My guess is you do the same thing I do when cruising the aisles of your local supermarket. You look at packages: study how a label was made, examine the diecut on a creative folding carton, look for new ways a flexible package can be resealed.
It was—gasp—22 years ago when the first Indigo and Xeikon presses were rolled out at IPEX in Birmingham, England. The hype du jour was that digital printing was going to grow rapidly and dominate the commercial printing market. But it did not and has not.
The topic of lean manufacturing processes has kept coming up in conversations and interviews with package printers and converters in recent months. While it’s really nothing new—the strategy of bottom-up thinking and continuous improvement stems from processes adopted by Toyota well over 30 years ago—the practice is becoming more commonplace among package printers and converters.
In our cover story this month we meet Fred Arnold of McBattas Packaging and Printing in Fairbury, Nebraska. As he describes it, Fairbury (pop. 3,942) isn’t near anything. A couple hours southwest of Omaha and a long ride on two-lane roads from Interstate 80, it is not a place where you’d expect to find state-of-the-art digital printing. Yet Arnold’s company produces a wide range of folding cartons using a pair of Xerox iGen presses, occasionally augmented by an offset press.
Our stories this month take us from a refurbished mill building in Providence, Rhode Island where Admiral Packaging has done a masterful job of adopting and implementing lean manufacturing practices, to some key trends in flexible packaging, and on to some of the options available for coating and laminating.
The product planners and engineers behind inkjet presses believe that spraying tiny droplets of colored ink onto a substrate is a key part of the future of label printing—and perhaps even more of packaging. And they are right. Inkjet has been gobbling up share in some segments of commercial printing, proving to be a reliable, flexible and reasonably economical technology.
The bump factor at Labelexpo was high, with more than 16,000 visitors to bump up against while making one’s way around the show floor. The booths were busy and there was a definite vibe of enthusiasm throughout the halls. Here’s a quick look at some of what I saw.
The end of summer puts the kids back in school, adds traffic to the morning commute, and is the beginning of trade show season. And that means there will be lots of new things to talk and think about as we head toward 2015.
One of the most compelling things about packaging is how the convergence of graphic design, printing and converting results in the creation of engaging, visually satisfying, and superbly crafted labels and packages. Whether it is a three-dimensional container, a folding carton, a flexible bag or pouch, or a label on a bottle, the results range from simple to elegant to exotic. And they all come together at the packagePRINTING Excellence Awards.
If you are a member of TLMI, the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute, chances are it may have done quite a lot. Standing at the epicenter of the tag and label industry, TLMI is an integral part of the success of its member companies and, as its mission statement says, is committed to providing business solutions that enhance the prosperity of its members and the narrow web tag, label, and packaging industries.