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FLEXO Magazine : January 2014
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Surviving & Thriving Corrugated’s Growth Areas, Superior Use Cases, Future Obstacles By Jack Fulton Asa prepress and cutting die supplier to the corrugat- ed industry and to a much lesser extent the folding carton industry, I have opinions on how the industry is moving forward and how I would like to see it change. They are of course only opinions, and we all have them. For this article I felt readers would be much better served if I captured thoughts from the people who actually make and sell prod- ucts, since their opinions are truly the ones that matter. Rather than ask for general opinions and try to work with the varied responses, I asked a few specific questions, ones that would not only elicit good responses but also be of inter- est to the readers of FLEXO® Magazine. INDUSTRY AT LARGE The first question I asked was a general one about the state of the corrugated industry and specifically how companies were competing with other printing technologies. We have all seen and read that, overall, the corrugated market has been flat for a number of years. Consolidation has created four large companies producing 75 percent of BOX SCORE: PROFITABILITY & PRINTABILITY DRIVE BUSINESS • Corrugated’s consolidation has helped independent printers • Digital not a threat in short term due to high costs, lack of economics of scale • Focus is on improving manufacturing efficiencies with improved equipment and training • Uncoated paper quality diminishing need for coated variety • Advancements in technology in both corrugators and converting equipment will lead to quantum leaps in production capability going forward • Technology is being used to upgrade the efficiencies in box plants, so jobs can be printed and converted in a single pass operation • No. 1 priority? Profitable growth 20 FLEXO JANUARY 2014 www.flexography.org