If you’re in the food or pharmaceutical packaging trade, according to Smithers, in a recent article, (4 trends that will change, 2018) “Four key trends that will shape the future of packaging to 2028”, the demand for packaged goods is increasing dramatically. As a company in this growing industry, there are four important things to consider when choosing the right flexographic equipment manufacturer. Here is what you need to know to be successful in 2022 and beyond.
First, make sure your equipment manufacturer is working toward sustainable packaging. As manufacturers continually work toward the growing consumer demand for these sustainable products, you need an equipment manufacturer that is on the same level playing field, and understands that consumers are pushing the needle on sustainability. “As sustainability has become a key motivator for consumers, brands are increasingly keen for packaging materials and designs that demonstrably show their commitment to the environment.” (4 trends that will change, 2018) Minimizing food waste is another goal of policymakers, noting 40% of food produced worldwide is not eaten. In agreement with this sustainability trend, Anderson Vreeland, notes that solvent-free plate cleaners and supplies are expected to make a huge impact in 2022. (4 trends, flexographic printing, 2022)
A second point when determining which equipment manufacturing company to take into consideration is the company’s perspective on technology, and how they keep up to date on the latest in technology. Digital printing needs to be taken into consideration when building printing equipment. The use of thermal ink jet printing is not going away anytime soon. This technology provides low maintenance, has fewer chemicals, and is great for short production runs. It is definitely something that flexographic equipment manufacturers need to be aware of and learn how to integrate it into their process if it is a good fit. With QR Codes gaining ground, according to www.tcbmag.com, (Veritiv Corporation, June 03 et al., 2021) digital printing technology allows manufacturers to print QR codes that are used to provide user experiences that help make brands top of mind for the consumer, allows the use of creativity in building brands.
Third, automation is another area that equipment manufacturers need to be well aware of, and know that it is vitally important to the packaging industry. With the upsurge in labor shortages, and an increased need for skilled labor, higher levels of automation are on the horizon. Anderson Vreeland Inc, a leader in the flexographic printing industry, believes that, “Advanced automation is an important step for the printing & packaging industry, and it should be adopted to stay on track with the industry’s trajectory.” Automation also helps reduce human error, and has proven a reduction in waste.
Finally, when researching an equipment manufacturer to partner with, a company needs to review the manufacturer’s experience in the industry. A leader in designing innovative solutions, Printco Industries, a company that has been around since 1983 and has a reputation for building solid flexographic printing equipment. According to Laurie Burkel, a key factor to choosing a partner in the flexographic printing industry is “knowledge and experience”. Burkel’s company has worked with OEM’s worldwide since 1983, and their troubleshooting capabilities are a true testament to building a list of satisfied customers.
In summary, when choosing the right flexographic printing manufacturer to work with, the determining factors are 1) High outlook on sustainability. This must be in the equation based on consumer demand. 2) The company must be able to keep pace with technology. 3) Automation must be an integral part of their design process, and 4) industry experience must be a crucial element in choosing the right flexographic partner. Keeping these four factors in mind when you choose a partner, will ensure your success in the packaging industry, hands down.