Corrugated printers are being challenged to produce shorter runs. Fortunately, new innovations in digital inkjet printing have been developed to meet the challenge and respond to shifting market demands and industry trends.
The Drive to Digital
Customers are demanding faster turnaround and shorter runs due to customization and localization. Corrugated printers are now able to respond with an economically viable solution. At this point in time, digital inkjet printing for the corrugated market is not only feasible, it offers up the option to profitably produce customized short runs.
Our leading platform in the corrugated market, the Onset X Series, was developed to meet the shifting customer demands in corrugated. The series, which is made up of the Onset X1, Onset X2 and Onset X3, provides scalable and upgradable equipment to expand capabilities and increase production speeds.
Knowing that corrugated boards can warp and be difficult to work with on a digital printer, the Onset X Series is equipped with a 25-zone vacuum table that can handle materials of all different thicknesses and flute sizes, offering a powerful solution to brand demands. Coupled with a robotic automation system designed specifically for difficult corrugated boards, the Onset X Series offers a high speed, productive, and profitable solution for most any short run or customized job.
Prototyping can be costly, but is it necessary? Yes. Prototyping helps move products to market faster. Brands and buyers want to see prototypes that look like the final product, and digital inkjet is ideally suited to produce prototypes. At our Americas Technology Center, we encourage customers to bring in their most difficult or challenging materials to demonstrate image quality, and ink adhesion along with matching brand colors. Prototypes need to be precise matches to the final product, and customers can validate the inkjet solution by thoroughly testing materials and ink on actual jobs.
Before deciding to enter into the digital corrugated market, it’s also important to include finishing in the decision-making process. If a finishing system can’t keep up with the printing device, it will create a bottleneck so it’s better to be prepared before the printer is installed.
Beyond the Onset X Series, Fujifilm offers a range of quality and output digital inkjet solutions, such as the Acuity LED 1600 II large format hybrid printer and the high-speed Acuity F with a high flow vacuum optimized for the efficient production of various media applications. Packaging providers and print providers are fulfilling short run packaging work today on Fujifilm solutions across the range of production potential.
Elements to look at when considering inkjet equipment for corrugated printing include:
- Equipment – Assess the reliability, productivity and uptime.
- Material Handling – For unstable media, optimize the productivity and labor costs.
- Ink Properties – Color reproduction, finishing, odor, gloss, secondary food contact.
- Finishing – Die cut or CAD cut?
- Workflow – Getting files to the printer and cutter.
Just like any big change, you want to mitigate risk and make a decision after considering every facet and how it will affect the operations and business. Choosing the right partner to help you make the best decision is the key to success and Fujifilm’s specialists, technicians, trainers and product managers can help to make that process smooth.