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A Package Deal

(September 2013) posted on Fri Sep 13, 2013

Digital package printing holds distinct opportunities and challenges.


By Mike Antoniak

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A sporting-goods manufacturer employed Centrix’s digital capabilities for a sales presentation it was making to one of the nation’s largest retail chains. “The retailer wants to see an actual sample of the packaging and how it would look on store shelves. It had to emulate the real thing,” explains Miller. Utilizing the client’s design files, Centrix printed and delivered 10 mockups, 10 more of a revised design two weeks later, then 10 of the final design used in the actual sales pitch.

Another example of the shop’s digital work: Centrix now provides affordable multicolor packaging for handmade soap produced by the sisters of Benedictine Monastery in Atchison, Kansas. It’s printed on mottled white paperboard in manageable quantities. “They only have to buy a couple hundred at a time instead of 5000 or 10,000,” notes Miller. “And, we can turn them around pretty quickly, so they order only what they need to fill orders.”

Such projects only broaden the appeal and potential applications for wide-format as a packaging solution. “Digital printing will eventually change the packaging industry,” says Miller.

Mark/Trece: Finding the edge
Since 1962, Mark/Trece, Inc. (marktrece.com) has built its reputation by focusing on the diverse needs of the package-printing market. Based in Baltimore, the company includes a network of operations centers in several states plus Puerto Rico. Collectively, the centers provide full-service support to flexographic printers, including: concept development, graphic design, cutting dies, and platemaking.

Nearly two years ago, the company centralized its wide-format digital printing services in its Murfreesboro, Tennessee, facility, under the guidance of plant manager Steve Morris. “We can do prototyping and small runs from 50 to 100 pieces,” he says. “We do a little bit of everything – from mockups to counter units, pallet displays and headers.” The company can also print signs and banners – if that’s what the client requires – but approximately 90 percent of its production is for short-run packaging.

These wide-format output services, as well as cutting and assembly, are delivered with Canon’s Océ Arizona 550 XT flatbed and the companion Océ ProCut 3200 XXL cutting table. The Arizona, allows the company to direct print on a variety of substrates up to 4 x 8 feet and 2-inches thick. About 80 to 90 percent of the shop’s packaging, Morris estimates, is output onto corrugated material, the balance on the client’s choice of chip board, PVC, acrylic, or foam core.


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