By Hubert Soviche
Much — too much — has been made about declining fortunes in the printing industry. The fact is, growth is available to printers if they know where to compete. Case in point: packaging.
This printing industry segment is valued north of $400 billion. This market niche is largely served by offset presses, but the portion that is open to digital printing is also growing. The biggest opportunities for digital are labels – worth about $8.75 billion* — and marking and coding, valued at about $25 billion.*
Moreover, Smithers PIRA, the worldwide authority on the packaging, print and paper supply chains, reports that smaller opportunities for digital printing are available in packaging areas such as folding cartons and corrugated.*
The FMCG sector
Xerox provides digital printing solutions across all packaging segments, but I will focus on folding cartons for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. “Small” as the market size of this sector may be, it is valued near a couple of billion dollars.
Digital packaging printing insights from Xerox
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For print shop owners, the opportunity is obvious – more print jobs for more customers. For the print buyer, digitally printed packages solve some nagging problems, and present some opportunities. Digitally printed packages offer:
- Short production runs, product versioning and personalization.
- Streamlined workflows when digital printing is inserted into the manufacturing process.
- Meet stringent quality requirements for brand owners.
- “Smart” packaging that enables better brand protection and asset management.
This is why over 70 commercial printers, packaging converters, design agencies and brand owners will join the Xerox Digital Packaging Live! event in the United Kingdom. One of our customers there – the Alexir Partnership – has agreed to open their doors. Attendees will see first-hand how Alexir has become a major U.K. player in the FMCG sector that can create, package and pack food products from design to delivery. This event will also show how Alexir successfully combines offset litho with Xerox iGen presses to print folding cartons.
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The Alexir Partnership, a large carton converter in the U.K., meets brand owners’ demand for short runs and more innovative products.
Another very successful packaging service provider has also already made the digital move in the U.K.: Qualvis Print and Packaging Ltd, who have recently invested in two digital printing lines:
- One with a Xerox iGen 4 digital press
- The other, an iGen 5, comes with a fifth color station that allows Qualvis to print with orange, blue or green in addition to CMYK.
The two iGens run in-line with two Tresu Pinta coaters and a Kama DC 76 cut and crease system finished the line. Qualvis creative design director Rich Pacey told PrintWeek that our iGens complement their existing line of litho presses that produce long-runs of packages. Pacey said Qualvis is now able to take on work for short-run packaging jobs that they previously turned down.
These Xerox Automated Packaging Solutions allow Alexir and Qualvis to print digitally on thick boards, coat and die cut short runs of folding cartons – all in line and in one step. The folding carton space is changing because of demands for shorter production runs, faster turnaround times, and more customization. That’s why digital printers – and Xerox — consider the packaging segment a lucrative investment.
*Source: Smithers PIRA, except for Marking and Coding, which are estimates based on Xerox internal analysis.