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Focus On

Unpacking New Revenue

With printing companies seeking to remain profitable, diversification into new markets is more important than ever. Rob Fletcher learns how packaging could be a viable option for businesses looking to expand

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PSPs looking for work in new markets should think about packaging

Colourful opportunities

Given the reports of packaging and the environment in recent times, it seems that this market has picked up a negative reputation in the mainstream media. However, it is important to remember that much of this coverage focuses on the plastic, non-recyclable side of packaging, rather than print.

In comparison, the majority of paper-based, printed packaging offers brands and marketers a sustainable option that does not leave a negative taste in the mouth of the consumer. And for those print service providers (PSPs) seeking out work in new markets, printed packaging could be a smart move.

Here, we speak with some of the leading technology brands active in this sector and find out not only what their view is on diversification into the market, but what sort of kit they would recommend to those PSPs thinking about making the move.

Easily achievable

One of the top names in packaging and indeed global print is HP, which has a number of solutions on offer here. Andrew Pike, marketing manager for the UK and Ireland at HP Indigo, says the manufacturer has seen more traditional print companies moving packaging in recent years.

“Over the past couple of years, more and more commercial digital printers have ventured into printed packaging,” Pike explains, adding: “With a larger sheet size available on the HP Indigo 12000, and thicker substrates possible, packaging has become easily achievable.

Over the past couple of years, more and more commercial digital printers have ventured into printed packaging


“Margins in short-run packaging are good, with the only other option being expensive long runs, and no personalisation possible. Winning new packaging customers can also help to gain more commercial business from these new customers.”

Pike cites the B2 HP Indigo 12000 press as one of the best solutions for PSPs on the lookout for kit to help the move into this sector. Designed for the commercial industry, the press features high definition heads and now also has the option of a thicker substrate kit, enabling up to 550 micron.

Elsewhere, the HP Indigo 30000 is HP’s specialist Folding Carton Press for high volume digital folding cartons. In addition, the HP Indigo 20000 can be used in the rapidly growing flexible packaging market.

Pike also picks up on the importance of security in packaging work and explains how HP can help: “When it comes to packaging, security has become a big issue with the increase in counterfeited products. HP has introduced micro-text, invisible UV inks, and working with HP Link software for tracking and identifying items without the use of a visible mark.”

Taking the step

Elsewhere, Friedheim International offers a wide range of converting equipment for the traditional printer to finisher looking to get into the packaging markets. Roger Cartwright, converting sales manager, says a PSP’s previous production knowledge will serve them well if they decide to make the move into packaging.

Cartwright says: “Since a printer already knows colour, the substrates and customers, the only step they need to take to retool and rethink their workflow. This may sound daunting and expensive, but many of our customers have received massive benefits in doing just this.

“To make the jump to packaging will need a die-cutter that has short makeready times, added features such as foiling and embossing and a way to team up with a printer’s MIS and print engine. Followed on by a specialist folder-gluer—which one depends on the market that they want to target due to the substrates they need to cater to.

“Obviously, this is a very simplified way of looking at the problem, but when you come down to it, it’s just like any other workflow problem.”

Cartwright wastes no time in highlighting the options available from Friedheim to help PSPs expand into packaging. The KAMA ProCut 58/76 die-cutter plus foil has over ten different applications, which Cartwright says makes post-press processes highly flexible to satisfy the customer’s needs. The machine offers hot foil stamping, hologram application, and cutting, creasing, perforating, kiss-cutting and blind embossing for both commercial products or packaging.

Available from Friedheim International, the KAMA ProCut 58/76 die-cutter plus Foil has over 10 different applications


Meanwhile, the KAMA FF 52i is, according to Cartwright, the world’s first folder gluer dedicated to short and digitally printed. Offering a KAMA patent, fully automated set-up, the device can create products such as folding boxes for beauty, healthcare and consumer goods or versioned pharmaceutical boxes with Braille.

Delving further into Friedheim’s range, the new generation of Lasercomb digital cutters have been developed to produce samples and small series for the digital packaging and signage industries. Also available from Friedheim are Stock sheet-to-sheet laminating machines, suitable for all types of corrugated and solid board production, point-of-sale advertising display materials and packaging processes.

Friedheim also offers the new Duran Alius specialist folder-gluer, which boasts a top belt speed of 600m/min and is available in three sizes— 70, 90 and 110. In addition, Friedheim stocks carton converting and window patching kit from Kohmann.

The new Duran Alius specialist folder-gluer, which can be purchased from Friedheim, offers a top belt speed of 600m/min


Cartwright adds: “We will have numerous examples of finished products as well as unprocessed blanks at this year’s The Print Show, to highlight the quality and versatility of the packaging converting equipment we supply, namely KAMA and Duran.

Buoyant sector

Also championing packaging as a potential diversification market is Graham Moorby, joint managing director of Printers Superstore.

Graham Moorby, joint managing director of Printers Superstore, says with plastics under environmental scrutiny, people are turning towards paper and board alternatives


Moorby says: “Packaging is a buoyant sector for a number of reasons, it has been recently boosted by the rise in online ordering—and with plastics under environmental scrutiny, people are turning towards paper and board alternatives as a more progressive solution.

“With so many products on the market, packaging is ever more crucial as part of the marketing mix. It’s the printer who can really add value to the process as the feel, colour and quality of the packaging plays an important role in the consumer’s purchasing decision.”

Printers Superstore supplies Shinohara and Hans Gronhi presses in the UK, and some of this kit is suitable for packaging print. Specialist packaging machines can handle packaging stocks up to 0.8mm, while, as Moorby explains, specialist perfecting machines are something of a “speciality” for Printers Superstore. In addition, its LED-UV curing options are suited to the packaging printer’s needs, no matter how niche.

In addition, Moorby says Printers Superstore offers innovation in the finishing section: “Our LC series laser die cutters can finish sample box work at up to 2500SPH. You no longer need large run lengths to make box manufacturing economical, so it opens up a gateway into specialist and short run work.


Printers Superstore says its LC series laser die cutters pen up opportunities in specialist short-run work


“You can also open up a massive design potential with our laser cutter as you can create designs which would be impossible by traditional methods.”

Elsewhere, although Epson errs on the side of caution when discussing the potential for commercial printers to expand into packaging, the manufacturer does have kit on offer to support such a move.

Phil McMullin, sales manager, ProGraphics, at Epson UK, comments: “We do have offerings that fit into the packaging workflow for those companies who already possess the main means of production, such as proofing devices and printers for the production of bespoke colour labels.

“Obviously these are important parts of the complete solution and we will have these printers being demonstrated at The Print Show this year.”

Products for proofing from Epson include the SureColor S80600 with white and metallic ink specifically for packaging proofing when used in conjunction with software supplied by Epson partners, GMG and Nth Degree. Epson can also offer the SureColor P series, which is traditionally used for all proofing requirements.

McMullin says: “This offers the unique ability to produce full mocked up packaging including all correct pantone colours. This offers cost effective, easy-to-use and proven methods of proofing prior to full production.”
Epson can also help in the label side of packaging with its entry-level ColorWorks C3500 for very short run and the ColorWorks C7500 production label printer for greater detail and longer run.

Media matters

Away from hardware and PSPs will have to pay careful attention to the types of material they use in packaging. Antalis has a selection of media suitable for such work.

Katie Farr, head of marketing for print and visual communications at Antalis says: “Diversification is key to survival. It’s clear that there are ongoing challenges within the traditional print market that printers need to navigate and exploring new business opportunities is vital.

It’s clear that there are ongoing challenges within the traditional print market that printers need to navigate and exploring new business opportunities is vital


“Offering tailored print packaging solutions, alongside traditional print capabilities, can elevate the role of the traditional printer and position them as a value-added partner to their customers; offering a full service proposition that differentiates them from their competitors.”

Farr cites ‘graphical packaging’ in particular as an excellent opportunity for both litho and digital printers, as customers look for standout in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Farr says: “Creative, interesting and engaging printed packaging using innovative substrates and the latest materials can provide the desired cut through and that ‘wow factor’.”

With this in mind, Farr draws attention to the products available from Antalis. This portfolio includes the range of folding box board (FBB) materials from Invercote and Incada that can be litho and digitally printed.

Invercote consists of a large range of first-class multi-layered solid bleached boards and, according to Farr, provides “excellent structural characteristics” to ensure no cracking occurs during the finishing process. Farr says the Incada range of folding box boards also offers “excellent smoothness and printability”, and is designed for quality packaging and graphical applications.

O Factoid: A recent study by Which? found 29 percent of supermarket packaging cannot currently be recycled O


Farr adds: “With headlines about the negative impact of plastic waste continuing to dominate the news, it’s an ideal time for paper and board packaging solutions like these to be given the spotlight, especially as both ranges are manufactured right here in the UK.”

With a nod towards the security element of packaging, Farr explains products such as PowerCoat Alive can help. This intelligent paper incorporates Near Field Communication technology and allows customers to connect and engage with brands through the use of smartphones. In addition, brands can capture valuable streams of data.
Farr says: “PowerCoat Alive can be printed, finished and handled as you would any other paper, which enables any printed materials such as packaging and labels to be interactive and deliver additional content such as special offers and product information.” PowerCoat Alive will be among the products on display at the Antalis stand at The Print Show in September.

PowerCoat Alive from Antalis incorporates Near Field Communication technology, allowing customers to connect and engage with brands using a smartphone


There are undoubtedly opportunities for PSPs in the packaging sector but, as is the case with all diversification projects, it is important to ensure you have the right experience, knowledge and kit to take on new work. By working with some of the companies cited here, you can make a successful move into packaging and benefit from the work on offer.


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