March 2005 Issue


Apprehensive Optimism

The folding carton market has been slowly recovering since it hit a low in 2002. However, market projections for 2005 are a mixed bag. IT'S EASY FOR the folding carton market to be optimistic about the future if it bases its outlook on 2004's end-of-the-year numbers. According to the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC), last year saw a 4.4 percent increase in folding carton shipments by dollar value, and a 4.3 percent rise by volume, reaching a total of $9 billion on the year. However, things aren't as golden as the statistics make it appear. Recent information from the large, integrated companies reports a $50

Behind the Growth Numbers

Data show a rebounding industry, but the real picture is more complex—and encouraging. WHETHER AN INDUSTRY'S basic economic numbers look good or bad on the surface, it's usually necessary to look more deeply in order to understand what is really happening—and what those numbers mean for the industry's future. That is the case today with the printing, publishing, and package-printing industry. As several sources have pointed out, the industry in general has been rebounding from several very difficult years. Revenues are increasing across the board. Indeed, at the PRINT OUTLOOK® 05 conference in December, Printing Industries of America (PIA) Chief Economist Ronnie Davis said,

Flexible Packaging Leads the Way

With favorable trends in the use of plastics and pouches, flexible packaging converters are set for success. FLEXIBLE PACKAGING CONTINUES to cast a shining glow over the package-printing landscape. The category has at least two very positive forces filling up its sails (could be spelled "sales"). One is the continuing industry trend toward the use of plastic materials and, along with this, the growth of pouches as a preferred packaging method. In a study released last October titled "Paper versus Plastic in Packaging to 2008," The Freedonia Group projected plastic materials used in packaging to increase 3.1 percent annually through 2008. At

Giving a Dam

In the world of packaging and package printing, digital asset management is also dynamic asset management. IT HAS BEEN suggested that packaging and advertising will mount the last defense of ink-on-paper against the onslaught of digital and virtual technologies. Try packaging a box of Wheaties on CD-ROM or wrapping a birthday gift in a graphical user interface. Now that the drama has subsided, the rhetoric has also cooled, leaving the industry to deal with new and evolving realities, among them, the proliferation of digital workflows and data requiring identification, categorization, and storage. What? Why? How? Any digital media file with value to an

Opportunity Knocks

Tag and label printers are facing a double-edged challenge—maintain margins in the short term, while investing in technologies that may determine the future course of their businesses. TODAY'S TAG AND label printing business is dynamic to say the least. It is experiencing a wide range of challenges and new opportunities that require printers to stay focussed on overall market conditions and, in some cases, to make key decisions as to the future direction of their companies. On the downside, some of the traditionally strong (and large) label markets are mature and are experiencing stiff competition from alternative printing methods. The Freedonia Group's

Paperloop Announces New Management Team

BOSTON—Paperloop today announced a new senior management team. The new team will be headed by Rod Young, formerly Senior Vice President of the company's Information Products group, who replaces Ian Johnston as President and CEO. Johnston will continue with Paperloop in a consulting role with the 2005 Tissue World and CMM International trade shows. This management change reflects the company's increased emphasis on analytical and subscription-based products following the recently announced sale of the Tissue World franchise to CMP Asia. Young will be joined by Robert Berg, CFO; Liza Turner, Senior VP - Marketing and Sales; and Keith Balter, Senior VP - Analytical and

Quiet Progress in Folder/Gluers

Folding and gluing equipment manufacturers don't run the loudest marketing campaigns for their products, but there's plenty of innovation in the marketplace to shout about. FOLDER/GLUERS DON'T attract the attention that new presses and prepress software do. But that's not to say manufacturers of this finishing equipment don't have a reason to brag. According to Craig Jasper, sales director for converting equipment and product packaging at Roberts PolyPro, in the past five years, significant advancements have been made in the safety, quality, and value-added areas of folding and gluing equipment. With safety a top priority for every converter, some companies have taken such measures

Real Potential, or Not?

Lightweight gravure printing sleeves are trying to make headway in a market of printers leery of abandoning large inventories of traditional gravure cylinder bases. WHEN IT COMES to what real potential lightweight printing sleeves have in the gravure process, Randy Ferguson, director of sales at CNW Inc., sums up the general industry feeling in one sentence. "Sleeves will be an amazing thing for gravure, after a few minor speed bumps are smoothed out," he said. Save for a few printshops that have successfully transitioned to sleeves from cylinder bases in their gravure operations, most North American printers today are apprehensive about the technology and

What's All the Buzz?

Energy curable. It's the latest buzz and time has proven that UV and EB curing of coatings and adhesives can save printers time and money. And that's a goal that is as sweet as honey. PICTURE IT: COMPANY XYZ calls you for 10 rolls of your finest flexible packaging. Oh, and can you add a laminate to that, too? Oh, and one more thing … we need it by Thursday. So what do you do? You complete the order as quickly as possible and then start the hunt for a technology that can solve this problem on a permanent basis. This is where ultraviolet