The future of flexographic printing

The study entitled “The future of flexographic printing in a digital world to 2019” prepared by Smithers Pira, examines global flexographic printing between 2009 and 2019.

This research presents an analysis of the events that may influence this market, taking into account the recent growth, the evolution of the technology and the key drivers and trends that will influence the consumption of the corresponding final products during the period of forecast for 2019.

Focusing mainly on the segments of packaging and label printing, flexo has been the least affected of all traditional printing processes by the increase in digital technology, and by the crisis in the graphic printing markets in the West (as well as even some emerging economies of transition).

Flexo technology
Only in the labels the digital begins to make real incursions in flexo, although in the long term, the trend towards shorter runs could have an impact in areas such as cartons and flexible, but mainly in the margins of the niche areas.

In corrugated, the digital does not affect the flexo that is used for long runs and as part of boxmaking in folders / gluers, but the lithographic laminate of high quality, with large format and the most productive flatbed inkjet used is already present to execute corrugated.

Ultimately, the main factors that influence the flexo market are trends in the demand for packaging, which are governed by the economy and demography. Growing globalization means that there is significant growth in the newly industrialized regions of the world where there is a movement away from the economies based on agriculture.

On the other hand, the increase in households and the demand for smaller items mean that the average size is shrinking and there are more varieties trying to attract more consumers.

The main developments in flexo technology reflect the changing demands of the final products and the trends that affect the markets. There are continuous reductions in runs along with a preference for smaller sizes of packaging with higher performance films in flexible packaging.

The most important trend at this time in the evolution of flexography is the continuous development of prepress, also known as the pre-production stage. Quality is improving, while the time and cost of design approval and plate production are being reduced. More flexographic printers are taking control of prepress, including digital CTP, as they set the right specifications and quality monitoring, as well as improve the performance and productivity of the process.

The flexographic printing market has been segmented by the following types of products: corrugated cardboard boxes, flexible packaging, bags and bags, labels, folding boxes, newspapers, envelopes, sanitary ware / kitchen utensils and other products.

In terms of value, the largest market for global flexographic printing is corrugated packaging, which represents approximately 60% of the market; This is followed by a flexible packaging with 18%.