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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Industry Indicators packaging paper volume does not get printed at all, most of the volume does receive some degree of print coverage and this amount totals about 2.2 million tons annually. As one would expect, flexo is still the primary print process employed across every category for a number of reasons, including cost, flexibility, relatively short setup times, and high print quality. How- ever, digital printing has been the fastest growing process by far and, in a cat- egory with a negative growth rate overall in the most recent five-year period, it has grown at the expense of other processes. This has happened for a number of reasons, but the most common includes continued decline in relative cost, par- ticularly for production runs of less than 5,000 (and in some cases 10,000 or more) impressions, improving print quality, improving flexibility in terms of operation, more machinery options, and operating simplicity. In addition, the percent of volume that is printed using both an analog and digital process has been growing as well and now represents over 15 percent of the total paper volume. As more printers develop capabilities to offer customers both variable and ana- log print designs, it has become more common for customers to print smaller shorter variable runs within longer runs of a master design for an optimal over- all print solution. In terms of printing, digital printing will continue to grow as a print method for these substrates due to expanding machinery options, increased flexibility, features to meet specific market re- quirements, lower operating and acqui- sition costs, competitive costs at longer run sizes as technologies improve, and increased demand for variable print to improve marketing effectiveness and costs. Other processes will show little, no, or negative growth as digital processes expand market penetration and converters elect to more fully utilize this capacity. Looking Forward It has become increasingly difficult to forecast demand growth and key trends for this segment, given changing market dynamics (sustainability developments, changing raw material costs, substitution trends, case pack proliferation, technol- ogy/process changes, etc.) and emerg- ing developments that have and are expected to have a significant impact on the demand for these papers. The fact that we are mired in a continuing economic downturn, with no end in sight, adds another level of complication since some applications are more affected by economic activity than others. One consideration is to look at how the overall category has performed recently. Figure 2 www.flexography.org september 2010 FLEXO 17 We’re talking fast. To learn more, call 704.588.3371 or Toll Free at 866.588.8686 Or order on our website. When it comes to anilox, gravure or chrome rollers, nothing cleans dried ink more efficiently or effectively than CeramClean IITM. Use on water, UV and most solvent- based inks to remove stains and clear plugged cells. Available in three viscosities: Original (thick), gel and fluid. Environmentally safe and Performance Guaranteed! HARPERSCIENTIFIC DIVISION HARPERIMAGE.COM Americas • Europe • Asia ©2010 FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 17 8/31/10 5:40 PM