Flexographic Print

Let’s say you have a great product that you want to market. This product may come in variations of flavor, scent, or color. But even if you have the greatest product in the world, without a great package design, it won’t sell. Many products still use traditional pressure-sensitive labels which will only cover a portion of the product. However, manufacturers are now beginning to see a benefit in changing over to printed shrink sleeve labels instead. Why? Shrink sleeve labels allow you an agile response to market demands. Shrink sleeves give you a 360-degree experience, allowing you to expand the area on the package for attention-grabbing graphics and giving you a greater branding opportunity. A shrink sleeve label then gives you a better chance at having an eye-catching design for your product.

Most manufacturers produce their shrink sleeve labels with a flexographic press. This allows them to make a long run of labels on shrink film that are later converted and seamed. The finished labels are dropped onto containers during the manufacturing process where they go through a heat tunnel. The film shrinks and conforms to the shape of the container, and you have a package with maximum branding and graphic impact. Sounds great, right?

The flexographic printing process, however, can present some problems. Expensive plates must be made for each color or feature on the label. This includes the regular CMYK color palette and then possibly spot colors, metallic inks, and matte or gloss varnish finishes. Let’s go back to our earlier example. Your product may have a number of variations based on color, scents, flavors, or something else. When you need to change to the next label version on a flexographic press, it takes time to set up, make new plates, and then tune to color match which generates a lot of makeready waste. This means you must also be committed to a long run of whatever label you’re going to run, not a very agile response, which in turn means a large inventory of labels on hand. If you’re not already a large company, that means costs can add up quickly and may limit your ability to make changes and adapt to a rapidly changing market. But there is a solution to this problem: Digital Printing.

flexographic shrink sleeves
flexographic printing plate

Digital Print

Digitally printing shrink sleeve labels for your products will enable you to make your business more agile. There are many benefits to printing digitally. Firstly, digital presses don’t require expensive printing plates, saving you money. Digital printing enables you to change artwork immediately on-the-fly. If your product has multiple SKUs with different artwork for different flavors or artwork variations, they can be printed in-line without any downtime allowing you shorter runs and faster turnaround. Those SKUs may have different quantity requirements as well, printing perhaps 1,000 for a promotional or holiday campaign while printing 10,000 for a regular version. Then, if you need to throw in a few prototypes into the mix, digital printing also allows you to print as little as 10. For small- to medium-sized companies, this is a great benefit.

Digital print quality meets or exceeds rotogravure printing so you can be assured that your product will look its best. Colors available on a digital press will usually range from 4-color CMYK to an extended gamut of 6-color CMYKOV process. PMS spot colors, opaque white, silver metallic, fluorescent, and specialty UV invisible security inks are also available to create beautiful design effects. Add into the mix variable data printing technology to create personalized innovative packaging for the Millennial and Gen Z generations, and you’ll increase your product’s appeal to these consumers, making them much more likely to purchase it again. And that’s exactly what we want.

Flexibility, agility, and the opportunity to change direction quickly, digital printing is the key solution to help increase consumer engagement and innovation, easily and efficiently. Traco Packaging can help you build your brand through custom digital printing with Traco’s Kymera Variable Printing Technology on our HP Indigo 6900 Digital Presses. We can help you increase consumer engagement and increase sales. Call us at 800.284.9727 or request a quote now to start showcasing your brand and grabbing attention!

Image of the HP Indigo 6900 Digital Press