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Packaging Today And Tomorrow
- May 28, 2018 -

At present, in the global printing market, the growth momentum of the packaging printing market is still strong, and therefore it has become one of the areas of particular concern to colleagues in the global printing industry. Keeping abreast of the situation in the packaging printing market and the changes in technology, it is important to implement investment plans for printing companies. To this end, Prof. Martin Dreher of the Flexo Technology Center at Stuttgart Media Academy analyzed the characteristics and application of commonly used packaging and printing processes, hoping to inspire the industry's colleagues.

Several common packaging printing process features

In principle, all printing processes can be used for packaging and printing, but the largest market share is undoubtedly offset printing, gravure printing and flexo printing, and its share of the size and the regional differences, product types, printing materials and other types have a great relationship.

1. Offset

Offset printing has long been known for its good print quality and low prepress cost. With highly automated equipment, offset quality can be well controlled, but the inevitable color changes and fluctuations in offset printing are the main issues, and at the same time it still lacks certain dimensional variability in web printing. The author believes that the development potential of offset printing has been exhausted, and there will be no more action on the improvement of printing quality and production profits.


The gravure coloring ability is strong, the ink drying energy consumption is high, but the plate making time is long and the cost is high. It is usually suitable for high quality, large quantities, and packaging printing suitable for substrate smoothness. However, the trend of short-version of packaging printing has made this printing process more and more challenging.

3. Flexo

Although the era in which flexo printing can only print simple and easy jobs is over, it still can not get rid of the reputation of not providing high quality printing. This may be true, but in some respects, the quality of flexo printing has surpassed that of other printing processes. The case is not rare. For example, it has been fully confirmed that flexo printing provides more color space than offset printing. As an easy way to process a wide variety of substrates, flexo printing has now become the most profitable packaging and printing process in the world.

4. Digital printing

Digital printing does not require plate making, and it can provide variable data printing, so that the print content is different, but due to the high printing costs, it is impossible to cover the entire packaging printing market in the foreseeable future.

When observing the global packaging printing market (excluding folding carton printing market), we can see that flexo ruled the western hemisphere while gravure dominated in the eastern hemisphere. There may be historical reasons for this, because flexo printing originated in North America, where traditionally there are few packages that use gravure. According to the author's view, the high market share of gravure printing in Asia also has its own tradition, which is mainly attributed to loose environmental legislation. Although environmental legislation in Asia has become more and more stringent in recent years, the market share of gravure will not drop immediately.

Europe, on the other hand, is in a state of equilibrium: the offset printing market, which is almost entirely focused on folding carton printing, is in a stagnant state, the gravure printing market is declining, the flexo printing market is growing slightly, and the digital printing market has grown substantially at its lower starting point.

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