As reported by the Smithers Pira Consultancy in “The Future of Digital Print for Packaging to 2018,” the demand for corrugated packaging materials is expected to increase by more than 4% annually through the next three years. Leading this growth is a dramatic increase in requests from manufacturer and retailer customers for incorporating packaging diversification and personalization to better grab attention at point-of-sale. These customers want their printers to provide shorter runs of retail-ready packaging and displays, and digital printing is viewed as a leading technology to support this change.

“The ability to produce short runs profitably by using digital technologies allows corrugated printers to change the dynamics of their business. The reduction in pre-press costs and production time results in quicker turnaround and the ability to be more price competitive.” – Rebecca McConnell, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Fujifilm

Packaging printers and corrugated converters that adapt to a world where litho and flexo print coexist with digital have the flexibility to match the technology that most profitably prints the job based on the number of pieces needed and the level of customization required.

In 2014, Fujifilm introduced an integrated digital solution for corrugated printers that combines the Inca Onset X3 flatbed press platform, Fujifilm Uvijet inks dedicated to corrugated board applications, and an automated handling system. The benefits of this solution allow printers to:

  • Capture more of their clients branding business by locking into custom corregated displays and other designs
  • Employ Variable Data Printing (VDP) into their product offering, dramatically increasing new higher margin business for runs of one to several thousand
  • Expand color match quality with more consistent control of branded spot colors
  • Have jobs completed before set up is even started using conventional corrugated print technology options

The corrugated package printing industry will continue to prosper and succeed through the integration of conventional and digital equipment. Digital inkjet technologies provide the flexibility converters and printers need to produce customized display and transit packaging more efficiently, reduce lead times, and cost-effectively compete for more short run work.