‘Revolutionary’ digital printing technology uptake expected to accelerate for packaging
The whir of a digital inkjet printer that spits out crisp, vibrant documents in mere seconds is a familiar reference to most Americans. Just as this innovation transformed home and office printing when it replaced legacy tools like the dot matrix printer, industrial-scale digital inkjet technology is now transforming the packaging space. Digital printing, on the other hand, does not rely on plates. Designers develop the desired image in a computer program and send the digital file to the inkjet mechanism that sprays ink droplets directly onto the packaging medium.
“Print is the traditional bottleneck in a converting facility, and if you remove that bottleneck you can streamline both upstream and downstream processes,” Wettersten said. “That’s where transformation begins to occur with digital printing, aligning systems and workflow and enabling new capabilities around responsiveness and flexibility.”
“What we’re seeing today is large corrugated companies starting to invest in web presses to totally change workflow,” he said. “The impact on lead times is rather eye-opening: You can take conventional lead times of 18 to 20 days for repeat orders down to fewer than five days on a digital press.”