From flexible packaging and labels to folding carton and corrugated boxes, digital is rapidly gaining popularity in packaging production. Several different factors are driving this trend. Demands for increased production flexibility and shorter times to market are contributing to the spread of digital printing in packaging applications because the long lead times – and costs – for analog printing processes are eliminated. An increasing number of brand owners are now looking for solutions that support more frequent design changes and efficient short-run production, in response to the need for greater flexibility. Brands are also looking to personalization or versioning to create greater engagement with the consumer. Furthermore, by taking advantage of digital’s greater flexibility and variability, packaging designers can realize eye-catching creative concepts for improved shelf appeal. For example, it comes as no surprise to learn that Smithers, the provider of consulting and market research services, has predicted that the digital packaging and labels market will grow by almost 13% annually during the period from 2017 to 2022.

All-digital presses for a wide range of packaging applications are available today on the market. Among the leading options for flexible packaging are the highly productive UTECO Sapphire EVO W and Sapphire EVO M Presses developed jointly by Kodak and the Uteco Group. These high-speed digital presses, which provide maximum web widths of 1370 or 650 mm, utilize Kodak’s continuous inkjet technologies and Kodak water-based inks.

Digital versatility for conventional processes in packaging production

The Kodak portfolio also includes solutions which allow packaging printers to enhance traditional printing or packaging converting processes with the flexibility of digital. The KODAK PROSPERPLUS and PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems were designed for integration into offset, flexo or gravure presses and finishing lines such as folding or gluing systems. They add digital flexibility to analog printing processes and enable modern, hybrid production scenarios, with no sacrifice in throughput. These versatile imprinting solutions are suitable for corrugated, folding carton, label, and flexible packaging applications.

KODAK PROSPER Imprinting Systems use KODAK Stream Continuous Inkjet Technology, which enables the highest print quality at stunning speeds.

PROSPER Plus Systems provide up to 600 x 900 dpi resolution and are available in two different speed and width versions. With their exceptionally fast speeds of up to 600 mpm, these systems rule out any impairment to analog press productivity as a result of the digital component. The print width in the narrow configuration is 105 mm; CMYK color prints are possible if four of these inkjet modules are cascaded.