The Printing Plant is a privately-held narrow-web flexographic printer in Cincinnati that has been in operation since 1979. The company has grown considerably over the years, adding experienced staff and state-of-the-art equipment. Yet as with most every part of printing these days, there is always room for improvement. Especially with color.
Tennessee-based Graphic Label Solutions (GLS) was seeking an alternative to its existing label production process. The company was using screen printing as well as a wide-format printer to produce labels. But as run lengths shortened, the screen printing process became cost-prohibitive, and digital wide-format printing lacked the throughput needed to meet demand. In addition, GLS was seeking new business, a more efficient way to finish its work, and sought an environmentally sustainable solution to match the company's desire to have as small an environmental footprint as possible.
Short runs are becoming business as usual for converters, with brand owners wanting more and more runs of reduced lengths. A recent InfoTrends survey of packagePRINTING readers set out to see to what extent such runs are becoming more common. We obtained responses from 69 companies, each a converter of labels, folding cartons or both. The general results indicate that respondents' print jobs now include a significant share that is less than a few thousand linear feet, and that the share is growing.
The sweet spot for digital is still in the label segment of packaging. For now, moderate-speed digital presses will continue serving as short-run alternatives to flexography, empowering those machines to operate at optimal speeds and throughput. When the performance of both systems is optimized, their coexistence in a converting plant can bring greater profitability to the bottom line.
The label market continues to be amazingly dynamic and presents an immense range of opportunities for converters no matter which technologies they use. And best of all, it's only going to grow and expand. No one, after all, wants to live in a world without labels.
So just how widespread is digital printing in our industry, and what might the future hold? To find out, packagePRINTING magazine and InfoTrends recently conducted a survey of North American label and packaging converters. Over 100 converters offered up some interesting responses. Take a look.
Digital printing is here to stay in the packaging space and will become more important over the next few years. Taking advantage of the value it offers requires balancing imaging technology and substrate selection to achieve the best possible results.
After adding a Jetrion 4830, Logo Label Printing is now more price competitive with traditional printing companies. The company is able to provide volume printing without the added costs of plates, set‐up and pre-press charges.
Fueling customer speed, quality and efficiency, EFI will present its award-winning products at PRINT 13. EFI won eight honors in the Must See 'Em competition, more than any other entrant.
Rex Lane recalls that when he first joined label and package converter WS Packaging Group as CEO in 2010, he was known in professional circles as "that guy they hired from outside the industry." And Lane is emphatic that the fresh eyes of a newcomer can be the key to effecting far-reaching improvements in operational efficiency.