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Trade Comment

Printed Packaging

With printed packaging a popular expansion markets in recent years, Rob Fletcher asks: “What opportunities remain available to newcomers in this sector”

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David Arnold, sales director of graphical and packaging boards, Premier

Unprecedented demand

The last 18 months have seen an unprecedented demand in the carton board industry, and it really has highlighted the many opportunities that still exist. We are now starting to see an increased realisation for the need to move away from single-use plastics in packaging as customers and consumers look for an alternative solution that has a reduced impact on the environment. 

Products such as CKB Carrier provide a sustainably sourced, fibre based and plastic-free alternative, that is ideal for the production of food packaging and drinks carriers, furthermore it is available readily carbon captured.

Environmental initiatives such as the Carbon Capture programme provide an opportunity to companies in the sector to convey their corporate social responsibility values on their packaging products whilst directly supporting the work of the Woodland Trust; creating, developing and maintaining native woodland around the UK.

Products such as CKB Carrier provide a sustainably sourced, fibre based and plastic-free alternative


The growth and availability of digital presses with the capability to print on substrates up to 600 microns thick is relatively new, however it also brings with it a host of new opportunities for short-run, bespoke and personalised cartons.

This includes everything from bespoke, luxury drinks packaging for celebrations to branded packaging solutions for small start-up companies selling handmade products and more; the advance of digital printing in the sector has and will provide countless commercial opportunities for new and existing companies alike.

Extremely competitive

Craig Bretherton, product and marketing manager, Koenig & Bauer UK

Whilst, the type of packaging produced determines the equipment required, many printers have already added packaging to their current offerings successfully. However, it is an extremely competitive market with lots of slick companies doing what they do very well. That being said, it should be remembered that many of the leading companies today started life as general printers.

Many companies specialise in food or pharmaceutical packaging where you need certifications such as BRC and PS 9000, so the level of entry also depends on the resources that you have available.

The packaging market has lots of subdivisions and niche operators; there are high volume businesses and short-run luxury packaging printers and everything in between.

The packaging market has lots of subdivisions and niche operators


For newcomers, simple products such as short-run, non-food, five to six colours with coating jobs would be the best areas to target as many printers already have this capability on their existing machines. There are plenty of specialist out work finishers which would reduce the need to purchase die cutters and folder gluers.

We offer the full range of products for the packaging market with presses from B2 size with our Rapida 76 up to the large-format Rapida 164. An excellent entry model would be the new Rapida 105, which has packaging at the heart of its construction. We also supply traditional flat-bed die cutters from our Koenig & Bauer Iberica business with folder gluers being supplied from Koenig & Bauer Duran.


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