The Full Package
By Des King
With 75% of all retail products purchased on impulse attention-grabbing packaging print is a crucial differentiator and drupa 2012 will showcase a raft of ways to achieve the all important shelf shout.
On average three out of four items are bought on impulse. Brand loyalty cannot taken for granted so print for packaging acts as frontline marketing and the direct interface between brand owner and consumer.
In this fast moving sector digital technology, irrespective of print process, continues to dictate the pace of change. Challenges addressed by innovation and product development include colour consistency in relation to geography and different substrates printed via different processes. Also demand for shorter run-lengths is being addressed with prepress enhancements and greater automation enabling faster throughput.
There is greater interest in 3D software solutions while a key issue is how best to take cost out of the supply chain; in production terms via faster makeready and turnaround between jobs as well as greater versioning.
Despite litho press developments to speed up makereadies digital continues to have the edge regarding the speed a job can be delivered to the press ready to print. Conversely, a flexo plate could take ninety minutes to prepare. It is this guaranteed rate of response that comfortably fits a retail supply chain model.
Then there are faster inkjet systems – with the added advantage of being suitable for inline integration – that will help to build digital’s overall market share and accelerate rate of adoption. Also extending more into the packaging sector is digital offset.
To combat counterfeiters coding & marking systems are winning fans and development is working on advanced solutions such as the 2-D datamatrix barcode. The food industry is also establishing higher standards of security where health scares attributable to packaging materials can lead to costly product recalls and format switch. Next-stage development may also focus on lower energy consumption such LED replacing UV curing.
To stay ahead of the packaging field make sure you see all the new products and trends at drupa 2012.