InfoTrends estimates that in 2010, converters worldwide spent $166 million on color digital presses used to print labels and packaging, a number that is project to grow at a 10.3 percent annual rate through 2015. When it comes to digital package printing, graphic providers are no longer thinking...
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The quicker 3-2-1 turnaround is typically used when there is push to move a new pharmaceutical product onto the market quickly, either because a customer is trying to beat out the competition or because there is a waiting warehouse of patients who are anxiously waiting for the product to hit the market.
Besides the benefits of shortened cycle times and more cost effective short runs, the Indigo presses are used extensively for serialization; many customers now print unique bar codes on every carton or label, in anticipation of US government legislation coming on board in 2015.
Realizing the ramifications of the pending legislation surrounding serialization, in 2006 Nosco began offering serialization capability, staking out a leadership position in the area. “The idea behind the legislation is to be able provide supply chain security, ensuring that all the drugs are authentic and not counterfeit; the legislation is being pushed by the FDA and the California Board of Pharmacy,” says Curran.
Nosco partnered with HP and Esko, developing a package that serializes labels or carton, giving them a unique identifier.
Serialization is only produced digitally, while Nosco’s other security printing, running taggant or color shifting inks, can be done conventionally after printing on the Indigo presses. Nosco’s efforts to build its serialization capabilities have paid off; currently 30% of its Indigo business is security or serialization.
The Sonoco Institute
At The Sonoco Institute of Package Design & Graphics at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., more than 200 students are schooled in the basics and not so basics of packaging design.
The Institute is headquartered in the newly built Harris A. Smith building, equipped with advanced technology, including a cutting-edge prototyping lab. Among the lab’s high tech equipment is a Roland VersaUV LEC-330 30-inch UV inkjet printer/cutter. “The VersaUV is our ‘go to’ machine for unique packaging prototyping,” says R. Andrew Hurley, an assistant professor of Packaging Science housed at the Sonoco Institute. “Students use it to quickly and accurately execute their designs on virtually any roll-stock substrate.”
“Our students are interested in developing real packaging for real applications,” explains Hurley. He and his students value the VersaUV for its ability to print on a wide range of substrates, creating prototypes that are virtually identical to full production packaging. They have run projects on plastic bagging material, thermofoam, corrugated cardboard, and several types of paperboard.
“Students leverage the VersaUV’s capabilities to run multiple iterations and determine what works best for their project,” says Hurley.
Along with traditional packaging applications, students use the VersaUV to generate innovative and occasionally even patentable packaging products. In one class, students designed and printed board games. In another, students created USB drives with a paperboard package.
A third group of students is now working with the University on a patent for their project: They created circuit boards through a silk screening process, then ran them through the VersaUV to add printed graphics. The result? A kids’ meal container that lights up when you move the included toy across the package graphics.
Meritage Specialty Packaging Ltd.
Meritage Specialty Packaging Ltd. is a niche market manufacturer of packaging for the luxury goods sector. Founded by Jay and Dawne Tapp and based in Surrey, B.C., the company specializes in high value-added packaging, specifically labels, tags and wraps. Meritage's key markets include wine and spirits, cosmetics, health and beauty, entertainment media, fashion retail, security identification and other up-market collateral marketing materials.
"Our business is custom value-added packaging," explains Jay Tapp. Everything Meritage produces is custom manufactured; particularly for its winemaking customers no two labels are alike.