Digital Solutions for Packaging at drupa 2012: Part II—Press Manufacturers Changing Messages

Relative to digital printing for packaging, drupa 2008 was a time for investigation and generalized discussion regarding product concepts and market requirements. Drupa 2012 delivered a variety of solutions targeting a broad range of packaging markets that attracted the attention of converters present at the show. The focus on packaging was not limited exclusively to developers of digital presses. Also well represented were prepress and converting solutions to support digital presses in a packaging environment. The magnitude of the investment made at all levels of the supply chain over the past four years validates the packaging market as a catalyst for future growth in digital printing. This bodes well for the packaging industry.

Analog Printing for Packaging

Several items stand out from the interviews:

• Traditional press manufacturers are focusing on driving down waste and reducing makeready time. Press demonstrations were showing four-color press changeovers occurring in less than 15 minutes. Omet has redesigned their process for registering print, reducing scrap from typical 200-300 sheet quantities to 2.5 meters.

• Traditional press suppliers are no longer ignoring the impact of digital printing. KBA, Heidelberg, manroland, Komori, Mitsubishi, Bobst and Omet were all discussing plans and options for digital printing.

• Packaging is a growth opportunity for most traditional analog suppliers. Demand for packaging historically tracks to GDP, and unlike the Commercial Print Market, demand for printed packaging will benefit from digital media, rather than be harmed by it.

• Several traditional press manufacturers stated a nuisance order for Folding Carton is any order less than 5,000 impressions; 20,000 impressions are considered a standard run. One supplier estimated 65 percent of production jobs are less than 20,000 impressions. Whatever the actual numbers may be, the point is, regardless of how the jobs are run, individually on a narrow width press, or ganged on a wide press, changes in the order flow are creating headaches for the printer.

Digital4Packaging (D4P) is a forum to present ideas concerning the fast-charging application of a range of digital technologies that are transforming package printing. Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners LLC, began his career in the “digital” world of packaging in the mid 1980s. His firm has worked with consumer product companies from the Fortune 1000 and 100 lists, package printers and converters from all market segments, and suppliers of products and services targeted at the packaging marketplace. The company has published a number of industry reports and is one of the foremost thought leaders regarding technology innovations for packaging and packaging graphics. More information about Kevin can be found at Karstedt Partners LLC
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