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Heidelberg Targets Packaging Market

KENNESAW, GA—While its installed base of diecutting and folder/gluer equipment geared toward the package printing industry may be small, Heidelberg intends to become a major player in this market segment. That was the message stressed by Heidelberg USA executives at a packaging media event held here recently.

To showcase its integrated approach to packaging production, a sample folding carton job was produced in its showroom—Prinect prepress preparation, printing on a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105, as well as finishing on a Dymatrix diecutter and a Diana folder/gluer.

The team leading Heidelberg USA’s packaging initiative includes Mark Rasmussen, product manager, packaging; Roland Krapp, vice president, sheetfed product management; Ralph Pasquariello, vice president, postpress product management; and Soren Larsen, vice president, national accounts and packaging accounts.

Noting that the U.S. folding carton market represents an approximately $9.6 billion business, Larsen reported that there are presently about 300 folding carton manufacturers operating 475 plants. Similar to consolidation that’s occurring among commercial printers, he noted that the top five folding carton producers in America represent 54 percent of all folding carton sales.

Other U.S. packaging industry trends Larsen indicated:

• Integrated firms are focusing either on consumer packaging or the paper/board business.

• Commercial printers are looking at folding carton opportunities to fill capacity.

• 40˝ is the primary press size for smaller independents; VLF (56˝ and 64˝) format for the large national accounts.

• Industry scrap rates have been reduced from 15 percent in 1995 to 9 percent today.

• Efficiency/productivity improvements are being achieved through technologies such as one-pass productivity; in-line color control; in-line register and sheet inspection; single, double and triple coaters; UV; and cold foil applications.

• RFID tracking and product security will gain traction.

• Holograms, hidden images and decoders are increasingly being used for product and anti-counterfeit protection.

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