cosmetic cartons

Digital Cartons are a small but fast-growing packaging solution, especially for the Pharmaceutical, Natural Health and Personal Care industries. However, despite the benefits of this approach, the vast majority of companies are still using conventional printing methods. In fact, Craig Curran, Vice President of sales at Nosco, calls Digital Carton Printing a “new frontier.” If your company is interested in printing shorter runs at a lower cost per unit, Digital Cartons are the way to go. For print runs under 50,000, Digital Printing is cheaper than conventional. The other key reasons to use Digital Cartons include reduced cycle time and better quality in terms of color consistency and reduced defects.

Traditionally, cartons are burdensome and expensive to print in short run quantities, but they continue to be the best option for most companies because of the amount of copy space they allow, as well as their ability to protect the product inside. The downside is that cartons can be expensive to ship and store. They are heavy and take up a significant amount of space. According to Curran, inventorying a carton takes up about three times as much space as a label, which means a higher cost for storage. Not surprisingly, these costs can be a deterrent to printing cartons using conventional methods. Increasingly, companies are choosing a different route. With Digital Printing, companies can produce short runs on a more flexible schedule at a lower overall cost.

There are additional reasons why most industries can benefit from printing Digital Cartons. A digital press allows you to easily incorporate variable printing data, which is useful for many different applications, like adding serial numbers or bar codes to packages. For companies that want to keep track of an item throughout the supply chain, variable printing provides great benefits. Variable data can be used for individual promotions, especially in the Natural Health and Personal Care markets.

How Digital Cartons alleviate short-run carton pain

As stock-keeping units proliferate on store shelves, more companies are likely to start doing shorter printing runs. In fact, some companies are already heading in that direction. Whether these businesses want to reduce inventory or eliminate it entirely, printing fewer packages at a time can have significant cost benefits over more traditional methods. Shorter runs also enable companies to be more flexible and meet their customers’ needs more effectively. In other words, shorter lead times allow businesses to be more nimble when faced with market demand. The cycle time for Digital Cartons is about two weeks. With a shorter lead-time, companies can quickly place a small order and have it ready to go in just 10 days.

While companies may not think Digital Carton Printing suits their current needs, they may want to reconsider. According to Curran, a significant number of product lines already existing in the market would fit the ideal print size for Digital Carton printing. “I think every market is a good candidate for Digital Cartons, because there’s a lot of pain in short run cartons in the industry.

However, the three best fits are Pharmaceutical, Natural Health and Personal Care,” Curran said. About 80 to 90 percent of the portfolio products for these industries fit the run size for Digital Cartons.

Up until now, short runs were simply not a cost-effective option for companies. However, as Digital Printing presses continue to become more sophisticated, companies can print less at a time without worrying about escalating costs per item. With conventional methods, this wouldn’t be possible, but Digital Printers are growing more sophisticated. In fact, the recently introduced HP Indigo 30000 is the first-ever digital device made specifically for Carton Printing.

The HP Indigo 30000

Knowing that HP is a leader in Digital Printing technology, Nosco has worked closely with the company for 10 years. HP is the only printer that is able to achieve 800 dots per inch, the highest resolution on the market. Through its partnership with HP, Nosco has the opportunity to collaborate on technology development. As a result of this partnership, Nosco was the first company in North America to have the HP Indigo 30000 - a press that truly represents a step forward in Digital Packaging. As the first press designed specifically to print Digital Cartons, the HP Indigo 30000 has many distinct benefits. The press can run multiple cartons at the same time, up to 4,600 full-color sheets per hour and up to 20 different jobs per day in short- to medium-run lengths.

For Curran, the HP Indigo 30000 has three main benefits:

  • It prints larger formats, which allows the printing of multiple cartons at the same time.
  • It can accommodate up to 7 colors - with a 4-color system in addition to orange, green and violet. This press can match 97 percent of Pantone colors.
  • It is equipped with inline Aqueous or UV coating, which makes it easy to add a coating during the printing run rather than adding another step to the process.

To accommodate customers in the Northeast, Nosco opened an all-digital facility with their needs in mind and placed the On_Demand Solutions Center, a facility specifically geared toward the Healthcare Industry in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Now companies can get their products within a 10-day delivery period and have quicker turnaround without holding inventory or rising obsolescence.

To lower per-unit costs and deliver products to customers more efficiently, companies should start using Digital Carton Printing. With the introduction of the HP Indigo 30000, short-run printing is more cost-effective. Manage more SKUs with shorter runs and lower costs overall by switching to Digital Cartons.

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