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Getting flexible

Posted on October 24th, 2018 in News

While digital is well-established in the label sector, it’s less widely-used in flexible packaging. There are some converters looking to change that, however, pointing out that the same opportunities that exist in labels also apply to flexibles; among them are Fred Soar of Soar Print in New Zealand, Ross Read of Melbourne’s Read Labels and Packaging, and Roger Kirwan of Kirwan Print Group, based in Sydney.

Each of them is taking the leap into digital flexible packaging: Soar has expanded from cut-sheet and labels into shrink sleeves and pouches, Read this year invested in a huge HP Indigo 20000 wide-web press, and Kirwan is pressing ahead with Creatabull Flexibles, a new arm of Kirwan Print Group. “Flexibles are on the cusp of the digital revolution, so we decided to take the plunge with the technology,” said Kirwan.

It’s a new market for Read, and one he believes is less crowded than labels. “The label market is mimicking what’s happened in the commercial sector, with a lot of players coming into the market. It hasn’t reached saturation yet, but it’s certainly going that way,” he said.

According to Soar, the growth in boutique short-run products has given him plenty of business. “We started printing more artisan products as well, which was driven by consumers,” he said, adding that sales teams will also be able to offer their clients new options with digital. “If you have food and beverage clients see what else you can sell them, such as also leading into cartons and other point of sale items.”