In the May issue of Printing Impressions
, I wrote about opportunities in digital print for packaging
). There are opportunities, but also challenges. Among the challenges are selling the value proposition to end users, format, and workflow.
The format and workflow issues relate to the size of digital presses (too narrow for many packaging applications) and the workflow issues relate to software and hardware (compatibility of printing and converting).
One solution at PRINT 13 was the Xanté Excelagraphix 4200P, which Xanté COO Mark Swanzy says is unique in terms of high-speed, small footprint, and high-quality printing. The Excelagraphix, powered by Memjet, handles pre-die-cut sheets up to 42˝ wide and 96˝ long and 5/8˝ thick, and was producing custom finished boxes at the show. The Excelagraphix prints up to 12˝ per second, “eight times faster than traditional inkjet technology,” and prints on thick stocks such as corrugated, foam board, and liner board. Mark Swanzy gave me a pizza box with my name on it that had been printed at the show.
Among other packaging presses at PRINT 13 were HP Indigo, Xerox, and Xeikon.
HP Indigo, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first press launch at Ipex 93, offers the HP Indigo 20000 digital press, designed for flexible packaging. The Indigo 20000 handles rolls up to 30˝ wide, with a 44˝ cutoff.
Xerox has the iGen4 and iGen 150 presses which are “the only integrated, inline digital solution for packaging.” The Xerox systems include inline coaters, stackers and diecutters. Both iGen presses handle paper up to 130# cover, the iGen 150 in sizes up to 14.33x26˝, and the iGen4 in sizes up to 14.33x22.5˝.
Xeikon Trillium was introduced at drupa and featured at PRINT 13. Trillium uses a liquid toner that enables higher speeds to conventional toner. In addition to commercial printing, Trillium is suitable for some packaging applications including flexible packaging. The first beta installation is expected in Q1 2014. Xeikon also has the Xeikon Folding Carton Suite based on the Xeikon 3000 series digital press.