drupa Day 3: 2012: The Year of Digital Solutions for Packaging
After our third day at drupa we are getting more convinced that drupa 2012 is the “we think we have a digital solution for packaging” show. All indications we’ve seen on the showfloor predict that drupa 2016 will be the “Digital Printing for Packaging drupa”. What does that mean? It means that the old standbys, Xeikon, HP Indigo (with their label and narrow web machines), Jetrion, Durst, and a few others are here this year showing continuing improvements in packaging technologies for labels. These systems are still very viable solutions and will be solid workhorses for their owners for some time.
It also means that there are now a group of what I will call “the new breed” of presses that are being shown here for the first time with packaging “stars” in their developers eyes. These new breed offerings will fall into two categories, group one has all the 30 by 20 inch sheetfed systems (they are all calling B2 format, a topic for another blog) that are able to handle paperboard of up to 20 or even 24 point, which the developers are using as license to say they are “packaging” presses. These offerings are coming from Screen, MGI, Memjet (through OEMs) and some others. There will likely be some carton work done on these presses but for the most part they are commercial printer centric presses that may end up doing some small-scale carton work.
The second group are the presses that are specifically designed for their particular market segment such as Folding Carton or Flexible Packaging. This group is small in number but large in noise and potential, Landa and HP Indigo have four systems in this group, one each for Folding Cartons and Flexible Packaging. All four systems are positioned as production presses and are being targeted at packaging converters. The other similarity of this group of offerings is they are on a similar track to the market, going into beta testing in early 2013 and targets for general release are late 2013.