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Direct Digital Printing to Corrugate

Do you share a passion for the printed graphics on corrugated today? Are you a corrugated producer and/or converter? If you work in the graphics print industry, you have likely seen the increase in demand for printing on corrugated.

With the advancement of modern graphic content, what was once just a shipping container is increasingly being used as marketing, even as an in-store display case. Brand identity graphics are being carried through to delivery boxes and product shipments as the corrugate packaging is more frequently reaching the end consumer. Much of this has to do with the substantial increase in online shopping and delivery of packaging directly to homes. In addition, the explosion of the number of available brands in a segment has driven companies to seek additional branding opportunities in order to differentiate themselves within the market.

The Shift to Digital

As we know, graphics can be put onto corrugated media via various options including flexo, offset, and digitally printed liner and board. However, due to demand by customers for quicker and more flexible printing options, one of the fastest growing methods is direct digital printing to corrugate. New developments, innovations, technology, and consumer demands are driving how digital printing is affecting the market. 

Durst’s Global Sales Director Wolfram Verwuester recently addressed this shift in the marketplace in a written piece titled, From Pixel to Output. In the article, he discusses how a change in customers’ needs for faster output, greater flexibility in run sizes, and sustainability has led to shift to digital printing in the corrugated market. Verwuester says, “The opportunity to use big data and to tightly connect with your existing clients and potential customers is exponentially higher with a digital mindset, workflow and printing machine in place. The future in corrugated packaging and display printing is digital.”

New Technologies bring New Opportunities and Advantages

The increase of digital print technology in the corrugated market brings several advantages and new opportunities. The digital approach eliminates most of the cost of pre-flight work as everything is digital and there are no ‘extras’ (ie: plates, dies, set-up). While this does require some proficiency and the right operating system software to handle digital printing, once in place, the process is streamlined and more efficient.

With an increased level of competition and shorter lead times comes higher demands for individualization and more complex production. Added to this are rising expectations in terms of image quality and pressure on overall profit. In addition, technological innovation is having a huge effect on the direct print industry. Presses are holding better register, able to be set up quicker, print with better accuracy and have features that machines in the past did not. This allows this new technology to compete with other traditional print processes in regards to output quality, while also more cost-effectively meeting customers’ needs for shorter runs and fast turnaround.

Of course, while technology is helpful and can make aspects of printing easier, it doesn’t negate the need for employees trained to handle the technology and having shop processes in order and followed. Processes and procedures need to be in place to maintain organization and to make sure operations run smoothly.

Durst at the Forefront of Digital Print Technology

Durst has been a leader in digital print technology, especially within the corrugated packaging and display printing market. The Durst Delta WT 250 has evolved into an industry leading corrugated packaging and display print solution featuring eco-friendly Durst Water Technology. As winner of 2018 SGIA product of the year, the Delta WT 250 is especially suited for corrugated packaging and display applications where high quality and odor free printing is required, such as with in-store displays and short run packaging and prototyping.

Most recently in the digital print space, Durst entered into a 50/50 joint venture with printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer for the development and marketing of a single-pass digital printing system for the folding carton and cartonboard corrugated industry. “Durst and Koenig & Bauer is really a ‘perfect match’ because combining our strengths will drive digitalization in the packaging industry, “said Christoph Gamper, CEO of Durst Group.

The partnership comes in response to this shift in the packaging industry towards digital and the need for more efficiencies while maintaining a high quality output. Together Durst and Koenig & Bauer who are both already offering state-of-the-art technology in the corrugated printing space will be able to provide fully automated production lines with capabilities that conventional production technology cannot address. In working together, the two companies will continue to drive digitalization in the packaging industry.