By Olivia Cahoon
Digitally printed packaging expands as automated finishing equipment, embellishment options, software tools, and print technology advance. Brand owners and packaging manufacturers leverage digital printing and finishing as part of an end-to-end fulfillment strategy.
To successfully compete, companies that provide digital packaging services must commit to offering precise colors and shapes that maintain brand consistency.
Above: SunDance recently created a promotional campaign to highlight its packaging and finishing capabilities while offering a treat for clients.
SunDance is a multi-channel print and marketing solutions company based in Orlando, FL. It provides full-service, in-house, multi-channel marketing solutions to a range of clientele.
Starting in 2007 with 12 employees in a 15,000 square foot workspace selling art prints to the Orlando area, the shop evolved to 48 employees, operating out of a 43,000 square foot facility today. It serves global clients for branding, direct mail, fine art, food-safe printing, large format printing, raised UV effects, security printing, and website design. The shop creates products like business marketing materials, canvas prints, coasters, custom labels, custom bibs, custom packaging, lighted cubes, promotional items, wallpaper, and wine boxes.
Its equipment portfolio includes the HP Indigo 5500, Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102, and Heidelberg Versafire. For finishing, the company recently invested in an MGI JETvarnish 3D digital print enhancement system. It also operates a Zünd flatbed cutter.
SunDance has created select packaging on the HP Indigo 5500 digital press for five years. It uses up to seven color printing and supports 68 pages per minute (ppm) in full color, 136 ppm in two colors, and 272 ppm in monochrome. The press handles a maximum paper format of 13×19 inches.
It also operates a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102, which is an offset straight-printing press that reaches 15,000 sheets per hour.
For finishing, the Zünd L-3000 flatbed cutter handles media up to 70.5×118 inches and is compatible with Zünd’s multifunctional tool heads, which are used for creasing, engraving, kiss-cutting, routing, and through-cutting on acrylics, hard and soft foam boards, plastics, styrene, and textile materials. “The Zünd allows us to do rapid prototyping,” says JohnHenry Ruggieri, managing director, SunDance.
The MGI JETvarnish 3D offers traditional flat spot coating and 3D raised effects, which can be features on the same sheet or separately. It produces up to 3,000 B2 sheets per hour and is intended for a range of applications including book and magazine covers, business cards, close-up 3D varnishing, invitation cards, packaging, and product brochures.
For media, SunDance uses a variety of packaging paper stocks from Case Paper, GPA, Mohawk, and Sappi. Case Paper offers a portfolio of paperboard products including blister board, folding box board, solid bleached board, and high yield grades in standard and custom sheets and rolls. For flexible and floppy boxes, it uses PVC plastic. Metals and thin metal veneers help create additional effects.
Its software lineup includes Tharstern MIS and Adobe Creative Suite. SunDance also uses Impact, Arden Software’s packaging design program. Impact is designed for short-run and high-volume production with solid boards, corrugated, and plastics. The program features three-dimensional modeling and animation as well as design components, die making, in-store visualization, a layout creator, and a standard library.
This range of equipment, media, and software allows the team to produce almost any type of packaging.
The company had its first open house to show off its packaging capabilities in 2014, and Ruggieri says since then it has been inundated with requests.
When deciding how best to produce a job, factors like barcodes, retail components, packaging wear, and shipping durability are considered. “The project must fit the parameters. Narrow format is great for small runs and small packages,” says Ruggieri. These printers are generally under 24 inches—ideal for applications like bags, envelopes, labels, pouches, and shrink sleeves.
Lil’ Box of Sunshine
Packaging is a core application for SunDance. It produces promotional boxes, cosmetic, food, and snack packaging.
The print provider recently created a self-promotional campaign designed to highlight its packaging and finishing capabilities. It created small treat boxes filled with yellow M&Ms.
“We wanted to brighten someone’s day,” explains Ruggieri.
Using the HP Indigo 5500, SunDance printed 500 of the promotional boxes using Case Paper’s C2S 16-point paperboards. Ruggieri says the HP Indigo 5500 was selected due to the size of the run and the quality required. “At only 500 boxes it was an ideal fit,” he adds.
The boxes included a soft touch laminate with spot raised UV effects on the outside and an FDA laminate on the inside. The company used the Zünd L-3000 to finish the packaging and MGI JETvarnish 3D for digital spot UV coating.
According to Ruggieri there were no real challenges when it came to designing and producing the self-promotional treat boxes. “We just had to make sure to FDA laminate the inside of the box for direct food contact,” shares Ruggieri.
Compared to previous projects, this piece was one of the tiniest packages the shop had ever completed.
The company’s employees and clients were pleased with the boxes filled with a sweet treat.
The ideal combination of a print technologies, finishing effects, media range, and software helps prepare print providers meet and exceed client expectations. As digital technologies continue to innovate in the packaging space, print providers like SunDance take notice and strategically invest in the latest solutions.
October 2017, DPS Magazine