the future of the packaging industry. PACE was held in Belgium, Brussels on 9 - 11 February.
As consumers' product choices increase and the fight for consumer attention becomes fiercer, brand owners are looking for ways to have their products stand out, while keeping costs under control. Agfa Graphics' Dotrix Modular gives brand owners a way to produce high quality printed packaging materials and it offers greater ROI than conventional printing methods for short and medium run lengths.
Neil Falconer, Print Strategy Consultant with Pira, told the brand managers who attended the event at Agfa Graphics, that digital packaging is growing at an annual rate of 18-27% across various industry segments, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food & beverage packaging. Among the different packaging media, including corrugated, flexo and folding cartons, Falconer said there is expected to be double-digit growth in the next five years.
Of all the print sectors, conventional printing will only show minimal growth in packaging, because the packaging market as a whole is the only print sector with any long term growth prospects.
"There are a number of benefits to digital packaging. It helps avoid high set-up costs of Flexo/Offset and Gravure and creates a reduction in capital equipment costs. Digital packaging systems help reduce cost, waste & inventory in the supply chain, offer popular digital security features & coding, and open up new niche markets", Falconer said. "The packaging market as a whole is growing steadily. When looking at digital solutions, I expect to see growth in toner based solutions but the major growth will be in inkjet based systems as inkjet becomes the dominant process during the next decade."
"Having the capability to offer mass customized packaging, with text and images, gives brand managers a powerful tool for attracting new customers with their packaging. Agfa's :Dotrix Modular digital printing press offers many other advantages over traditional flexo printing techniques. Most notably, it is faster, offers greater colour reproduction, and gives brand owners the ability to be more flexible (variable and even personalized printing) with their promotions and adapt to changes more quickly," said Jan de Vooght, Sales and Marketing Manager for :Dotrix at Agfa Graphics. "Now is the time to print what will be sold, hence reducing stock and waste."
For the executives at the event, the presentation by Agfa and Pira was an opportunity for them to share perspectives on the practical applications of digital printing in a brand-centric world.
"It was inspiring to see how two presentations can be so different and glue perfectly together: one about where the printing market is going - so clear and to the point - and one about the :Dotrix technology without being a sales pitch. The real time demo-proof on the vast advantages of this technology was enlightening and makes you think on several applications for our business", said Chris Gevers, Executive Manager, Global Packaging Development at Estée Lauder Companies.
"We don't buy from Agfa. We buy from their customers. But this visit is so educational to us. It allows us brand print buyers to make the connection between what we want and what they – our print suppliers – can deliver. We could see how technology can offer real answers to the pressure on cost, on inventory and on sustainability. I see in digital printing a real strategic fit for personalization and our short run demands", said Phil Spruce, Global SSD, Category Packaging Buyer at Danone.
The unique printing width of 25.6 inches (650 mm) on the highly versatile :Dotrix can print on the widest variety of substrates, ranging from flexible foils such as HDPE, PET, PVC self-adhesives, board up to 24 point, banner stock and more. Its modular construction allows companies to add traditional flexo stations to the roll-to-roll configuration, serving as coating and varnishing alleys without compromising on speed. In-line slitting, die cutting and sheeting modules can also be integrated to fit the needs of any operation. Agfa Graphics' :Dotrix Modular adds more productivity to the pressroom with no more set-up times between jobs, no waste recycling on plates, inherent to digital printing solutions. :Dotrix uses 4 or 6 colours of UV curable inks hence offering a colour gamut that covers 90% of the Pantones, eliminating the need for special printing colours on press.