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.