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What You Need to Know About Digital Printing in Packaging

What is Digital Print for Packaging?

Digital printing is the process of transferring a document on a desktop or any digital storage device to a particular printing substrate through a device that accepts graphic and text output.

Information on the document is converted to binary code in order to efficiently store the information and reproduce it.

Purpose of Digital Printing in Packaging

When compared to offset printing, digital printing requires lower minimum quantities.

Short Runs & Sampling

It is typically cheaper to produce small runs in digital printing than offset printing. When an order of fewer than a hundred pieces is required, digital printing is definitely the way to go.

When it comes to custom package sampling, digital printing again beats out flexography printing and other conventional forms of printing.

Thanks to its lower costs, it is easier to create package samples with digital printing.


The drawback to printing digitally is the loss of image quality and, in some cases, smaller paper size. It has the inability to deliver the PMS Color System which in turn cannot compete with the color accuracy traditional printers can produce.

Another disadvantage are the stock options. Digital printing can only produce certain type of paper materials while traditional printing can print more complex and special substrates such as corrugated, chipboard, grey boards and other thicker paper stocks.

Flatbed Digital Print for Packaging

Flatbed digital printing typically uses an inkjet printer to reproduce digital images.
Inkjet printing is considered to be the future of digital printing. The process uses ultraviolet (UV) curable inks to print digital images on flat surfaces.

This process is important as it can print on numerous surfaces such as wood, metal, glass, and tiles. The technology can also print on materials that have varying levels of thickness.

Benefits of Flatbed Digital Printing

  • Higher Consistent Quality
    True digital flatbed technology does have a higher initial cost than its competition but it does print in greater detail and has a higher level of accuracy & repeatability.
  • Environmentally Friendly
    Flatbed printing is also more eco-friendly than conventional printing as it produces a lower amount of waste cartridges and creates lesser air pollution. It leaves behind a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Flexible & Low Cost
    Flatbed printing is great for custom and commercial packaging. Its lower cost increases the ease of customization and allows customers to develop their designs at a low price.
  • Quick & Efficient Production Time
    It saves a lot of time compared to conventional printing as there is no need to constantly change plates, as the technology does not use any plates.

Digital printing does not require the usage of plates like offset or traditional printing requires. The process primarily uses toner and liquid ink.

In many instances of digital printing, unlike conventional ink, the ink used will not permeate the substrate being printed on. The ink creates a thin layer on the substrate and the ink is further adhered to the surface through UV curing or laser heating.

About author

Mark Velarga is PakFactory's Director of Digital & Content Marketing. He writes about all things related to design, business and technology and how it serves value to customers, business owners, packaging designers and industry experts. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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