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Next decade will be digital for packaging, Print Innovations show hears

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Next decade will be digital for packaging, Print Innovations show hears

March 02
15:01 2013

The next decade will be a digital one for packaging, according to an industry expert

Speaking at the Big Print Debate at last week’s Packaging Innovations show (28 February), Reflex Labels director Will Parker said that he predicted that digital print will grow and develop.

Teenage years to adult years

He said that digital is rapidly transferring from an adolescent technology to an adult one. He said that packaging will start to “feel its effect” very soon, due to its ecology, size, speed and abilities.

Reflex hit the headlines last year by signing what is believed to have been the first agreement to buy a Landa nanographic printing press at the Drupa show. Parker praised the technology.

He also said that “personalisation and invidualisation are tools that can drive marketing return” and that digital will continue to develop.

The Big Print Debate was chaired by Print Week contributing editor Jo Francis.

Waitrose packaging and reprographics manager Karen Graley, Unilever Global Packaging capability leader – Printing & Decoration Matthew Daniels and Print Research owner John Charnock also took part in the debate.

Drawbacks and opportunities

Speaking about the opportunities for digital, Unilever’s Daniels said that there would be strong demand for personalisation, especially in emerging markets.

Waitrose’s Graley also said that there would be opportunities in using digital for promotional activity and locally produced products.

Speaking about the challenges of digital, Daniels said that cost was a factor and Pantone colour.

He used the example of his firm’s brand Dove, which uses “a lot of branded colour”. He said in the future he hoped that Unilever could achieve this but it was “one of the drawbacks”.

The issue of material barrier properties and challenges with ink migration was also raised at the debate. Daniels said that Unilever was focusing its digital efforts on its home and personal care range.

He said: “Our understanding, so far, is that a lot of digital inks are a little bit more aggressive than conventional inks. So, around food we are a little bit more cautious.”

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