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Flexography & Packaging

By Chris Freddo on November 20, 2006

You do not get a second chance to make a first impression, and first impressions mean a lot. Just ask milk manufacturers. Through a marketing study conducted jointly by the Milk Processor Education Program, Prairie Farms, and the St. Louis Dairy Council, "The St. Louis School Milk Test," milk manufactures were delighted to discover the huge difference great packaging makes. This marketing study showed increased sales of an average of more than 12 percent per school, partly through the use of colorful, new packaging, most of which was printed using flexographic technology.

The test, which involved about 165,000 students at almost 300 area schools during the second half of the 2005 school year, experimented with different flavors, marketing programs, and milk cartons using one through four-color flexographic and four-color offset printing to determine what products were most popular with children.

If you applied these findings nationally, the results would translate into 600 million more unit sales of milk each year, which works out to 11 more units of milk for each student each year.

A good box and label vendor understands that the success of its client's product is directly related to the quality of the packaging.

The test determined that enhanced packaging could significantly increase school milk sales. The flexo printed cartons helped boost sales a few percent higher than the offset cartons, and the one-color old style carton actually showed a one percent sales decline. When you add that in terms of cost (offset was more expensive than flexography), you see how beneficial it can be to use flexography for your packaging.

Flexography (flexo) is a popular process used to print packaging materials. Flexo is used to print milk and beverage cups and containers, folding cartons, multiwall sacks, plastic bags, labels, tapes, envelopes, newspapers, and wrappers.

In a typical flexo printing sequence, the substrate is fed into the press from a roll. The substrate is pulled through a series of stations or print units, die cutting stations, and finishing stations, all inline so that in most cases you start off with clean paper at the beginning of the press and find a finished product at the other end. One reason that flexography presses are used for boxes is because flexographic presses are capable of producing great quality packaging on many different substrates at the least expensive cost.

A wide variety of boxes are manufactured utilizing flexo technology. Ranging from the typical corrugated box, which is manufactured on a conventional flexo folder-gluer press, to the world of auto-lock bottom boxes, as well as four- and six-corner trays, displays and the like; all can be manufactured on highly sophisticated multi-color flexo presses.

Find the Perfect Match

Print buyers understand that the time and resources required to obtain matching labels and cartons can be excessive. Most often the challenge lies in the fact that the label printer is different from the carton printer, using entirely different manufacturing processes.

You can experience the benefits of a streamlined prepress department for both cartons and labels. Some firms draw from the same state-of-the-art prepress equipment and experienced technical staff so there is no guesswork involved in producing labels and cartons that match. You can take comfort in knowing that the same technology will be used to prepare your cartons and labels; guaranteeing consistency in branding.

Just as a better quality milk carton with enhanced graphics can greatly improve sales, the right packaging sells a product. A good box and label vendor understands that the success of its client's product is directly related to the quality of the packaging.

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