Maximizing the Advantages of Hybrid Printing Technology
The differences between conventional and digital printing in many ways equate to the differences between art and science, says Ed Zumbiel, president of Zumbiel Digital. But when combined as hybrid printing technology, the scientific precision of digital and the artistic capabilities of conventional can lead to unprecedented packaging results.
Zumbiel Digital, a paperboard packaging producer in Hebron, Ky., was among the early adopters of hybrid print production, when in 2017 it became the first to install a Kodak PROSPER 6000S inkjet press featuring seven in-line flexo towers and in-line diecutting. While hybrid printing technology has gained adoption throughout the packaging industry in recent years, Zumbiel Digital’s press configuration has remained unique, allowing it to introduce unprecedented packaging opportunities to its customers.
“We’re probably the only people out there still with that kind of nutty configuration on a machine,” he says. “But we like it, and we’re looking at jobs and doing different work right now that’s not unimaginable on a sheetfed press or analog press, but it would be incredibly complex to do what we’re able to do in one single operation.”
Joining Digital Printing and Conventional Printing
While hybrid presses have been gaining steam in the packaging segment, the history of joining digital and flexographic printing can be traced back decades, says David Zwang, principal consultant for Zwang & Co., and chairman of the Ghent Workgroup, an international organization of graphic arts professionals that specializes in developing workflow best practices.