The Power of Digitally Printed Packaging

Digital Printing and more specifically inkjet printing technology has made vast advances over the past two decades. We can comfortably say almost everyone in today’s world uses inkjet technology or comes across an inkjet printed product. It has made serious inroads into various printing applications, at times revolutionising the applications themselves staying true to its disruptive nature. Paper printing for home or office use, Graphics, Coding & Marking, Ceramics, Textile, Glass are some applications/industries where inkjet is competing with conventional process’s or has replaced the conventional process. Digital printing is becoming increasingly important as business’s are changing their strategies from mass production to mass customisation. However, digital print is only just beginning to infiltrate the packaging market and demonstrate its true potential for seamless and personalised advertising, both on and offline.

A recent success story of the potential of digital print in labelling and packaging is the largely successful ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The campaign involved bottles of Coke which featured 250 of the most common first names from around the world in multiple different languages. This allowed customers to 'share a coke' with their friends, families and loved ones. The campaign was a huge success, seeing both sales and social media engagement with the brand increase. Without digital print, the project, which spanned 35 European countries and 750 million packs, would not have been possible. The campaign demonstrated the importance of digital printing in increasing consumer interaction with a brand, through personalisation of packaging and easy integration with online marketing campaigns.

In fact, the even more incredible Coke campaign in Israel involved 20,000 different unique designs created by a software algorithm (as shown in the picture) with each design having a unique code. Customers were then able to use their unique design code to produce other items such as personalized caps , t shirts and shoes.

According to research by Smithers Pira (Sean Smyth will be speaking at InPrint 2015), the digital printing for packaging market is showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%. Smithers Pira says “digital printing significantly reduces the need for prepress and make-ready, greatly reducing costs, and that there is a strong desire among brand owners and retailers for customisation and shorter, more targeted press runs.” The digital print for packaging market is currently worth about $7 billion and is forecast to reach $15.3 billion by 2018 according to The Future of Digital Print for Packaging to 2018. Labels account for the bulk of digital printed packaging market share – in 2013, their value was 89.6% of all digital packaging. Over the past seven years there have been more than 1,200 narrow-web digital, print-on-demand, color presses installed worldwide for the production of self-adhesive labels alone. More than 250 new installations are being made each year in light of the impact and capability of the latest generations of digital presses introduced since 2003. This is expected to rise to over 400 a year by 2015, with perhaps as many as 15 to 20 per cent of these being used for package printing or pack decoration applications.

Benefits of of digital printing for packaging:

•           Provides avenues for a brand to add value and differentiate itself from other brands

•           Quick turnarounds and Short runs enables brands to easily refresh labels and packaging. The same can also be adapted for seasonal promotions, special events or even different regional versions.

•           Additionally, the short changeover times and reduced material waste can make it an economically advantageous option.

•           Brand owners using digital printing for their packaging work gain the ability to affordably launch new products and improve visibility on the shelves by introducing multiple designs

•           Digital press technology allows endless print possibilities that are simply not financially practical with litho or flexo. It also allows the brand for innovative promotional & customer relationship initiatives for example. Heineken beer in Europe has run several campaigns that allow customers to order six-packs of beer, through the mail, that arrive with their own personal designs.

•           Digital printing provides a converter flexibility. It allow them to start printing on digital and, as volumes increase, switch over to flexo printing. Sometimes digital is used as a test run, a proofing process, or as a seamless supplement to flexo.

If you are interested in knowing more about this exciting and innovative sector , then join us in Munich at this year’s InPrint which is co-located with Productronica. Our packaging focused conference programme runs on Thursday 12th November. Speakers include Heidelberg, HP (who produced the Coke campaign), Martinenghi, Tonejet and many others.

If you need a ticket you can get a Free activation code here :