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Prototypes and Packaging

(May 2011) posted on Wed May 11, 2011

Bringing wide-format options to the short-run experience.

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By Mike Antoniak

“Previously, we did a lot of work with virtual mockups and renderings of labels,” notes Edlein. “That can work, but there’s something about being able to show customers samples of their packaging, and what it will actually look and feel like with actual graphics – which can really help get the sales dialog going.”

Digital Impact: A virtually unlimited range
When Digital Impact ( in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, installed its HP Scitex CorJet digital press (now badged as the HP Scitex FB6700), the primary intent was to use the printer for quick turnaround of prototype packaging and P-O-P displays for clients of parent company VT Graphics. Although VT Graphics’ primary focus is prepress services and production of plates for corrugated packaging and flexographic printing sectors, it launched its Digital Impact division in 2004 to provide design and mockup services for packaging and displays.

“Now we’re doing everything from printing prototypes of just a few items, to short-run jobs requiring as many as 2000 pieces,” reports VT Graphics president Robert Mormile. Those quantity runs are used for test-marketing products, product-display mockups, and tradeshow exhibits. “There are a lot of advantages to digital printing and the speed with which we can bring a product to market,” he says.

With Digital Impact’s companion Kongsberg digital die cutters, the company has been able to provide accurate mockups of packaging and P-O-P, and production runs of limited quantities.

The short-run business has proven a lucrative adjunct to the prototype printing also done with the CorJet. Prior to adding its digital capabilities, it just wasn’t cost-effective for VT Graphics clients to have packaging or P-O-P displays printed in limited quantities. “The setup costs were just too expensive,” notes Mormile. “But now with digital printing, we can produce those smaller quantities cost effectively.”

As far as prototyping goes, digital printing has introduced several advantages. For one, it’s transformed the labor-intensive process of building a physically building mockup into a relatively automated process of digital printing and die cutting, scoring for folding and assembly.