Packaging Converters Take A Fresh Look at Digital Printing

Not so long ago, if you were a brand searching for labels or packaging, you went to a package printer or converter and ordered a large quantity. Once your order was delivered, the labels or packaging were stored in inventory until you were ready to use them, or they became out of date.

Today, the label and packaging market has radically altered where and how labels and packaging are produced and how they are stocked. To learn more about this evolving market, Memjet collaborated with NAPCO Media to conduct in-depth market research.

The research produced interesting data about what types of providers are printing labels and packaging and the technology they are using to achieve the best results. Read Research Reports

Meeting Market Trends with Inkjet

NAPCO Media surveyed close to 300 participants involved in the production of packaging and labels. This audience was split as follows:

  • 45% of survey responses came from commercial printers
  • 21% identified as a package printer or converter
  • 20% were from in-plant print shops
  • 14% were a digital printing specialist

Of the respondents surveyed, over fifty percent (50%) reported using digital inkjet printing devices to print label and packaging applications. Most of the printers surveyed believed that inkjet printers enable them to keep pace with customer requirements, including shorter run lengths, personalization, substrates and increased SKUs.

Of particular interest are the responses about which type of printer is most actively using digital inkjet technology. The survey shows that commercial printers embrace digital printing technology for package and label printing; others plan to offer it in the future.

What is surprising is the lower rate of digital printing adoption by packaging printers/converters. This group had the highest percentage of respondents (26%) reporting that they do not currently use digital printing for labels or packaging – but they are considering it.

To understand the lower rate of adoption, you need to look at the ecosystems in which packaging printers/converters operate. These operations traditionally produce long runs of non-digital labels and packaging. And while the market is changing, these types of analog jobs still can comprise a large portion of the printer/converters’ business.

Contrast these non-digital operations with those of the commercial printer. Many commercial print operations have already adopted digital printing solutions to print items like brochures, postcards, forms, and marketing material. Their experience with digital printing technologies and workflows made it easy for commercial printers to migrate into adjacent markets like labels and packaging.

A New Breed of Printing Technology

As printing technology – and the packaging market – continue to evolve, package printers/converters who once focused on analog processes are beginning to make room for digital inkjet printing solutions in their business.

Like commercial printers, converters find that inkjet technology makes it easier and faster to produce labels and packaging. Moreover, inkjet lets providers quickly produce short-run, personalized packaging with the level of quality that rivals offset.

This new breed of inkjet printing solutions enables package printers and converters to make a move to inkjet in a fast and affordable way.

The new printer developed by Arrow Systems is a prime example. The ArrowJet Aqua 330R is a high-speed, aqueous pigment inkjet roll-to-roll print solution. This printer is the first to be manufactured in America and integrate the ChromaPlex LT inkjet print engine developed by Colordyne and Powered by Memjet.

This printer provides converters with enhanced print quality and greater production flexibility than previous aqueous inkjet technologies. Its fast speeds, and low ink costs allow this system to provide one of the highest production rates and lowest print costs in digital narrow web label printing.

The ArrowJet Aqua 330R uses Memjet’s DuraFlex® technology which enables it to offer high resolution, up to 1600 x 1600 dpi, and print speeds up to 150 feet (46 meters) per minute. The ArrowJet Aqua 330R can be configured for either offline operation or paired with various inline finishing options, including laser die-cutting and traditional analog finishing, to create a seamless workflow.

To learn more about inkjet and packaging trends, download the research report: Opportunities in Inkjet Label and Packaging Applications.

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