Transforming the flexible packaging ecosystem

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Summer holidays can be characterized as a welcome ‘disruption’ of our work routine. But how often do novel technologies really ‘disrupt’ accepted production processes? Often, true transformation of an industry takes years or even decades. Sometimes, however, a solution comes along which brings such incredible performance benefits that it can truly reinvent the way we do business.

While I might be referring to the large format HP PageWide XL printer which prints B&W and color at twice the speed and half the price of previous solutions, this time I am actually referring to the post printing process of labels and packaging, and more specifically to HP Indigo’s Pack Ready solution for flexible packaging. For those not familiar with flexible packaging production, post printing process such as lamination is often much more critical than the actual print on the media. Laminated media can provide not only appealing and good looking printed visuals but also protection of food contents and heat sealability to pouches. The lamination process usually requires anywhere from a few days to a week of curing time before processing it and before the pouches can be filled with sweets, crisps or other foods. This existing production bottleneck creates good industry’s excuse to justify, impose long lead time and large inventory along with prep-time needed for conventional printing process for flexible packaging. Brands are discouraged from changing package designs, including multiple versions and special event based packaging campaigns.

Enter HP Indigo Pack Ready lamination. This novel flexible packaging finishing process, which is fully optimized for HP Indigo digital presses, completely eliminates cure time and enables streamlined end-to-end production process: print, laminate, slit, form, fill, seal – pouch making instantaneously. Instead of weeks, products can be ready for shipping immediately. This increase in turn-around time, from weeks to overnight, has big potential to transform the way the industry is working today. The HP Indigo Pack Ready lamination solution enters into customer beta tests by the end of this year. Beta site includes Toppan printing in Japan, Swiss Pack in Canada and a European beta customer is expected to be announced soon. 

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