InfoTrends

Digital Packaging and Workflow Automation

Digitally printed packaging, such as labels, folding cartons, and flexible packaging, is a printing application still in the early adoption phase. First movers can gain powerful advantages in this worldwide market that is expected to grow significantly over the next five years. Digital printing delivers a set of competitive, cost, and environmental advantages when compared to traditional package printing technologies, and is surprisingly well suited to many packaging applications.

Printing and packaging professionals may question whether digital printing is mature enough to be used in everyday packaging production environments. A variety of advances in digital color printing technology over the past few years make it realistic to be used in packaging applications. Substrate compatibility, lower running costs, available inks and toners, faster speeds, larger formats, integrated workflow capabilities, and expanded finishing options all allow digital print to be used beyond proofing applications and expand further into production.

Workflow automation is the foundation for success in digital packaging. There are six key reasons for automating the workflow associated with digital packaging:

  • Increased Efficiency: Automation enables converters and graphic communications companies to optimize current capital and labor resources.
  • Innovation: The use of automation offers opportunities to produce new products cost-effectively in very short runs.
  • Cost: Reduction in labor cost is the most visible factor when automating workflow, but not the only one. Other components to consider include inventory requirements, training, and quality control. Considering these factors when automating existing production facilities can result in a lower cost per unit.
  • Control: Service providers can maintain tighter control of their operations, while also improving customer order entry by integrating and e-enabling workflow processes.
  • Quality: Creating and following standards ensure predictable, repeatable results that can be automated to ensure the highest quality possible.
  • Viability: By strengthening facilities through automation, print providers can become more competitive in the marketplace.
  • Automating digital color workflow helps print service providers and converters eliminate the re-entry of job information, thereby reducing error rates and improving staff productivity. Automation also enables more efficient communications, streamlined workflows, as well as real-time job tracking and reporting. Ultimately, workflow automation helps print service providers and converters become more competitive and profitable.

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