Screen enters European flexible packaging market
Screen Graphic Solutions is entering the European flexible packaging market.
Building on its proven inkjet digital print technology, the company will soon introduce the Truepress PAC830F, an industrial size inkjet digital press that enables flexible packaging converters to increase their printing capacity and profitability.
‘The Truepress PAC830F inkjet digital platform provides a much faster speed to market than flexo, gravure or offset printing presses, enabling flexible packaging converters to meet brand owners’ demand for shorter lead times,’ said Juan Cano, Screen Europe’s business development director-flexible packaging.
Screen expects the PAC830F to be available for demonstrations in the next few months, with the first press shipped later this year.
With the launch of the new inkjet digital press, it is responding to recent market trends. ‘The flexible packaging industry is experiencing a digital transformation,’ said Juan. ‘Nowadays, product packaging is seen as an extension of the brand, another medium to communicate directly with consumers and offer them a more personal experience. Personalisation and mass customisation in packaging significantly increases brands’ ability to capture customers’ attention on the shelf with new eye catching designs.
As a result, average run length is decreasing and brand owners are demanding shorter turnaround times with a higher degree of product diversification (more SKUs), segmentation and versioning to satisfy their needs for promotional campaigns, seasonal products, and more relevant content. That means lower volume print runs but ordered more frequently. Only equipment with a 100% inkjet digital print engine can meet these requirements efficiently.’
Screen has been developing inkjet digital printing systems for all the main segments in the packaging industry: from commercial printing to labels, corrugated board and folding carton. The next natural step was to leverage its extensive know how and develop an inkjet digital printing platform to print on the most commonly used substrates in the flexible packaging industry using food safe water based inks.
Juan said, ‘The Truepress PAC830F has been specifically designed to produce short printing runs in a cost effective manner at 75 metres per minute and the ability to print up to 20 to 22 jobs per day. With these qualities, the PAC830F will provide increased flexibility, agility and interchangeability between printing technologies. Inkjet digital printing will increase both printing capacity and profitability.’
The new inkjet digital press’ ability to print small jobs fast, efficiently and profitably enables an optimal printing configuration for flexible packaging converters. ‘For instance, inkjet digital printing allows converters to deliver an initial portion of a large print job quickly and then have the analogue press produce the remaining bulk of the work at a later stage, with indistinguishable packaging print quality on the shelf,’ Juan explained. In addition, the PAC830F’s ability to print small jobs fast enables converters to serve new emerging boutique brands who are still small but may grow into larger customers over time.
The print quality of the Truepress PAC830F meets high standards. ‘The feedback we have received from the market on the print quality of the samples produced in our PAC830F has been overwhelmingly impressive and consistent,’ said Juan. ‘Leading traditional flexible packaging converters have been impressed with the outstanding image sharpness, the high opacity level that our digital white produces, the smoother gradings to zero and the elements of tight registration.’
Unlike hybrid configurations, printing all colours using a 100% inkjet digital engine is faster and widens the window of opportunity for artwork design, taking full advantage of the benefits of digital pre-press workflow. The PAC830F can handle substrates of up to 830 mm wide. It also integrates the latest generation of printheads with a print resolution of 1200 dpi using CMYK and white water based inks that conform to relevant food safety regulations. These features allow it to deliver both the excellent safety and rich colour expression that is essential for the food packaging industry.
As consumer attitudes and new legislation are driving the flexible packaging industry towards sustainable production processes, digital technology enables converters and brand owners to pursue more environmentally friendly ways to produce and print packaging. Digital printing allows for a just in time delivery so there is no overproduction or obsolete stock to be wasted. Screen aims to meet the industry’s latest requirements for packaging recyclability. ‘We see an increase in demand for mono-material packaging structures and our Truepress PAC830F can provide an eco friendly printing process to help reduce the CO2 emissions,’ said Juan.