What Does the Future of Printing and Packaging Look Like?

With ongoing technological advancements in the packaging industry, digital printing and print finishing has become a very big focus the last few years. While its advantages are very obvious -- it enables short runs, fast response time and individualized packages -- traditional printing, is keeping up and working on faster layout changes, less waste, and high automation.

Recently, we sat down with Dr. Anna Zumbülte, Innovation Manager, of Saueressig to discuss what she learned throughout her 11 days at the drupa conference and what the packaging industry has in store for the years to come.

Drupa is the leading international trade fair showcasing innovative technologies pertaining to the print media industry. This year in Düsseldorf, Germany the tagline of the show was “Touch the Future” –we put together the top trends and innovations discovered at the tradeshow to uncover the many efforts that go into enhancing packaging.  

Printed electronics and 3D printing.

Printed electronics is a very interesting new market field that has direct impact on packaging. In the next ten years, packaging will get more and more interactive. Packaging will communicate and interact with the consumer - through various innovative technologies, such as printed electronics and Digimarc. The consumer experience will change a lot and we will observe more and more individualized interaction between consumer and brands.

Whether that is through sensors, consumer-brand interaction, tracking, and information – there are many possible benefits to think of. While printed electronics does not replace common electronics, it enables a new type of application, for instance by printing on flexible substrates.

“As one of the first players in the market to adapt to this innovative technology, we have already gained a lot of valuable experience, built up a strong knowledge pool and are able to offer solutions that work for customers today,” says Zumbülte.

Green printing.

Sustainability is getting more and more important for businesses all around the world. They want to reduce waste and eliminate substances that harm the environment. In the packaging market, this represents a big challenge! Materials used are diverse – substrates, inks, adhesives – and amounts used are high. We support our partners and customers in following their sustainability initiatives by offering new ways of setting up the packaging development workflow.

“We support customers in implementing a soft proof system to cut down hard proof waste; or we use our ColourLab to increase color consistency and reduce rejects,” says Zumbülte.

RGB printing.

The focus on packaging appearance at the point-of-sale is huge and new ideas and technologies are emerging. We’re very active is this application, too – for instance with our revolutionary RGB printing.

RGB printing is done directly on a black substrate, as opposed to CMYK where a black background is achieved by printing all four colors at full saturation. So, for example, you can present your brand artwork directly on a black box or label for a deep, dramatic look that you couldn’t achieve using CMYK.

The pearlescent pigments create otherworldly images that seem to radiate a shimmer or glow from within. And the RGB technique offers a larger, more diverse color space than CMYK, giving designers a greater range of hues and saturations for the freedom to explore entirely new possibilities.

Luxury brands, fine wines and whiskies, cigars and other indulgences are natural candidates for the distinctive and sophisticated effects that can be achieved with RGB printing. Graphic designers will likely discover creative uses for this new method across many other product categories.

Read: RGB Printing Brings Spectacular Visual Possibilities to Packaging  

SGK offers global solutions for companies that seek to drive top and bottom line performance, by combining products and services to create solutions that span strategy and creative development through production and premedia across printed and digital media. In doing so, SGK draws on the strengths of its brands, including Saueressig and Schawk to serve our customers with a full-service approach and deliver premium results.