Late stage customization in narrow web packaging printing
An option for the needs-based management of packaging processes in flexible mass production is late stage customization. This enables the individualisation of products integrated into the production phase as late as possible. Swiss company Hapa AG specialises in these types of solutions and offers tailored solutions for a range of packaging applications.
Written by Dieter Finna
Due to a steady increase in product variations, packaging processes are experiencing increasingly shorter production runs. In addition, growing strict regulatory requirements and the demand for traceability have more and more impact on manufacturing processes. This further increases the standards required from production meaning that packaging processes are being increasingly scrutinised by supply chain managers. Their aim is to keep stock as low as possible despite greater diversity of product ranges. […]
Shorter lead times through digital printing
Production of packaging materials using offline digital printing offers a way of reducing the stock of such materials and the associated capital commitment. Simultaneously, the delivery time can be shortened and both the amount of packaging stock and the individual products can thereby be reduced accordingly. However, offline digital printing only enables the partial optimisation of the process chain, because the number of products to be stocked remains the same, though at a smaller quantity per product.
Late stage customization takes a different approach. The process chain is supplied either with blank or preprinted packaging material. In contrast to conventional conversion, the specification of the exact products takes place at the end of production process, which means at as late a stage in the entire manufacturing process as possible. Digital printing is also used in this process chain, which, in contrast to the first variant, is integrated inline into the packaging process. Through this integration, the production quantities of each item can be kept small and variable until the last moment. Furthermore, unlimited variations can be produced with a very small amount of stock.