The advantages of digital vs. traditional printing for your product

Digital labels & packaging. The vast majority of product labels and first level packaging you see on store shelves or on e-commerce platforms are still printed on the traditional mechanical presses that have been around for decades. This process is often referred to as flexography (flexo) and builds upon printing plates to apply ink onto the material. Thereby, each color is applied sequentially as the material moves through the press.

 

Flexo technology produces a qualitative product in many circumstances, but there are challenges associated with this approach; the plates, that apply the different colours, may become expensive as each colour needs a separate plate. Moreover, changes to the design or content require new plates to be made at additional cost. Flexo presses also demand for significant setup time -  up to several hours -  and creates substantial material wastage before the first label can be printed. These workflow steps produce additional overheads that often force customers to buy higher quantities. Especially for smaller businesses that only need a small number of labels or pouches for their batch, the technology constitutes a barrier to flexibility.

On the other side, digital printing is not dependent on plates and stations and therefore requires less setup time and produces less waste - in many cases none at all. Artwork files are sent directly to the press and the various colors are printed simultaneously. As a result, the press can print as many or as few labels, pouches, folding boxes as you need at once, and changes in design or content can easily be handled by providing the new artwork and re-sending it to the press.

We at Palamo want to offer the best solution for our customers and therefore have specialized in digital printing.

 

Digital Benefits in a Nutshell

Sustainability. One time used equipment and material wastage can be significantly reduced thanks to digital workflow optimizations. At Palamo, an end-to-end sustainable supply chain is core to our value promises.

Speed. Traditional label companies can take anywhere from a week to many weeks to produce a label job, whereas digital companies can typically turn a job much more quickly. At Palamo, our normal production time is only a few working days from the time we receive your approval to proceed.

Quality & Flexibility. Constant improvements in the digital printing allow photo-like quality with unlimited colors, whereas traditional presses mostly rely on a single-plate-per-color model, adding extra cost for each additional color. Most of our customers are very pleasantly surprised when they see the beautiful results achievable from a digital press, and the absence of plates makes changes to the design a very simple and inexpensive option.

Flexible Quantities. With digital technology, the press can print as many labels or pouches as are requested at that time. Seen that the press allows minimal setup each time, you can print anywhere from very low quantities to very large quantities - there is no need to forecast your demand months in advance.

Multiple Variations. Digital presses have the ability to print similar label and packaging designs simultaneously. Therefore, Palamo can print numerous variations of the same size at the same time in order for you to combine multiple product needs in a single run. For example, you can order 1000 red, 2000 yellow, and 3500 blue versions of your label, while still getting a unit price based on the combined quantity of 6500 labels. Also design and colors may differ as long as the same size and material is used. 

Inventory Costs & Cash Flow. When you order 50 to 100 thousand labels for a single product on a traditional press, the quantity is often driven by the desire to get the unit price down. The reasoning is well understood, however these labels need to be stored somewhere - consuming valuable space, cash and causing warehousing costs. Moreover, changes to the ingredients or legal requirements may occur, which further creates sunk costs. Contact us to get support with our legal check services.

Variable Content. With digital presses, it is possible to have slightly different content on each individual label printed. A very common example is serialization barcode labels, but also variations in text languages. Variable content allows for new product, geographic expansion and advertising opportunities. Please contact us for further consultation on the subject.

Press Proofs. Digital printing offers the ability to print your proofs on the actual production press without all the setup associated with traditional printing presses. This is not a free service, but if you're particularly concerned about colors or quality before you go into production, we can make press proofs available at an extra charge - and there are associated delays involved. Please contact us for further information.

Prototyping. Have you ever considered trying out various designs on your own customers, or maybe a focus group? With our digital press, you can print small numbers of multiple designs for a fair price - something completely unachievable on traditional printing technologies. Find out more about prototyping here.

 

To put it in a nutshell, the traditional flexo presses may still be suitable for very long runs with large quantities per standardized variants, however, digital printing definitely opens up new opportunities for multiple versions within one product line, and a sustainable footprint of your business. On this note, if your current label or packaging partner does not offer digital label printing (which the vast majority does not, due to initial investments needed to buy the right equipment), you are probably not getting the best deal possible.

 

E-mail us at [email protected] or contact us here, we are happy to discuss this topic further with you to find a suitable solution addressing your needs.

 

Your palamo. Team


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