Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Friday, February 24, 2012

Packaging: An Industry on the Cusp of a Major Breakthrough

At the end of 2011, in a move that sent shock waves across the international printing industry, manroland AG, one of the world’s highest profile manufacturers of printing machines, filed for bankruptcy protection. The majority of the now-defunct company’s equipment was sold off to newspaper printers and publishing companies.  A major factor in manroland’s demise was the emergence of online publishing - a development that caused orders to plummet.  This illustrates the strong impact of the information era on the market for printing books, newspapers and magazines.

Today, a growing number of people read news and download e-books from their smart phones.  Consequently, more and more media providers are focusing on the Internet, rather than print. The rapid decline of traditional paper printing has shrunk demand for traditional printing equipment.  In fact, digital printing now outstrips traditional printing for books, newspapers and magazines.

Thirty years ago, paper printing accounted for 90% of the total printing market.  Today that figure is only slightly over 10%. As the publication printing industry continues to lose market share, packaging printing is on the rise. 

In recent years, China’s packaging printing industry has boosted the scale of its market.  An increasing number of packaging printing enterprises now produce output worth not millions, but billions of RMB.

Statistics from the Beijing Printing Association show that while packaging printing companies make up only 14.6 percent of Beijing’s total number of printing enterprises, profits from these companies account for 80 percent of the industry total.

Every industry, high- and low-end, regardless of whether or not it directly involves packaged goods, needs the packaging industry. As for market need, sales performance in the domestic retail market shows a distinct upward trend under new policies to drive domestic consumption, making packaging a field of rich potential over the next few years.

Many companies are joining this burgeoning industry, with a number of publication printing factories for books, newspapers and magazines modifying their development strategies to include packaging printing. By engaging new clients, these enterprises can claim a significant slice of the packaging market and ease the effects of the shrinking publication printing market.

Recently, C & C Joint Printing Co., (H.K.) Ltd., a member of Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Ltd., signed a contract to buy three pieces of packaging and printing equipment from KBA, a German company. C & C is a leading publishing house and its cooperation with KBA signals a clear intent to enter the packaging printing market and points to a bright future for the industry as a whole.

The packaging market is a lucrative one for printing companies. How to access this huge market has become a popular issue within the industry. Of course, with great opportunities come significant challenges. The packaging marketplace spans a wide range of processes and applications, including various materials and complicated post-press processing assemblies. Companies should therefore conduct in-depth market analysis before entering this market. Understanding customers’ real needs will help suppliers to provide the appropriate equipment for packaging processing and also guide them in pricing it correctly.

Of all the types of packaging produced, folding carton packaging has seen the fastest growth in recent years. It is used for packaging cigarettes, food, drugs and other everyday products.  The industry continues to grow to meet increasing demand. Folding carton packaging is easy to process and has excellent printability, which makes it ideal for packaging gifts.

However, with rapid industrial development and rising standards of living come higher requirements for the quantity and quality of folding carton packaging. Therefore, to access the high profits and great consumption potential in the folding carton printing industry, companies that plan to enter the market must improve their automated production technologies, especially for post-print processes.

Different from press printing, the folding carton post-print process is more complex. For example, middle- and high-end products often need a lot of post-print processing, to effect things like cutting large-sized pages, decorating, polishing, die cutting, waste cleaning, compounding and slitting. It is a complicated process that demands the application of new technologies and equipment.  It also calls for a sustained improvement of the automation level of post-print processes to reduce the adjustment and preparation times of equipment, a key customer demand.

In recent years, technological advances have allowed the development of the post-print process to diversify and the technical applications therein have matured. At SinoFoldingCarton 2011 the technical level of domestically produced post-print equipment was proven to have surpassed international standards. Indeed, on-site at the event were numerous powerful Chinese producers of post-print equipment, including Tianjin Changrong Printing Equipment Corporation, Beijing Shengli Weiye Printing Machinery Corporation, Shanghai Eterna Machinery Manufacturing Corporation and Shanghai Yawa Printing Machinery.  Each company showcased highly automated post-print equipment, predominantly for waste cleaning. The exhibition highlighted how the automation level of waste cleaning equipment continues to rise.  One company even displayed a fully automated waste-cleaning machine.

As well as cleaning waste away, the fully automated waste-cleaning machine can also divide integrated pages.  This means that, without prompting, it divides different products from a single integrated page and, in so doing, cuts the length of the process of artificial waste cleaning and division. 

Tianjin Changrong Company has a solution for multi-process decoration that is not hindered by the traditional limitations of decoration machines that are restricted by their standing position. The Changrong machine’s combined processes include decoration and cutting to improve efficiency.

Organized by Reed Exhibitions, SinoFoldingCarton 2012 will facilitate efficient communication among exhibitors, visitors and buyers by providing excellent value-enhancing services and detailed, up-to-the-minute industry information.  The event will take place from April 11 to 13 at Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center in Dongguan. This industry-defining trade show will feature new equipment, materials and solutions for folding carton production.  Hundreds of makers of folding carton materials and equipment will display their products.  Among the items on show will be folding carton production equipment, hard carton boxes, plastic boxes and paper bags. On-site, printing companies will be able to evaluate, first hand, the latest developments in the industry’s domestic technologies.

In 2012, SinoFoldingCarton will be collocated with SinoCorrugated South.  Together, the two shows will be a vibrant channel through which printing companies engage one another; learn about new development trends and evaluate market prospects.

For more information, please visit www.sino-foldingcarton.com