June 2008 Issue


A Long and Winding Road

Times are tough; there’s no doubt about it. Costs are rising, competition is fierce, and the economy is in a tail spin (or nose dive, depending on your perspective) but heading down just the same. “This was a difficult year for the [tag and label] business due not only to macro economic issues including high energy costs and continuing high raw material inflation, but also because of growing competition to labels and tags in the packaging industry itself,” notes Corey Reardon, president and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates. The rising costs of materials—across the board—are at the top of most printers’ lists of

Flexo Sleeves Gain Traction

Digital imaging of flexographic plates has brought about many improvements when compared to conventional platemaking methods. Sleeve technology offers further refinements to the process. Advances in flexo sleeve technology are yielding opportunities in markets traditionally dominated by offset and gravure—markets such as folding cartons and shrink sleeves. Lightweight, durable, easy-to-handle flexo sleeves not only work well with less expensive substrates such as tissue, napkins, and paper towels, but also provide excellent laydown of solid and metallic inks in packaging applications. Flexo sleeves are being used in two ways: as carrier rolls for flat, imaged plates mounted on the surface or with the image

Folder/Gluers Technology Showcase

Company: Heidelberg, www.us.heidelberg.com Product: Diana X 115 What is it?: Heidelberg’s new Diana X 115 folder/gluer features an open-frame design and modularity that allows customization for folding carton converters. Features: • From the prefolder to the folding station, all upper and lower roller bars, including the center carrier, are integrated into the AutoSet system for fully automatic make-ready • With the turning module, speciality cartons can now be folded and glued in one pass • The modularity of Diana X 115 allows for a tailor-made configuration for processing a virtually unlimited range of folding cartons • Precise and reliable processing of complex blanks •

Packaging Graphic Production in a Flat World

What does the fall of the ­Berlin Wall in 1989 have to do with getting packaging graphics from a computer screen onto a folding carton or label? Until I read Thomas L. Friedman’s 2007 book, “The World Is Flat,” I would have said the two were not at all related. However, having read the book, I can see a direct correlation—and so might you. Wikipedia describes the book as an international bestseller “analyzing the progress of globalization with an emphasis on the early 21st century. The title is a metaphor for viewing the world as flat or level in terms of commerce and competition,

Still Going Strong

This year has made for an interesting economic ride. Few want to say the United States is in the throes of a recession, but even a cursory glance at fuel prices is enough to know that the economy is hurting. Despite the current economic woes in the United States, gravure printers are enjoying continued success. Although customers are always on the lookout for the printer who will cut them a break here or there, gravure printers are riding the wave of flexible packaging, exactly the type of packaging that demands the quality that the gravure process routinely delivers. This is not to say that

Tag, You’re It —Polischuk

The tag and label industry takes center stage in this issue of packagePRINTING, with the annual State of the Industry Report - Tags and Labels and the Top Tag and Label Converters listing. The State of the Industry Report focuses on economic, market, and technology trends that impact the industry. Although the amount of technological change is not always apparent from year to year, it is amazing how much the industry has evolved in the last few years. At the start of this decade, many technologies seemed to be in their early stages of development and use, and there were questions as to when

Top Tag & Label Converters — Keep On Truckin’

As reported in our State of the Industry Report on tags and labels, the global market grew from 4 to 4.5 percent in 2007, even in the face of a struggling economy. And, this year again, a majority of participants in packagePRINTING’s Top Tag and Label Converters survey shared that they experienced growth in their businesses. Although the number went down from last year, about 68 percent of converters said that their businesses grew in 2007, as opposed to 75 percent in 2006.

Tough As Nails

Synthetic papers are tough, but that’s just one of two key attributes that make them distinctive. The other is their ability to support high-quality printing. All applications in which synthetics are used take advantage of these qualities in one form or another. Potential uses for synthetic papers include virtually any application that requires long-term durability, says Mike Mead, marketing manager for Wausau Coated Products. “Synthetic papers are chemical-resistant, ­water-resistant, tear-resistant, and generally more durable than paper.” In addition, synthetic ­papers provide an ease of printability, he says. Paul Mitcham, director of marketing and sales support for Yupo Corporation America, concurs with

Traceability: Giving every product an authentic identity

Counterfeiting, diversion, and contamination of products are big, “burning platform” problems. The results of a recent Purchasing Magazine survey show that 42 percent of buyers consider counterfeiting a “serious problem,” and 44 percent report falling victim to counterfeiting. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates counterfeiting costs brand owners $200 billion annually. The food industry was hit hard by a series of recent contamination issues. The U.S. spinach market was down about 40 percent a year after E. coli killed three and sickened 200. A recent survey of U.S. households found that 88 percent of consumers would buy a traceable product