Between shrinking product lifecycles, decreasing run lengths and a boom in versioning, it’s no surprise that digital packaging will nearly double in the next two years.* The hard part for converters is keeping up.
At Xerox, we have a team of experts who specialize in developing printing systems to meet these changes head on. Rather than deal with extra steps and materials, we designed a way to digitally print directly onto packaging of nearly all shapes, materials and sizes.
And when we say nearly all shapes and sizes…we mean it. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading.
From Bottle Caps to Basketballs…
When it comes to printing directly on an object, analog technologies can be too restrictive. Your hands are tied in terms of the surface variety and it’s impractical to make quick design changes or switch object types.
The good news is that the Xerox® Direct to Object Inkjet Printer changes that. This device supports inkjet printing whether the material is smooth, rough, slightly curved or stepped. And you can print on virtually any surface, opening up the possibilities for plastic bottles and caps, clamshells, boxes, tins, ribbon, shoes, cloth, bags, wrappers and more.
Your workflow is also greatly improved. Now you can easily swap out objects and quickly make design changes. No more expensive analog processes or time-consuming labels. Customization and personalization is a whole lot easier, too.
The machine itself is designed for the retail space: taking up only 39” by 39” on the shop floor, giving you the biggest impact in a small footprint. The architecture of the machine has been designed in such a way to enable scaling up for clients who act as distribution centers or for industrial use.
*Editor’s Note: Want to see this solution live? Check out these cool demo’s from drupa on Facebook and Periscope.
Plastic Films and Substrates
It’s time for a breakthrough when it comes to printing on plastics. Using digital technology to print directly on plastic can not only reduce setup costs and ease registration and color adjustment issues, but it can also help eliminate inventory and adhesive label waste.
That’s why Xerox® developed a digital roll-fed inkjet press for printing on plastic films and substrates, helping overcome challenges associated with flexible inks, substrates and variable content.
The Xerox® Production Press for Plastic Films & Substrates can be used before thermoforming for applications like clamshells and lids, and it can cover many more applications, from blister packs to plastic pouches to plastic bags and shrink wrap. This digital press is a far cry from today’s analog solutions.
The press prints at 100 fpm with CMYK images at 600 x 600 dpi. It handles a variety of plastic substrates for tight or loose web apps. And it supports a wide continuum of inks, from rigid to very stretchable. Because the press integrates with the Xerox® FreeFlow® digital front end, you can even deliver variable printing.
*Editor’s Note: Want to see this solution live? Check out this demo from drupa on Periscope.
Corrugated is another area where we have heard a lot of challenges. Too much inventory and waste. Expensive overhead and make ready times. Extra work required for high quality color. And expensive and challenging variable printing. To sum it up, much technology for corrugated is behind when it comes to customization trends.
Our engineering services team is prepared to help.
Using proven technology, we can help you with a digital inkjet corrugated solution, whether inline with production systems or with a customized sheet-fed, flatbed transport that can deliver up to 152 meters per minute printing capability. Starting with Xerox® printhead technology featuring intelligent controls, the printhead can operate at high temperatures, and enable virtually any ink chemistry—solid, aqueous or UV.
We’ll work with you to choose the right ink for your application, whether that is containerboard or plastic corrugated, and then we integrate software, substrate handling, electronics, inks, workflow solutions and drying technologies to work towards a final solution.
Late Stage Marking and Coding
For late-stage customized printing, current technologies just don’t satisfy today’s demands.
Consider packaging applications such as food and beverage, corrugated packing boxes, and retail products. Typically, a second production pass is required to produce OCR, QR, and 2D Matrix codes; variable product information; date and lot codes; bar codes; and sequential batch numbering.
At drupa, we showed a solution that provides better image quality, lower costs, and the ability to add complex graphics at late-stage production. It’s called Masca ID DIGLase Powered by Xerox.
Among those that were impressed was Pat Reynolds, VP Editor of PackagingWorld, who stated in an article:
“DataLase makes a laser-sensitive pigment that can be incorporated into an ink or coating and then applied to a substrate like a carton, a corrugated case, flexible film, or narrow-web label. A laser beam then creates high-contrast digital printing of the substrate at the point of packaging or filling. This method of printing–reliable, fast, and inkless—has been in commercial use for some time, but only with conventional CO 2 lasers. What makes Macsa ID DIGILase Powered by Xerox different is that it relies not on a conventional CO 2 laser but rather on a diode array laser—the intellectual property of Xerox–to activate the laser-sensitive pigment. Instead of a beam of light, an array of beams is used. The result is much greater speed.”
This incredible technology produces high resolution, permanent and irreversible inline digital printing using laser printing technology that is inkless at the point of printing.
Ready to tap into the digital packaging opportunity?
The examples above are just a few of the ways we’re helping today’s packaging providers keep up with the always-evolving business of digital. If you’re looking for a custom print solution like the Xerox® Direct to Object Inkjet Printer, the Xerox® Production Press for Plastic Films & Substrates, or a solution for your corrugated application, please contact us to learn more about what’s possible with digital print technology: USA.Xerox.Engineering.Services@Xerox.com.
And if you’d like to learn more about the fast-changing world of digital packaging, be sure to check out our eBook – which is full of industry trends, market insights and practical advice to help you capture new opportunities.
*Source: “Customer engagement provides key opportunity for digital print in packaging, says survey,” Smithers Pira, 2016.