A Digital Future
Digital printing is making its presence felt in the package-printing arena. It’s no longer a promising technology for the next generation—it’s here now, and appears to have broken through the critical mass for emerging mainstream acceptance.
For the time being, it has found its place in short-run production. Many times it is used to off-load short-run print jobs from traditional presses to make them more profitable.
However, digital printing is still in the very early stages of evolution and as such, there still some barriers that need to be addressed, such as relatively high cost of entry and high cost of consumables. In addition, there are several competing technologies, each with its own application strengths.
In the long term, however, digital printing is a technology with seemingly unlimited potential for the future. To get a broad view of how this technology is impacting package printing today and where it is heading down the road, packagePRINTING consulted with executives from several companies that have an important stake in the future of digital printing.
pP: How is your company committing to digital printing for packaging? What digital printing technology is your company focusing on and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Stephen Cutler, marketing manager, Sign, Screen and Display segment, North America for Agfa—We are expanding digital for packaging through our growing UV printing product line. Packaging applications can be found in our :Anapurna wide format printer and the :Dotrix Modular digital press. The :Dotrix Modular prints on a wide variety of substrates, up to a web width of 25” across. The :Dotrix has spot color capability and features inline converting for short-run digital production and packaging jobs.
Another advantage of Agfa’s UV inkjet systems is that they have the ability to print white ink. The :Anapurna has inline and pre-white and spot white capabilities, and the :Dotrix has the ability to print white spot colors. White ink printing is critical in the packaging world. The :Dotrix also features grey scale head technology for smoother vigniettes, better image quality, and better text and linework. Grey scale technology allows multiple drop size results in cleaner images and edges closer to photo image quality.