Vast opportunity awaits print service providers in package printing. And the opportunity is growing larger as print runs become smaller. This is among several factors making the packaging sector an appealing option in this digital printing era, say experts.
“Digital print brings a whole new toolset to PSPs, including the opportunity to move into packaging as a new market, [and] for existing package printers to continue to expand their offerings to their client base,” says Giselle de la Moriniere, Marketing and Communications Manager with MGI USA (Booth 3623).
One of the best reasons to enter the packaging marketplace is that it is among the most reliable sectors in the printing market, says Kurt Hamlin, Director of Direct Imaging Sales for Presstek, Inc. (Booth 3417), a provider of digital offset printing solutions.
“Customers are not going to download an app, or try to access a package on their smartphones,” he says. “For printers this is among the most sustainable markets.”
Long and short of it
Another reason to consider package printing is that while package runs used to be in the millions, and printed on very costly machines, that has changed dramatically.
Brand managers are unveiling additional versions of popular products, and printing packages in smaller runs to avoid carrying large package inventories. Also, there are more local and specialty brands that don’t require large runs. These trends are made for digital offset printers, which “are built to produce high-quality, short runs,” Hamlin says.
Both large and smaller printers benefit. “There may be a reinvestment needed for the larger printer, but it also provides opportunities for the smaller commercial printer,” he reports. “I don’t believe the volumes will change. But there will be more pieces of the pie for everybody. In the digital age, the pie keeps just getting sliced more and more.”
Instead of one run of 100,000 packages, brands may need 10 runs of 10,000, says Brian Wolfenden, Presstek Director of Communications. “More jobs are smaller runs, with the same number of sheets being printed,” he reports.
Also noting the shorter runs trend is de la Moriniere. “We see shorter run and print-on-demand capabilities being taken advantage of to their fullest,” she says, adding her company also expects to witness more personalization in package printing.
“With these come the ability for much quicker and more accurate proofing, along with shorter turnaround times. Since PSPs know they no longer have to print thousands and thousands at a time in order to achieve cost efficiency, there’s much more flexibility with evolving designs and versioning, which makes clients happier.”
Among solutions offered by MGI ideal for the packaging market are its Meteor DP8700 XL digital press, which prints on paper and plastic substrates in sheet sizes up to 13x40", and allows for more customized projects.
Another is its JETvarnish 3D inkjet spot UV coater, which lets PSPs integrate flat spot UV coating and raised 3D effects onto the shortest runs, de la Moriniere says.
Like virtually every other area of business, the package printing industry is also being impacted these days by environmental consciousness. “Print providers are being asked to print in ever more environmentally friendly ways,” Wolfenden says.
“Presstek DI Presses are environmentally friendly. Their chemistry free, waterless printing can enable printers to print on recycled stocks and run soy-based ink in them.”
For PSPs, package printing means the challenge of integrating new technology into their workflow, and choosing the right products for both their internal needs and their customer base.
“However, the benefits of providing your clients with new services, and expanding your own capabilities, are definitely worth the investment,” de la Moriniere says.