An $11 billion market opportunity, the packaging industry has been traditionally ruled by analog printing equipment, with only 7% of these materials currently printed with digital technology. However, shorter product life cycles, demand for faster time to market and a decline in average run length are accelerating the need for digital print. Furthermore, brand owners are seeking the versioning, short runs and reduced environmental impactthat are only available with digital printing technology.
To help packaging converters and manufacturers take advantage of the digital opportunity, HP is introducing the HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press for production of corrugated displays and short-run packaging. HP also announced general availability and a new lamination partner for its HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses.
“After leading the shift to digital in label printing, HP is again driving an unstoppable analog-to-digital transformation in the package printing industry,” said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president, Graphics and Inkjet Solutions Business, HP. “With HP solutions, packaging converters can capture the benefits of digital printing to diversify business models, reach new customers and explore new profit areas.”
The HP Scitex 15000 Corrugated Press simplifies and streamlines corrugated printing on an industrial scale. With the new large-format digital press – expected to be available Nov. 1 – converters and display makers can print direct to corrugated media, as well as add short-run and versioning capabilities to their existing flexographic or lithographic-lamination operations.
The press features HP HDR240 Scitex Inks, which are Greenguard Gold Certified and meet AgBB criteria,making them ideal for indoor point-of-purchase displays, bulk bins and freestanding display units.
HP is extending its digital expertise to packaging after establishing a leadership position in pressure-sensitive labels, printing more than 24 billion labels in 2013 using digital presses like the HP Indigo WS6600 series.
At drupa 2012, HP unveiled the 30-inch-wide Indigo 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses, designed to transform the label, flexible packaging and folding carton markets with wider-format production digital presses. The presses are successfully operating at six customer sites and are shipping this quarter to meet demand from leading packaging printers and converters worldwide.
California-based Emerald Packaging has signed an agreement to install the first HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press for flexible packaging in North America, allowing the company to enter the snack food, candy, health care and cosmetics markets.
“The HP Indigo 20000 will bring a speed-to-market advantage as well as the ability to offer customized short runs, which will be important differentiators for us,” noted Kevin Kelly, CEO, Emerald Packaging. “No other manufacturer is close when it comes to offering a digital press for flexible packaging, especially for use with food products.”
HP also intends to enter the growing packaging segment with its inkjet web press solutions. HP Inkjet Web Presses, built upon HP Scalable Thermal Inkjet Technology, have delivered innovation and business transformation in other segments, including publishing, production mail and commercial print.
The HP 45si print cartridge and HP Black 2580 Solvent Ink – developed by HP Specialty Printing Systems’ (SPS) – enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and ink partners to deliver primary package coding applications on substrates including flexible films and coated folding cartons. Since introducing the ink at Pack Expo 2013, HP has signed more than 25 OEM partners to test the HP 2580 solvent ink in various applications. Additionally, ink partners are using the HP 45si cartridge to print on a wider range of substrates with their proprietary inks.
“With the HP 45si technology and Collins ink, we’ll be able to address the needs of a large installed base that is tired of dealing with the spare parts and service costs of continuous inkjet printers,” said Chris Rogers, director, sales and business development, Collins Inkjet .