The required serial enumeration for drug packaging is no problem with digital printing. Photo: Edelmann
Folding Boxes on Demand
There is a constant rise in demand for individually labelled and/or personalised packaging, short print runs and lead times. At the same time, state-of-the-art printing presses and folders open up new avenues to packaging producers for complete manufacturing processes from the initial design through packaging to shipping. Especially folding box producers benefit from digital printing, which at times is one step ahead of offset printing when it comes to fulfilling customer requests for personalisation and speed.
Offset printing versus digital printing
At present, over 90% of folding boxes are offset printed. in Germany. The printing quality is outstanding, the choice of materials diverse, and unit prices are dropping to a minimum as print volumes go up – this, however, is generally only the case from an absolute minimum quantity of 2,000 boxes with identical motifs. After all, the machines have to be changed over to the subsequent product each time, and therefore delivery times are, as a rule, correspondingly long due to the intricate manufacturing process.
Digital printing offers sufficient flexibility for small runs. With a speed of 42 metres per minute the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press prints on packaging, labels and shrink-wrap films. Photo: HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press HP
Advantages of Offset
Perfect reproduction of special colours
High precision, fine pixels
Guaranteed quality for repeat jobs
Extensive choice of substrates
Advantages of Digital
Speedy production proces
Simple personalisation possibilities
Low costs for short print runs
Especially for small and medium-sized print runs the HP T1100S delivers higher productivity and flexibility than analogue printing technology. Photo: KBA
Trendsetting Digital Printing
Be it pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food industries: digitally printed folding boxes generate added value for both the industry and end users, say experts.
Added value for the industry
Even volume buyers of printed folding boxes are now looking beyond their own backyard and to the functional benefits of digital printing processes for their type of packaging. The drug sector, for example, can easily print tamper-proof features such as bar codes, consecutive numbers or batch numbers onto their tablet blisters even after production.
Direct “just-in-time” carton printing permits the low-cost production of one-off pieces. This allows the advertising impact of each design on shoppers to be measured so that only the “winning box” ends up being mass-produced.
Added Value for End Users
End users are given the low-cost opportunity to have customised product packaging produced – from one single unit to small and medium folding-box print runs. This is perfect for one-off give-aways for close friends or for promotional products featuring company logos presented for Christmas or company anniversaries.
Still room for improvement in economic terms
In purely commercial terms, however, the increasing popularity of digital printing still offers room for improvement. Only optimised processes with a high degree of automation across the entire production process ultimately result in time and therefore cost savings – also thanks to online estimates and orders or direct digital networking. Insiders deem a coordination of IT with innovative folding box technology the smart packaging solution of the future.