Bigger, Faster, More Versatile: The Next Generation Solution for Digitally Printed Flexible Packaging

Bigger, Faster, More Versatile: The Next Generation Solution for Digitally Printed Flexible Packaging
Digital Exclusive


In an industry where the demands of flexible packaging manufacturers are evolving at an unprecedented pace, the quest for a versatile, high-performance solution has become paramount. As manufacturers grapple with the challenges of varying run sizes, increased customization, and the pressing need for sustainable practices, the ION by PCMC stands out as an all-encompassing solution.

Bigger isn’t Always Better…But it is with ION

Enter the ION – available in 36”, 42” and 52” web widths — which breaks speed barriers at up to 400 feet per minute. This enhanced speed translates to an output capacity of up to 1,733 square feet per minute — nearly an 800% productivity increase over existing digital presses. This significant jump in capacity allows for variable data projects at scale and far greater flexibility for brands.

Best of Both Worlds

Flexographic printing has long been the gold standard for flexible packaging – comprising 72% of all printing in flexible packaging – due to its speed, substrate versatility and cost-effectiveness at large volumes.

Digital printing is increasingly adopted by flexible packaging manufacturers due to its superior flexibility and capacity for customization. It enables cost-effective short to medium runs and rapid turnaround times, without the high initial costs associated with flexographic plate-making and make ready’s. Moreover, digital printing’s ability to produce high-quality, detailed graphics supports the growing demand for personalized and variable data packaging solutions.

The ION Hybrid Press represents the best of both worlds, combining the high-speed efficiency  of flexographic printing with the precision and customization capabilities of digital printing. It enables mass customization at scale, allowing manufacturers to seamlessly switch between large volume runs and bespoke, detailed jobs without compromising on speed or quality. This fusion of technologies offers an unparalleled flexibility in the flexible packaging industry, meeting diverse market demands with efficiency and innovation.

The Nitty Gritty

The ION can be configured with non-stop unwind and rewind capabilities with two flexo stations before and after the core ION CMYK digital printing unit. This setup can be configured with an in-line lamination station and 100% defect detection system, ensuring that each run meets the highest standards of quality without interruptions.

Powered by Memjet’s drop-on-demand thermal inkjet technology, each print head contains 70,400 print nozzles firing more than three billion dots per second, and the aqueous pigment ink set is both durable and lightfast.

“Keep an eye on ION because it will enable incredible speed-to-market advancements,” said Windell McGill, Product Launch Manager, PCMC. “As more brands and private-label retailers are looking to enhance the retail experience through connected packaging via mobile phones, ION can enable the printing of QR codes closer to the time of actual product filling.”

As DRUPA 2024 draws near, the industry is abuzz with excitement for the unveiling of cutting-edge technologies, and PCMC is at the forefront with the debut of its ION digital hybrid press. With a beta installation already in operation, PCMC is poised to showcase the transformative capabilities of the ION press to the global flexible packaging community.

About PCMC

Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC), part of BW Converting Solutions, is an industry leader specializing in the design, manufacture, and service of high-performance converting and packaging machinery for the tissue, nonwovens, and hygiene industries, as well as a complete range of printing presses and laser anilox cleaners for the flexible-packaging, prime-label, and carton-converting industries. For more information, visit pcmc.com.


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