Digital Domination? —Polischuk
Isn't technology evolution fun to watch? I've been around long enough to see a few things come along—and go, too, for that matter! I remember the first fax machine we installed in the manufacturing plant where I worked. What a pleasure it was to walk across the plant and send something out, or receive important documentation in just a matter of a few minutes. Now, the fax machine outside my office cries out for attention. It's a pitiful sound!
Today, one of the really interesting developments in the world of package printing is the evolving capabilities of digital printing. And, although I said that technology evolution is fun to watch, package printers should not necessarily be spectators with this one. Digital printing is coming on strong and if you wait too long, you may be left behind.
Pira International recently released a study on the global market for digitally printed packaging and labels. As we reported in the January issue of packagePRINTING, Pira predicts this market segment will grow from an estimated $2.4 billion in 2009 to about $6.8 billion in 2014—a CAGR of 23 percent.
Last September, one of the real interesting sessions at TLMI's Technical Conference was a presentation by four package printers reporting on their experiences with digital printing. These companies included Color Ad Label, Consolidated Labels, Lightning Labels, and The Label Printers. Each of the companies' executives highlighted a number of benefits and key learnings that they had encountered. They were all decidedly positive about digital printing.
The cover story in this issue on Lightning Labels expands on some of the points that company founder, Peter Renton, presented at the TLMI conference. He founded his company to focus on short-run label printing and has been quite successful. One of the interesting points he made in September was that although digital printing is a great match for short-run needs, the greatest opportunity lies in variable data printing for packaging applications. He believes that, someday, having a case of product with 12 different labels will be common.