Digital printing is advancing in sheet-fed printing markets – covering printing inks, coatings and related industries

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Digital printing is growing in many markets, including packaging. The use of inkjet printing, either in a hybrid model or as a replacement for short runs, is beginning to take hold in the conventional cut-sheet segment.

Niv Ishay, marketing manager, HP PageWide Industrial Corrugated said the company’s corrugated printers are changing the industry and leading the way into new markets.

“HP corrugated presses reduce the cost of manufacturing corrugated boxes,” said Ishay. “Our PageWide customers are gaining new capabilities, new opportunities for success, with digital efficiencies that make it easier to print and sell more, while reducing steps, time and costs compared to traditional print production. corrugated cardboard. They accelerate their productivity with HP PageWide presses, which are powerful and proven workhorses. With field-proven offset quality, they easily print short, long and extra long runs.

One of the important questions is where is the tipping point when the number of impressions is profitable compared to other technologies. Ishay added that some of their HP PageWide C500 cut-sheet customers are converting jobs of 20,000, 30,000 boxes and more, displacing them from flexo and litho production.

“So digital corrugated packaging is definitely not just for small print runs or one-off campaigns anymore,” Ishay noted. “The reason for this is that when you factor in overall factory optimization and late delivery penalties, there are many cases where digital production is more cost effective compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Additionally, if you factor into your profit, hidden costs, such as the need for reprints due to obsolescence, the ability to print exactly what you need when you need it, adds to your margin.

Matthieu Carni, Director of the Inkjet Business Unit at Siegwerk, commented that Siegwerk is seeing an increasing penetration of inkjet into sheetfed paper.

“Shorter print runs, a need for flexibility, and leaner total production processes drive digital printing,” Carni said.

“However, the break-even point between analog and inkjet in terms of printing costs per square meter cannot be easily established as it depends on various influencing factors,” Carni added. “In general, inkjet efficiency increases as technology advances and, at the same time, inkjet costs decrease. Advanced inkjet technologies (press and ink) and economies of scale and scope will slowly but steadily shift the break-even point to higher numbers of impressions. We are not expecting a replacement of other technologies, but an extension of current production capacities by digital printing. Hybrid concepts will be part of the picture in the future.

“While there will always be a place for traditional printing, inkjet is becoming more viable on larger print runs than it has been in the past,” said Warren Catchpole, Chief Solutions Officer digital for digital inkjet inks at Wikoff Color.

Oscar Granados, Sales Manager at LogoJET, said he is definitely seeing inkjet growth.

“Digital printing and specifically inkjet as a technology are replacing conventional printing processes,” Granados added.

Phil Jackman, global product manager, digital, Sun Chemical, observed that while inkjet becomes more cost-effective and efficient as it matures, being challenged as a direct replacement printing process for the analog is usually not the best approach.

“Maximizing the potential of digital printing from its many strengths generally creates a much stronger value proposition and often creates entirely new market opportunities,” Jackman said. “For example, print-on-demand, and especially web-based print apps, can really maximize value for customers (and therefore revenue stream for printers) by facilitating an automated and streamlined process. The placement of inkjet printing in the packaging line can also be disruptive to conventional printing with, for example, printing directly onto a container instead of applying a label, thus replacing the total cost of the label and the need for pre-printed stock. ”

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