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Nanography® for Folding
Packaging has assumed a larger role for branding, messaging, and measuring marketing ROI. Faced with a new generation of consumers with different tastes and buying habits, retailers and brand managers are making significant changes in their approach to the industry.
Brands offer far more versioned, private label goods and co-branded products. They frequently revise package designs to stay “fresh” and thus demand shorter volumes per run than ever before.
The packaging technology industry, including the folding carton segment is evolving as well. The 3,000 folding carton converters worldwide find themselves in a position to leverage demographic and market changes into new growth opportunities.
Growth Opportunitiesin the Folding
Generating about US$147 billion in end customer value, the folding carton market represents the lion’s share of the total US packaging industry’s annual US$358 billion revenue. The folding carton estimates encompass boxes, sleeves and blister cards — i.e., containers printed on cartonboard to package fast moving consumer goods.
Measured by the total, annual, global consumption of cartonboard, folding carton usage currently stands at 43 million tons. Micro-flute packages, the next largest segment, are containers constructed with thin cartonboard laminated onto a corrugated carton.1
1 Stephen Harrod, "The Future of Folding Cartons: Market Forecasts to 2018," Smithers Pira, 2013, p. 3.
PIRA estimates that digital converting solutions will produce 800,000 tons of folding cartons by 2014 – which equates to a healthy 2.1% share of total tons. PIRA also expects the folding carton market to grow by 4.5% annually through 2016, as it takes advantage of the higher demand for short run volumes.
The industry annually consumes 40 million tons of cartonboard, which is the standard for relative industry size. The healthy forecasts offer encouraging news for existing converters, as well as potential newcomers looking for new revenue opportunities .
Markets and Applications for Folding Carton
The push in packaging to smaller volumes runs through all key subsegments of the folding carton industry.
Print Technologies for Folding Carton
Current folding carton printing technologies — lithography, flexography, and gravure – are less than fully equipped to meet the new market demands. What hasn’t changed, however, are the standards and expectations established by these technologies – high quality, fast speeds, big media formats, low cost substrates, and mainstream production efficiency.
Digital technology is the acknowledged “right” solution for quick-turn, short run production. Current digital devices, inkjet included, still struggle to meet the minimum standards of quality and total cost of ownership.
The primary feature for any converting technology is clear: it must match traditional quality to reach market acceptance. Related success factors and technology requirements include the following:
- Colors that offer a tight Pantone match, spot colors that meet brand guidelines, and white and metallic inks for special effects.
- Abrasion-resistant packaging inks that comply with indirect food contact standards.
- B1 (41 in. / 1,050 mm) and other offset formats that are up to 48 pt. thick and weighing up to 1000 gsm.
- Cost-effective digital print runs less than 5,000 B1 sheets (41 in. / 1,050 mm).
- Integration to workflow and converting solutions.
Facing the Challenge
More than ever, converters should partner with brands and retailers to understand how their trending needs can guide them in their future investments in prepress, production and finishing solutions.
Current folding carton technologies cannot meet the new market demands for short run volumes and print-on-demand responsiveness. While new offset equipment has made great strides in reducing setup times, it is still not suited to short-run converting with runs of up to 5,000 B1 sheets (41 in / 1,050 mm.).
Nanography®: the Best-of-Both-Worlds
By combining the primary technological strengths and benefits of offset and digital print, Landa Nanographic® Printing technology presents a best-of-both-worlds scenario for the folding carton market.
The Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Presses have a higher throughput than any other digital sheetfed press in the industry, thanks to their unbeatable speed (6,500 SPH) and large format (B1 sheets; 41 in. / 1,050 mm). Using water-based Landa NanoInk® colorants with efficient, light-absorbing nanopigments, Landa Nanographic Printing® Presses produce an ultrathin polymeric film. The presses print on any off-the-shelf stock or packaging substrate without priming or pretreatment. The process yields the lowest cost-per-sheet of any current digital print technology.
Print Technologies At-a-Glance