Combining in-line processes provides the key to distinctive products.
COMBINING A VARIETY of processes in package-printing applications is being seen more and more often. This does not mean that it's becoming routine—by any sense of the imagination—just more popular. Commenting on last year's TLMI Awards Competition, Ray Mackura, technical marketing manager for Avery Dennison, Fasson Roll North America and a judge in the competition, said, "The use of combination printing is becoming quite common, and printers are getting really good at it."
The reason why combination printing is not routine (and hopefully, will never reach such a stagnant milestone) is that it provides a multitude of opportunities to add distinctiveness to products. Although Jim Imburgia, senior sales manager for Aquaflex, says rotary screen, water-based laminations, and gravure are most common, "It seems that package designers and brand managers are always pushing the envelope on what can be produced. That leads to some very interesting combination processes," he adds.
As Mackura points out, printers are getting really good at combination printing. This is, in part, born out by the big winners in packagePRINTING's Excellence Awards and the TLMI Awards competitions last year. In both of these competitions, combination-printed entries won top honors.
Spear's "Bacardi Big Apple" entry won first place in the Excellence Awards' Labels—Combination Process category and then won Best of Show when stacked up against the other first place winners. It was produced using rotary screen, flexo, and hot stamping to provide a distinctive no-label look for the Bacardi product.
At TLMI, Dow Industries won first place honors in the Multi-Process—Color Process—Prime category and then won the coveted Best of Show award. This label used 4-color high-definition UV flexo printing in combination with 2-color rotary screen.
The real rewards, though, come on the store shelves where consumer products companies are looking for any advantage they can get. To provide them the greatest opportunity for success, press manufacturers are designing highly productive, flexible presses that will allow brand owners to be creative in the looks that can be achieved for their products.