By Joerg Krista, Prepress Specialist, Kärcher
When Kärcher products are positioned side by side on shelves in stores, it is critical to have the same brand color – and no deviations. The easiest way to achieve this standard is through digital printing.
Digital also means we can print from a single substrate. This looks better and is cheaper compared to offset production using two pieces.
Flexibility is another advantage of digital printing. As one example, an international supermarket brand needed a 100,000-print run for a weekly promotion in Germany. A fast turnaround was needed.
Due to supply chain issues, the agreed products were not available. Had we used flexo, the clichés alone would have cost €40,000 and would have been wasted.
Luckily, we had opted for digital production, and we could change the image at short notice. We saved a lot of money for Kärcher on materials and the environment at the same time.
However, the most important point was delivering for our customers.
Design changes are always a challenge for us in the pre-print department using traditional production. However, digital really works well. The process is so much easier for us to handle and prepare data, especially when we can have more than 120 product variants.
Digital printing enables us to ship packaging in sequences with a lot less warehousing at our production sites.
Another example of rising complexity is Brexit. Now we need to change the layout and add a new UK recycling symbol, which would not be so easy without digital.
Flexo volumes are certainly decreasing. In 2011, about 50% of our work was done this way. Today, flexo printing is about 10% of the packaging volume.
Sustainability is also increasingly important, and this year we were proud to win a VDMA packaging award. Our target is to reduce packaging material, recycling material, and no plastic fillings. 93% of the packaging material is paper based and 80% is recycled.
We always take a pragmatic approach both for ourselves and our customers.