Digital packaging and label printing have come a long way and at the moment there is nothing they can’t do. All the limitations regarding the format size, colour gamut, substrate, quality, productivity and speed are no longer obstacles for this technology to conquer the markets. Printers can embrace it wholeheartedly. However, converters, especially in our region are still reluctant to invest in digital solutions. According to the recent survey conducted by ME Printer on behalf of Canon Middle East, 70 percent of package printers are not using digital printing. However, for brands that are looking for eye catching sustainable packages with personalized and customized elements digital printing is an ideal option.
Another breakthrough that might accelerate the use of digital printing in our region is the recent political development in UAE and the new opening which makes it possible for HP to launch the whole spectrum of HP Indigo products to the UAE markets. It is a bit early but HP Indigo could be a game changer in printing and packaging market of UAE and perhaps other Gulf countries.
On the other hand, Covid-19 is accelerating the adoption of digital technology in different sectors of printing industry. Epson says the pandemic boosted the sales of their handheld digital printers. While the recently launched digital web press by Kodak for flexible packaging is creating lots of interest among package printers and converters for short run printing of flexible materials.
The advent of aqueous inkjet printing for packaging and labels also is another driver which pushes digital printing technology into mainstream packaging and label printing market. Aqueous inkjet inks, are not toxic. That is why the technology was able to grow in recent years. This growth started with label webs and recently it is finding its way to direct digital printing of packaging such as cartons and pouches. The drying of Aqueous inkjet ink still is a major issue but its advantages outweighs its disadvantages.
Digital printing of packaging and label has a bright future and there is no doubt that it will grow. However, printers and converters in our region should start taking it seriously and that requires a change of heart and a change of mind.