Why a hybrid approach to printing makes the difference

14 Jun 2022

When designed with care, attention to detail and consumer needs at the forefront, packaging goes far beyond ‘just’ containing a product

It connects with consumers, becomes part of the overall value proposition and helps to secure a bigger slice of sales in a commercial environment. 

Packaging is a central component of brand image and identity, no matter the product category. Research from organisation The Paperworker found that over half of consumers make repeat purchases based on the quality of the packaging, which underlines the real commercial value of great packaging.

 It is for this very reason that brand owners turn to a qualified expert partner like Essentra Packaging. As a dedicated secondary packaging manufacturer focusing on the pharmaceutical and beauty industries, Essentra Packaging has the market knowledge and technical experience to turn every packaging project into impressive on-shelf presence.

 Part of what makes Essentra Packaging a leading name in the industry is that the business always looks to lead by example when it comes to quality and innovation. This means investing in print and press technologies that directly benefit customers. No two packaging projects are identical, so to ensure its clients always have access to the prime solution, Essentra Packaging invests in multiple press technologies for a ‘hybrid approach’. 

A hybrid approach with Essentra Packaging

 Often, a brand customer would not see the press technology behind their packaging supply chain, leaving their packaging partner to determine the most appropriate way to manufacture a given design. Typically, what matters to brand owners is that the end result ticks every box of the design brief. Essentra Packaging aims to lift the veil on print and demonstrate why the business is the go-to name in pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging. 

Two of the most common print methods in packaging are digital and offset printing, also known as lithography. Which approach is more suitable depends on a number of factors, including the job run length, design complexity, speed and colour specification but from a print quality perspective can be considered relatively interchangeable. 

Offset printing is one of the oldest and most established methods of printing. A pack design is imprinted onto a plate, then transferred to a rubber or polymer blanket, before rollers deposit the ink and design onto the substrate. Offset printing was first patented in 1875, resulting in almost 150 years of technological development.

The key advantage of offset printing is its economy of scale; large volumes can be printed cost-effectively, and colour reproduction can be kept precise across even the largest runs. However, due to time and resources required to set up offset print, it does not tend to be the optimal approach for short run requirements. 

Conversely, digital uses technology similar to home and office printers, with laser and inkjet delivery, but on a bigger scale. At Essentra Packaging, both traditional HP Indigo inkjet technology and Landa nanographic digital printing are available. The advantages of digital printing include faster job setup and shorter lead times, as well as the capability of printing variable data forms, required for serialisation and coding.

So where does a hybrid approach come in?

Essentra Packaging uses its vast combined experience to use the print methods in harmony, using the strengths and advantages of each to cover every print requirement, no matter the complexity. At its core, Essentra Packaging believes that the two print methods are not opposing, but complementary.

With a global network of production houses boasting the latest in offset and digital press technology, Essentra Packaging works fluidly to deliver value like no other. This includes using two print techniques in conjunction and always understanding which print method is optimal for a given task, based on factors such as substrate, design, size and special requirements or considerations. 

Essentra Packaging believes that there should be no limit to print, and that an agile hybrid approach makes for a more cost-effective process. 

Validating the results

One of the best ways to secure the advantages of this hybrid approach is by validating the print results and seeing the differences in real time. The results can appear in many different ways, including shorter setup and faster turnaround, more optimal ink consumption and lower levels of waste, or simpler small batch or sample production.

Using a given production specification, Essentra Packaging’s hybrid approach to printing is designed to deliver flexibility, versatility and performance. The business encourages brands across the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors to put its hybrid approach to the test and explore the expansive range of benefits.

Example situations where hybrid approach technology validation would be advantageous include:

  • Variable batch sizes, initially in smaller quantities and increasing as demand grows
  • Where some batches require codification, but not all
  • The creation of promotional packs that retain a similar look, but are required in smaller quantities
  • Special promotional codes to be included for a short amount of time

Ultimately, a hybrid approach to print creates more speed, more versatility and more performance for Essentra Packaging customers. Instead of offering two opposing print methods, the business uses the technology in synergy. The true measure of a packaging print partner is how effectively it can respond to customer needs, and the result of faster, more precise is hard to argue with – so why not put Essentra Packaging to the test?

Discover how carton, label and leaflet excellence can be made simple and value-adding by speaking with the Essentra Packaging team today – click here to get in touch.