Folding Carton Printing Continues to Prosper

A recent research study forecasts the Global Folding Carton market to grow at a CAGR of 5.32% and 5.17% in terms of revenue and volume, respectively, over the period 2014-2019.

Continual steady growth has been the norm for this type of printing due to their important role in retail of bringing products safely, efficiently and attractively to market. Paper and board packaging, the largest segment of the packaging industry, is projected by Smithers Pira, the worldwide authority of packaging, paper and print industry supply changes, to be worth about $250 billion globally in 2016. The United States accounts for better than one-quarter of the total volume.

Folding cartons are paperboards that are cut, folded, laminated, and printed for packaging goods. They are available in various sizes and shapes and are often delivered as flat paperboards with creasing to help in packaging. Folding cartons are made of virgin wood pulp, recycled paper stock, or other fibers.

However, consumer packaging brand managers are doing everything they can to differentiate their products at the point-of-sale. Shorter runs are being used more frequently to test new vibrant colors, personalization and more impactful finishing techniques such as hot-foiling, embossing, spot varnishing. The end goal is to make an impact at the shelf where the consumer purchase is made.

web_visual Smithers Spira

The Future of Folding Cartons to 2020 outlines that the entire supply chain in this market faces ever-growing pressure from its customer base to come up with innovative techniques, processes and designs to enable the sometimes fickle brand owners to differentiate their products on the highly competitive supermarket shelf.”
— Smither Spira

How Digital Is Supplementing Offset

By improving the efficiency of short run work transferred from offset, digitally printed folding carton production can turn a time consuming loss leader into a profitable business. The market today is dominated by offset, but digital’s unique capabilities of cost-effective shorter runs, quick turnaround, personalization and carton versioning are undeniable benefits to brand managers looking for differentiation at the shelf.

The potential market size for digital printed folding carton is also significant and likely to get much bigger. In fact, experts see new digital technologies using inkjet and toner as the fastest growing for the entire packaging industry in the forseeable future.

Commercial web printers utilize digital technologies today to successfully:

  • Expand business opportunities by integrating digital as part of a fully integrated solution as a complement to their current offset options.
  • Expand print opportunities by adding cost-effective versioning and personalization options to their printing repertoire.
  • Achieve exceptional print quality on the most frequently used offset substrates, without the need for special paper stock inventories.
  • Meet quicker schedule demands while freeing up existing offset equipment.

How Digital Dominates the Short Run

Eliminates films and plates, significantly reducing setup and make-ready costs. Redefines on-demand printing.
Recent innovations in printhead technologies, toners, UV inkjet ink chemistry, color-managed workflow software and real-time, closed-loop color controls have led to press solutions that approach offset quality.
Direct data printing provides the added flexibility in how you print, while remaining efficient for standard jobs using a wide variety of substrates. New modular systems provide high quality in-sync and in-line flexo and finishing options.
Inkjet presses deliver the exact number of prints you need, when you need them, significantly reducing overproduction waste.