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"Ready to Print" SBS Heavyweight Stock

June 11, 2012
Printing or foil stamping directly on thick SBS board can eliminate the extra mounting step, saving time and money.

With razor thin margins and fierce competition in the industry, printers and converters have increasingly looked to bring more operations in-house. One way they are gaining a competitive edge is by skipping outsourced mounting to significantly cut the cost and time to print or foil stamp solid bleached sulphate (SBS) stock for premium retail boxes, packaging, and signage. This can be easily accomplished with sheetfed offset, screen printed, or flatbed digital printers using heavyweight SBS board.

As a premium bleached board made from virgin tree fibers, SBS is often used in high-end packaging. Since SBS is hygienic with no smell or taste, it is popular for packaging aroma and flavor sensitive products like fragrance or chocolate. Its solid white core and rigidity makes it a prime choice for folding-carton applications, retail and consumer goods, as well as greeting cards and signage. Standard SBS thicknesses, or calipers, from 15-24 points (0.015˝-0.024˝) are readily available for typical applications.

Where quality and perceived value is vital, however, such as in many health, beauty, pharmaceutical, and high-end retail products, thicker, more rigid SBS (from 30-48 points or 0.030˝-0.048˝) is often used for premium boxes and packaging. High-end retailers frequently put extraordinary care into their choice of packaging, as they recognize its power both to brand a product with a strong first impression and to encourage brand loyalty.

Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, for instance, obsessed over and patented the packaging for various Apple products, including the iPod Nano’s box and the iPhone’s packaging, according to Walter Isaacson in his recent book “Steve Jobs.” “Whether it’s an iPod Mini or a MacBook Pro, Apple customers know the feeling of opening up the well-crafted box and finding the product nestled in an inviting fashion,” states Isaacson.

“You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special,” said Jonathan Ive, Job’s chief product designer, in Isaacson’s book. “Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”

When thicker, more rigid SBS is required, however, the traditional method has been to print on thinner SBS material (such as 18 or 24 point sheets), then send the sheets along with the unprinted sheets to a mounter or finisher. But this adds the cost of mounting and freight. It also delays delivery to the end customer by up to week while the mounter receives, mounts, and ships the items.


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