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  • 23 Jul 2018

Vandagraf report identifies bright future for color inkjet digital printing

James Bevan, founder and director at Vandagraf, speaking at Finat ELF 2018

Growth in color inkjet digital printing for labels and packaging will accelerate through to 2023 and beyond as the relentless roll-out of new technologies to meet previously unmet needs continues, according to a new report.

The Vandagraf report, ‘Colour Inkjet Digital Printing in Global Labels & Packaging Markets’, states that color inkjet digital printing is well on the way to being a highly disruptive force across the labels and packaging industry.

Digitally printed labels is a market seen as already mainstream, although with plenty more scope for growth. Narrow web inkjet presses are already used for labels and packaging options including small folding cartons, flexible packaging, pouches and sachets, form-fill-seal and blister packaging.

Digitally printed packaging, a much larger and more diverse market than labels, is emerging rapidly. Here, emerging digital inkjet presses will address previously unmet needs of packaging related applications, including: wider web inkjet presses, with great potential for mid to large size packaging blanks (primarily for folding cartons and flexible packaging); corrugated board inkjet digital presses; and inkjet printing direct to 3D cylindrical packaging profiles.

The report sees digital inkjet printing technology in 2018 as seeing strong and robust double-digit growth across all labels and packaging segments. Contributing factors include: cost effectiveness for shorter print runs; cost effectiveness against competing digital technologies; and comparable print quality to analogue processes. Inkjet is also said to offer ‘powerful value-added functionalities and benefits’, comparable to NFC/RFID but at significantly lower incremental cost.

James Bevan, founder and director at Vandagraf, said: ‘It is Vandagraf’s view that growth of digital inkjet printing across the labels and packaging industries will actually accelerate through to 2023 and beyond as the relentless roll-out of inkjet printing of labels and packaging continues to gather momentum.

‘Success has already been seen across the labels industry with significant further growth prospects in terms of markets, product categories and geographies. But actually, the labels market looks to be just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. The opportunities in the packaging arena will in the end be much greater than labels – It will just take a bit longer to realize.

‘Furthermore, the packaging industry is in a position to leverage on inkjet technology development and know-how built up over recent years already in the labels field and indeed more generally within the huge global desktop printer industry. In many cases it is the same technology/solution providers for the core inkjet printing technologies, such as printheads and inks.’

The main differences lie in: scale, where packaging blanks tend to have larger footprints than labels blanks; and substrate transport mechanisms, where larger, more flexible and thicker materials are to be handled. Direct-to-shape inkjet printing is noted as a distinct process.

Find out more about this report here

Bevan spoke at the Finat ELF event earlier this year. Read a full report in Labels & Labeling issue 4, 2018

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The Labels & Labeling global editorial team covers every corner of the world from Europe and the Americas, to India, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia with all the latest news from the label and package printing market.

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