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What are the advantages of digital printing?

11 January 2024 by
Quickbox Manufacturing Ltd, Lorna Donnelly

More and more of our customers are adding print to their boxes. In this blog we are going to explain what digital printing is and the benefits of digital printing your boxes. So firstly…

What is digital printing?

Digital printing is a technique where you use the four process colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is often referred to as CMYK. By using a combination of these four colours, you can achieve a wide range of different colours and not just the four process colours. The printer works out the amount of each process colour it requires to produce the correct colour to print.

When digitally printing cardboard boxes, the print is applied directly onto the cardboard. This dries instantly and can then be converted into whichever FEFCO or box design that is required.

Cost Effective

If you use flexographic print for boxes, the origination costs for printing plates can be very expensive, often running in to hundreds of pounds. With digital printing the only origination is for the initial artwork cost to set the job up for printing. This is mostly for the time it takes for the artwork to be produced and to be made machine ready. The machine can also be operated by a single person, saving on manual handling, and cutting production costs. Due to fast set up times it makes it a great option for small production runs.

Speedy Turnaround

Often when a company is launching a product, the last thing that is thought about is the packaging. One of the benefits of digital printing is a very quick turnaround time. Once artwork has been approved it can go straight onto the printer without the need for delays whilst waiting for printing plates to arrive. There is also no need to wait for specific buckets of ink to arrive either, as the digital printing process simply uses the four process colours as explained earlier in the blog.

Print Quality

By using digital print for your boxes, you will be guaranteed a great print quality. The printing process doesn’t rely on a human physically mixing the ink to put in the machine. The digital printer automatically mixes the correct amount of each colour that is required meaning that the colours will be the same on every order.

Custom Print

Following on from the print quality is box customising. By choosing digital print you can add your brand to your boxes and really stand out from your competitors. You can have small runs or split prints with minimum set up costs. If the box is die cut, the digital printer can print more than one box at a time, making it a very cost effective way to produce boxes.

Full Colour Print capability

At the start of the of this blog I mentioned the CMYK process that is used for digital printing. This not only allows great colour accuracy but also means you can print a vast array of colours. With digital print you can experiment with colours, and as you can run short order quantities, this means you can try various print options until you are happy with the outcome. Unlike traditional printing methods which require expensive print plates, the set up on digital print is very cheap, making it much easier to try your print and amend if necessary. You can then run larger quantities when required.

Easy Artwork designs/Amendments

Setting up artwork for digital print is very easy. Once the customer has approved their artwork it is ripped and sent to the machine in a digital format. There is no need to physically put a print plate onto a machine, and then mix and add ink like you have to in conventional flexographic printing methods. Once on the machine, if any artwork amendments are needed it is simply a case of just altering the artwork and then going ahead with printing. If there was a problem at time of printing with traditional print methods, this would result in not only new print plates being required but also a lengthy wait for them to be made. This means that costs would be incurred for the new plates, and potential box delivery deadlines may be missed, again resulting in higher cost implications.

Eco-Friendly Option

Digital printing is a very eco friendly printing process for many reasons. Digital printers are more energy efficient than traditional flexographic printers. Therefore, less energy is required when digital printing is used for packaging. Setting up a digital printer for printing tends to use less pieces of cardboard than traditional printing methods. By doing this it cuts down on the waste materials used during the set-up process. Traditional printing methods use rubber printing plates and plastic backing sheets. These need cleaning with solvents after each job. Once these have run their course, they have to be disposed of. Both the cleaning and disposal have negative effects on the environment.

Brand Protection

By choosing digital printing for your packaging, you can help to secure your brand image. With digital print, you can rely on a quality of print that makes it difficult for someone to try and recreate if they are looking to produce fake copies of your products. It can also give you the confidence to promote your products knowing that your boxes will always look the part!

In Conclusion

As you can see there is a lot more to digital printing than meets the eye! But we can all agree that digital printing is a great option to go for your printed box orders. Get in touch with the team today to discuss how we can help you with your packaging.

Quickbox Manufacturing Ltd, Lorna Donnelly 11 January 2024

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