PackExpo 13 began yesterday with a rush of attendees lined up to enter the show. This Las Vegas based event is a magnet for brand owners, manufacturers, food processors, and converters from over 127 countries and representing 40 vertical markets. Over 26,000 buyers attend this show looking for the latest innovations in packaging and food processing solutions. Many of these buyers are interested in food processing safety or green manufacturing techniques. InfoTrends is here on a quest to find out about digital printing technologies that enable buyers to find new ways to decorate their products efficiently, drive demand while maintaining product safety, and lessen environmental impact.
U.S. packaging machinery shipments dropped 4% between 2011 and 2012. However a closer look at the data shows that shipments for converters and print service providers actually grew by 9% in 2012. This leaves us feeling positive about the future growth of printing technology, and especially when it comes to digital printing in this industry.
As we were walking through the busy aisles of PackExpo, it was clear that brand owners are driving demand for ever growing innovation, including digital printing. A key driver for digital printing technologies is the transition to mass customization of packaged goods. A continued growth in the number of SKUs is a promising trend for digital print, since it allows brand owners to meet the needs of specific demographics and geographies, while also addressing new regulations that require tracking of individual packed items.
On our first day at the show we took in the sights and had the opportunity to explore technologies that enable brand owners to develop new applications aimed at maintaining brand value, providing differentiation, and benefitting from the latest of go to market enabled by digital printing and related technologies.
Key for any successful product marketing or decoration are the right substrates, those that allow for high quality output while offering security features that help fight counterfeiting. Yesterday we saw several examples of these solutions from Polyart which demonstrated digitally certified synthetic substrates for digital printing such as the Polyart Digital that is certified for HP Indigo printing systems. Polyart also showed a clay coated synthetic paper suitable for label applications that has embedded security featuring Arjobex Security, which enable brand owners to authenticate their products as well as provide tamper evidence where needed.
As we continued our journey through the show we met Ms. J. Tracy the president of MEPCO Label Systems who shared with us a range of labels produced using the company’s EFI Jetrion systems. With runs up to 5,000 linear feet, MEPCO uses their digital system to produce labels that meet clients need for quality and most importantly short turn around. Naturally the company produces traditionally printed labels as well but their transition to digital has begun and will continue as the company expands their offerings.
With color being one of the key drivers in differentiating products on store shelves, we saw several vendors showing both production and table top printing solutions including the Colordyne CDT 1600S and Colordyne CDT1600C cut sheet and roll fed respectively. These systems are based on Memjet print heads. These were accompanied by the CDT 1600 PC a production system that can be fitted with a range of finishing solutions that deliver a finished converted product that is ready for the manufacturing plant.