Digital Solutions for Packaging at drupa 2012: Part I—Folding Carton Market Trends
Overview: True to its history of introducing new technology to the printing world, drupa 2012 offered plenty of new things. In addition it showcased a great deal of packaging specific offerings in printing and finishing technologies. If drupa 2008 was “The Inkjet drupa” this time around it was surely “The; ‘we think we have a digital solution for packaging’ drupa.” Karstedt Partners spent 10-man days on the floor meeting with equipment suppliers, users, journalists and pundits evaluating what was being offered by vendors, and what was being asked for by users. This 4 part series of posts offers an overview of what we learned from these meetings and can share with those interested in our opinions and observations.
The objective for this analysis is to assess the potential opportunities, threats, and implications for the packaging supply chain posed by new products and initiatives introduced at drupa 2012. Following are a few general comments and impressions regarding the show. In preparing for the show we scoured the web sites and presentations of the major players attempting to gain a feel for the state of the market from their perspective. The following slide from KBA caught our attention, and raised a big question; How is the industry going to respond to a 49 percent decline in revenue?
At 73 percent share, sheetfed offset dominates the new equipment market. Market segmentation of sheetfed offset typically groups press sizes into the following configurations: less than 24 inches, 24-36 inches, 37 to 42 inches and 43 inches and above.
As we prepared for our drupa interviews, we desired to understand where companies participated and what their outlook was for their particular segment of the market. Following are some observations:
• Press options for the under 36-inch segment are numerous with no shortage of participants. Heidelberg is the dominant player in this segment, with a 35 percent share in the 50 x 70 cm format size and a 48 percent share in the 70 x 100 cm format size. The bulk of Komori, Ryobi, Mitsubishi, Gallus, Presstek, and Omet sales also come from this classification.
• Press options in the VLF (very large format) size, or above 40 inches reduce dramatically. KBA is the market leader, followed by Heidelberg, ManRoland and Goss.
• Packaging applications are beginning to become the driver for sales in the VLF format. A sales manager from a large press supplier estimated 65 percent of VLF presses sold are being purchased for packaging applications.
• Digital printing is having the greatest impact in the 50 x 70 cm format size. Hot button issues are the requirements for flexibility, derived through flexibility in format size, quick set-ups and changeovers, and solid integration of pre-press to press.
• Digital capabilities in the 70 x 100 cm format size are now being introduced. FujiFilm, Screen, HP, MGI and Landa all displayed technologies targeting this format size. Having missed the boat on the 50 x 70 cm format size, traditional analog suppliers are quickly announcing strategic partnerships with digital developers.
• Entry into the 70 x 100 cm format size has also opened the door into potential expansion into Folding Carton. While Commercial Printing applications remain the primary target, Folding Carton is viewed as a potential opportunity through Commercial Printers as well as Folding Carton Converters.
• The introduction of off-line converting equipment specifically designed for packaging applications makes an off-line digital printing solution much more attractive.