Customised packaging is the next wave in marketing as retailers try to catch the eyes of consumers, and it’s driven by a technology solution from Xerox.

The company recently unveiled its Xerox Automated Packaging Solution powered by Stora Enso Gallop at IPEX 2010, which is an automated digital system that can print a variety of personalised packages – from golfball boxes and chewing gum wrappers to folding cartons used by retailers – in multiple languages. An example of a real-live business packaging application was demonstrated at IPEX producing Microsoft software packaging in various languages on an on-demand, just in time basis.
“The packaging system can quickly switch from one job to the next, providing the flexibility needed in today's global and rapidly changing marketplace,” says Paul Haglich, marketing manager of the production systems group in the Xerox division at Bytes Document Solutions.
Xerox intends to seek US Food and Drug Association’s approval of its solution to accommodate food packaging.
According to industry consultancy Pira International, the worldwide digital printing market for packaging and labels is expected to reach $6,75 billion by 2014.
The in-line process means maximum productivity for packagers. For example, blank packaging boards are placed in the feeder and end up in the output stacker completely printed, coated and die cut – ready for folding and gluing.
“Print providers can produce customised, variable data on each package cost-effectively with minimal operator intervention, and the solution is ideal for retailers looking to test prototype products with a variety of different packaging,” says Haglich.
Powered by Xerox’s iGen4 press printing at 110 pages per minute (6600 sheets per hour), the solution is positioned to fill the needs of the packaging market with the largest sheet size (14,33" x 22,5" or 364mm x 571mm) of any digital colour press. It also offers the broadest array of in-line finishing options and the widest range of substrate latitude – including up to 18 pt packaging board.
Xerox Europe offers the entire solution with an Epic CTi-635 varnishing unit with aqueous or UV-coating options, a stacker-conveyer unit from Stora Enso, and a die cutter with 580x400mm sheet size (22,5"x14,33") developed by Kama for Stora Enso. A clear coating is required for many packaging applications and provides a fast-drying, water-based, satin or gloss finish to protect the package from dirt, smudges, fingerprints and scratches. Bytes Document Solutions will evaluate launching this fully integrated packaging solution in South Africa if sufficient interest is shown by South African packaging companies/manufacturers.
The solution helps minimise the impact on the environment by printing on demand to reduce waste and using packaging board that is renewable and recyclable.