How Tap Packaging Solutions Became Digital Carton Innovators
In the folding carton industry, simply having a digital press is no longer a differentiator. But the way a company maximizes its capabilities and markets them to its customer-base can be what sets it apart from the competition. Cleveland-based Tap Packaging Solutions did get an early jump on digital technology, but has also prioritized educating its customers about how digital printing can boost their business.
Tap Packaging was one of the first adopters of the HP Indigo 30000 digital press, designed specifically for the folding carton market. CEO Tony Hyland explains that the company initially sought out digital capabilities as a solution for the increase in short runs. But since the press was installed, it has been able to expand into packaging that can only be produced via digital printing.
“We were spending too much time setting up our traditional offset equipment and we knew we needed a short-run solution,” Hyland says. “That was the main driving factor. Then we looked at all of the additional things that digital printing could do for our business. Now we’re really trying to push the uniqueness of digital.”
The confectionery market is one of the largest that Tap Packaging serves, and through its digital capabilities has helped its customers create highly detailed versioned packaging for various flavors in their product line. For example, Tap earned several awards for a run of chocolate bar cartons it produced for Fleurir Chocolates, a boutique chocolate maker in Alexandria, Va.
The concept behind the chocolate bars was to create a flavor profile to correspond with various regions of the United States. Tap was able to utilize artwork produced for each flavor and print the versioned packaging digitally. Part of what led to the successful packaging initiative was Tap’s desire to meet with the customer in person, despite the distance between them. Hyland explains that this type of close collaboration between customers and the full Tap team is essential to getting brands on board with what digital printing can do.
“I think a lot of people have never seen the technology so they’re interested to come here and we’re certainly proud to show it off,” he says. “That’s oftentimes the first step and then we have these collaborative sessions. We have a talented marketing department here that is eager to participate in the discovery process of working with a customer. We also have very creative graphic designers and packaging engineers. So when they come here, we tend to involve as many people as we can and get as involved as the customer wants us to.”
Since Tap Packaging added digital capabilities, it has earned multiple awards for its print quality and creativity, including accolades in the packagePRINTING Excellence Awards, HP Inkspiration Awards and the Printing Industries of Ohio and Northern Kentucky (PIANKO) Print Excellence Awards.
“When you’re talking about the quality of print, a lot of it is the quality of the people we have both running press and in the prepress area,” Hyland says.