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Printing flexible packaging – these processes are popular now

Flexible product packaging is practical. Lightweight, robust, and space-saving, it protects contents against quality deterioration, keeps contaminants out, simplifies transportation, and addresses all customer needs. At the same time, it is expected to attract attention and make the product inside desirable. With our modern printing techniques, we make sure that nothing is left to chance as regards looks. And we implement even the most ambitious packaging designs with superb quality.

Printing quality is a key criterion for that important first impression

After all, first impressions count. That applies not only to encounters between people but also when the issue is to convince consumers that your product is right for them. Most people make purchase decisions directly at the shelf. They take guidance more from intuition than from facts. The more upscale the looks of the packaging, the higher customers will rate the value of the contents. In addition to customer-friendly handling, material firmness, haptics, and – not least – printing quality all play a role.

The image of your products and of your brand is reflected by an unmistakable corporate identity which assures positive recognition. Logos, typefaces, or pertinent slogans can offer guidance for customers; so can characteristic colour schemes or distinctive patterns. But the sales promotion effect requires high-end printing quality and compliance with all quality hallmarks that consumers expect.


Gravure and digital printing – the most common printing techniques for packaging

Printing flexible packaging imposes greater requirements on materials and equipment than printing on paper. Depending on the requirements profile, two processes are used most frequently: gravure printing and digital printing.


The deployment of up to ten inks alloGravure printing reproduces consistently high and stable print quality

Gravure is most suitable for broad product ranges in large print runs. The most important applications involve printing films for the food, non-food, and pet-food sectors. But this technique can also leverage its strengths in the pharma segment.

The deployment of up to ten inks allows colours to be reproduced in consistently high and stable print quality. If needed, printing on both sides is also possible. Beyond that, spot colours – for example with metallic effects – and special lacquers can be applied with no problems. With our two gravure presses that are configurable with up to ten printing couples each, we can attain an annual printing capacity of over 70 million square metres.

Digital printing is suitable for short runs

For short runs such as custom product series, special editions, and marketing measures, digital printing is the technique of choice for both dry and wet goods. Our HP Indigo 20000 digital press has a web width of 762 millimetres and a repeat length of up to 1100 millimetres; it can handle virtually all materials and formats within the scope of flexible packaging.

Seven colours – four process and three spot – assure highly brilliant results and good to very good print quality that almost matches gravure. The artwork can be imported automatically from Adobe Acrobat (version 1.5 and higher), Adobe InDesign, ArtPro or Adobe Illustrator, transferred to the press, and applied to the packaging substrate without delay.


Packaging with special effects

Apart from the common colour options, both gravure and digital printing offer excellent possibilities to enhance packaging with special effects. One of the best refinement approaches in gravure printing is partial mat lacquering, which can highlight typefaces and artwork elements. The optimal effect is achieved when about 5 to 15% of the printed surface is lacquered.

But mat and high gloss visual elements can also be implemented with digital presses. Even 3D effects can be achieved, depending on the motif. Further interesting options involve combinations of colour, coverage, and laminate type. For instance, metallic finishes can be imitated, as can watermark or spot lacquer effects.

Digital printing – the best choice for current marketing trends


Because of globalisation, growing consumer expectations, innovative technologies and the increasing need for personalisation and sustainability, the packaging industry is confronted with accelerating change. At the same time, packaging is becoming an ever more important part of the value chain as the interface between products and consumers. This role is also reflected by the current marketing trends in flexible product protection systems. Variety is just as important as consumer-targeted sales promotion, active communication with customers based on QR codes on the packaging as well as sequential coding and personalisation of products.

As a high-quality process for long print runs, gravure delivers brilliant colours. On the other hand, it necessitates complex, relatively lengthy and costly platemaking processes, suitably smooth substrates, and considerable energy consumption for drying the inks. As a rule, the effort only pays off for medium to long runs and is too expensive for small volumes.

Conversely, digital printing delivers clearly greater flexibility because the time-consuming production of physical plates is eliminated, as is the need to dry the inks. Since packaging can be individually designed and personalised without production interruptions, it is possible to very quickly respond to emerging market trends. Digital is ideal for campaigns that appeal to specific markets and target groups or for test packaging, mini-runs and print-on-demand applications with the objective of minimising warehousing costs.

Worldwide, digital package printing has a 3% share of the entire market volume, and is growing. In particular, batch numbers, regionalisation, barcodes, variable data, and multilingual texts can only be implemented with digital printing.


Package printing with Wipf – innovative solutions for your products

Whether you want to create samples for trade show debuts, attract attention for representative market tests and product launches, or implement seasonal promotions (Christmas, Easter), we’re at your disposal as experts for gravure and digital printing. You can count on our know-how and many years of experience. With our printing capabilities, we can serve you with individualised packaging for clubs, associations, and special events – to incomparable quality standards and at affordable terms.

With personalised giveaways, you can create a positive impression at customer events and trade fairs, showcase your company with packaging for events such as Olympic competitions and world championships, or harness the possibilities of digital printing to apply variable data to your packaging and thus save the expense associated with time-consuming additional labelling processes.

Up to ten colours in gravure or up to seven in digital printing – with our highly advanced presses and well-trained, professional technicians, we guarantee maximum printing quality in the domain of flexible packaging and make sure your products leave a lasting impression right from the very first encounter.

Would you like to learn more about our capabilities?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours, Wipf AG


T +41 44 947 22 11 |


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