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A Package Deal

(September 2013) posted on Fri Sep 13, 2013

Digital package printing holds distinct opportunities and challenges.

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By Mike Antoniak

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.

Morris brings 20 years’ experience in display production to Mark/Trece, including 11 years as a plant manager. With that expertise, he’s able to employ the shop’s printer and cutter to bring clients’ packaging concepts to life, whether they require a sample to show their customers, or a custom run for shipping or in-store display.

“This is a little different than everything else our company does, in that we’re actually producing a finished product, rather than the plates or dies to produce one,” notes Morris. “But we feel like this is something we have to offer our customers these days. Digital printing gives us another edge, and it allows them to do some things they couldn’t before.”

As client awareness grows, Mark/Trece is employing the digital services to physically test their packaging concepts, or refine designs and text. Freed of the setup-cost considerations that go with offset flexography, the company is also beginning to take advantage of shorter runs, and quick turnarounds, to cater the message or its look to the specific market area or distribution channel.

“This move was definitely good timing for us,” says Morris, who is confident that demand for these specialty services will only grow.

Create-It Packaging: Lucrative mockups
Brian Lewis, president and founder of Create-It Packaging ( in Arlington Heights, Illinois, hopes that digital printing will eventually allow him to print directly to any substrates. With that goal, he recently added an HP Scitex FB950 flatbed to his mix of printers, which includes Mimaki JV33s, an Epson Stylus Pro 9000, and an Epson SureColor S70670. Also on the roster: a Zund L-3000 and M-1600 cutter, GTK software for registration on the Zunds, and a Thompson clamshell cutter.

“Our nut is really doing mockups,” says Lewis. “With my background in structural design and experience in the packaging industry, that’s really the door opener for us. It gets us in on the ground floor.”