Love and technology on cardboard packaging

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How digital printing has changed corrugated cardboard packaging, giving power and voice to a container that has shown infinite possibilities for communication. Success stories signed Ghelfi Ondulati with HP PageWide T1170.

When it comes to digital printing on corrugated cardboard, the first thing Italians think of are the Melinda campaigns printed by Ghelfi Ondulati on cardboard trays to convey messages of civilization, joy, solidarity, linked to different aspects and moments of social life. Like the latest coronavirus lock down, which inspired “In the company of Melinda, time flies”: games printed on the lid of fruit trays to help children indoors to pass the time in a carefree way. Or like the need for a “gentle push” to fruit consumption in childhood, which created the ingenious toy-packs for “Le Melinda Piccoline”: a fine example of reuse in a “gaming” design of a material which cannot be more natural.

On corrugated cardboard – now promoted with full marks as a vehicle for high-impact messages and ideas – digital printing has thus leapt over the narrow confines of samples and small batches for market testing. And it gives wings to the most daring marketing projects, thanks to the performance of an HP PageWide T1170, of variable data management software, and of proprietary water-based inks that guarantee healthiness and eco-sustainability. And thanks to the expertise of the Valtellina based converter, which is able to manage times and modes on an industrial scale.

Hybrid communication, new experiences

A box printed on the inside and outside in excellent offset quality (the graphics are the same for all the boxes) with a customisable inside printed by Ghelfi Ondulati in digital, in collaboration with Gruppo Europoligrafico. To show the potential of this combination, the two partners have created a prototype of experiential communication that by framing the QRCode printed inside the box in a random sequence thanks to the HP SmartStream Designer software, you can access one of the 56 curious pieces of information about the 9 planets of the solar system.

Strawberries, culture and traceability

2019, Matera European Capital of Culture. The Compagnia delle primizie cooperative aims at enhancing the event and its strawberries, featuring on the packaging the evocative character of the territory where the Candonga, a top quality cultivar produced exclusively in Basilicata, is grown. The campaign implemented creates a link between each box and the flash mob whose protagonists are the Lucanian strawberry and the city of stones (Matera): you can see it by activating the QRCode printed on the packaging.

The puzzle that conquers

Mondodelvino wanted to build totems for an impactful communication over a large display area. The creatives have transformed the references of its offer into a sort of puzzle composed of 6 different, 6-bottle packs, each printed with a photo of strong visual impact, featured at the point of sale like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in natural format. Achievements: sales up to 30%, more than 40 active references. Moreover, digital updating of the information on the packaging alongside those on the individual bottles (vintages, organic certification bodies, importers, alcoholic content).

Red like the love for Sicily

To create a box that would show in the graphics the red of the Sicilian orange bearing the wording “love” in the various languages of the world, to express the love for the wonderful and contrasted land of Sicily. This was done by the Catanese agricultural cooperative Il Galletto OP for the special “run” of red pulp oranges: the finest, late harvested. They were distributed in digitally printed and personalized crates, one by one, starting from the same basic graphics, with the HP Mosaic application.

A new way of printing. The converter speaks

Digital printing has revolutionized transport packaging and Ghelfi Ondulati has believed in it since 2016, committing itself unreservedly to exploring its potential and being an active proponent of the advantages of this technology. We asked Luca Simoncini, Digital Printing Program Manager of the Valtellina based converter, for an assessment of these first 5 years.

What are the main advantages you have experienced working on the HP PageWide T1170 and related software?

I list them telegraphically and in no particular order: infinite opportunities for customizing the various events and campaigns; “zeroing” the time to market (I produce today and deliver tomorrow; elimination of printing systems, replaced by files that can be modified at any time); possibility of inserting information inside the boxes using QRCode, watermark, etc.; very high resolution and printing quality on all types of support; traceability of each package through and “increase” of the contents of the printed matter with digital interaction technologies; traceability of purchasing behavior and customer profiling…

Why did you opt for printing from a reel instead of on a cardboard cover sheet?

The investment was made in view of a future digital revolution of the whole company; all boxes will be printed with this technology that, for us, represents the future.

How important is printing speed?

Very. Today we are already reaching 183 linear m/min, with forecasts of upgrading to 300: these are fundamental qualities for a project of transition to “absolute” digital.

And what about the sustainability characteristics of this technology?

They are essential. In Ghelfi we use only waterbased HP inks, which comply with the most stringent food safety regulations, allowing contact between the food content and the cardboard container without any health risks.

What other technologies do you work with? By comparison, does digital cost more or less?

We also do custom printing in flexo, but only digital can handle short runs. It depends, for example, on how much ink you use and, of course, the number of pieces to be printed.

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