Major changes are set to take place in the packaging printing industry over the coming few years. Innovation will gain pace for both toner types and the inkjet systems that use them. Competitive digital packaging film printing equipment will be seen offering lucrative features and several advantages to consumers. The overall value of the industry is set to increase even more, and by 2020, the market can be expected to be worth nearly £15 billion per annum. This growth will result from the new generation of features added to digital systems, bringing enhanced automation and greater reliability.
Here is a look at the main packaging printing industry trends that you can expect to see in the near future.
Inkjet Is Becoming The Preferred Technology
Most of the packaging film printing equipment currently used comprises electrophotography presses that print with either liquid or powder toner. Inkjet is the alternative; a noncontact process that ejects liquid inks on the packaging substrate, which is then made to dry using suitable curing mechanisms, such as UV treatment.
Numerous advantages are associated with inkjet technology, giving it a competitive edge over electrophotography equipment. For starters, inkjet printers are more suitable for larger print formats. Plus, they can be used on several kinds of substrates, and can easily be integrated into an existing line when compared to analogue equipment. Hence, they are more suitable for businesses who take on a wide range of different packaging assignments.
As of late 2017, electrophotography is still an industry standard, but inkjet usage is rapidly increasing. By the end of the decade the majority of packaging printing equipment will be powered by some form of inkjet technology.
Digital Will Overtake Flexographic Label Presses
Market growth over the next five years will mainly be for six packaging formats: corrugated, flexible, folding cartons, labels, metal and rigid plastics. Among these substrates, the label printing industry was the first to make significant use of digital technologies, simply because it allows self-adhesive labels to be printed on lightweight substrates. But now other sectors are witnessing increased digitalisation as well, and in the next 5 years, the flexible, carton and corrugated packaging markets will also see significant adoption levels.
Equipment suppliers want to tap this potential, and so are working on new presses with improved reliability, more automation options and faster outputs. Soon enough we can expect to see more equipment for high volume and quicker printing. Plus, these new products will be more comparable to their existing analogue counterparts in terms of costs.
How Will Short Print Runs Affect Your Business?
Digital printing equipment is currently more expensive than other options; but the latest presses bring additional benefit in the form of flexible data management, greater production capacity, multiple substrate capability and the like. The improving technology has allowed digital packaging film printing equipment to eliminate plates and pre-processes. Make ready times are being simplified, which has decreased set up costs. This all adds up to better ROIs for businesses that invest in digital presses.
Unit costs might still be higher than flexo printing for large scale print runs, but overall, digital equipment is more affordable for short-runs. This is attractive since average run lengths have been falling across the industry, due to companies introducing more pack sizes and varieties within the same brand.
Increase Your Market Competitiveness In 2018 With An Investment In Digital Printing
Interested in investing in digital equipment and other advanced technologies for packaging printing in the coming year? Get in touch with one of our technical sales team today for a chat about the benefits of digital and hybrid printing for your business, and how we can help you achieve a higher ROI for your current business model.