Every year, the flexible packaging industry seems to reinvent itself with new materials, equipment, processes and technology. 2014 is shaping up to be another year of insights, innovations and all around better final products. Let's look at some early trends in 2014, starting with sustainability and design.
For starters, the idea of sustainability has been growing in many industries, not just flexo printing. The logic behind the movement makes a lot of sense—provide a cleaner, more efficient process while eliminating waste and cutting your costs. Actualizing those results, however, has been where the challenge has lied.
In order to reach the goals and demands of sustainability, some printers have switched the type of ink from solvent to a gel-based electron beam (EB) ink. For example, Gelflex-EB ink from Energy Sciences Inc. (ESI) produces Gravure-like quality, has the lowest total print cost, operates on a green platform and is safe for food.
From a design standpoint, packages are becoming more dynamic and are trying to push the level of preconceived structures. A recent example of this is when Maheso created a new pack for their "Cheese Pop" product. In order to achieve their efficiency and sustainability, Maheso used ESI EB technology to dry the CI Web Offset.
As packaging continues to change, EB will be there to handle all of the advancements and innovations.