Industry Roundtable: Packaging -- can print providers take advantage of this market?

Day 4 of our annual Q&A.

Big Picture

BPIC: One topic seemingly on the tip of everyone’s tongue: packaging, and how print providers can take advantage of that market.
Is packaging something that a shop with wide-format capabilities can wade into?

Tim Greene, InfoTrends: Yes, I’ve been fortunate to go into some shops in the past year that are getting involved in the packaging market. Packaging is particularly interesting because, unlike some other elements of the printing industry, there’s not a digital replacement – it’s not like books, magazines, or newspapers. Also, because inkjet is a non-contact technology, it has the ability to work with the wide variety of substrates, including corrugated boards and thin films, that are often used in the packaging markets.

Peter Mayhew, LightWords Ltd: Given that the wide-format printer is the enabler, it all comes down to whether print providers have the right clients, skills, and cost base to develop their business into this new market opportunity.

Dan Marx, SGIA: Packaging is an option for many in the wide-format arena, but there are some key considerations. The first is throughput as it relates to application: For instance, there are a finite number of wide-format printers out there who can keep up with analog technologies to produce paperboard six-pack holders – but thousands of companies today could produce unique labels for a local winery using their roll-to-roll machines. The next consideration: Is customization a selling point? Can those six-pack holders be customized to allow for varying geographic identity, language, etc? I think with all new markets, companies need to think not of how they will do the same thing with a different technology, but how they can use a different technology to make the “same old thing” less appealing.

This is the 4th Q&A session from our 2012 Industry Roundtable. For Day 3, "What have been some of the most intriguing technologies and products introduced into the marketplace?" click here.

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