Corrugated Digital Printing Quality, The Importance of White and Specialty Ink Configurations!

Corrugated Digital Printing Quality, The Importance of White and Specialty Ink Configurations!

The increasingly popular digital corrugated packaging

Most traditional corrugated digital presses are not equipped with white inks and instead use CMYKK (dual black) ink configurations and provide lower DPI graphics printing. This is now gradually changing as the demand for printing on corrugated board increases.

This is largely attributable to the availability of larger format, faster presses. "More and more users are realizing the value of short-run orders and high-quality graphic products." While traditional offset printing still dominates this market due to its high volume, digital printing presses are in the middle of product proofing and short-run orders. The production side has both gained wider popularity, especially where high-end graphics are required.

Regarding white ink, it is not always used by print providers. “In most cases, these machines will be used primarily for high volume orders that don’t really require excellent print quality.” With the addition of white ink, there is a noticeable drop in yield, but a corresponding increase in quality. This is a process of trade-offs, often depending on the specific needs and expectations of the product manufacturer, how much the company is willing to pay, and whether adding white ink will help increase product sales.

White ink also depends on the specific product application and not all orders require white ink. White back-up color inks on corrugated cardboard, while offering more color vibrancy, are also a very expensive method. “It is important that we know that white ink is the most expensive printing ink and may require higher maintenance costs if it is not used frequently. So before choosing this option, you need to make sure what orders are absolutely in need of white ink ... In many cases, it may be more cost-effective to just buy white cardboard.”

About two out of every 100 machines use white ink. Also, depending on the amount used, white inks are generally more expensive and often equal to more than twice the cost of CMYK. "You need to cover all the printed area with white, which means using more than twice as much ink."

The importance of white ink

When digitally printing on non-white corrugated board, it is often critical for the press to have white ink capability. This is due to the vibrant colors and high impact, especially on darker cardboard.

"White ink is a key factor in creating high-impact graphics on yellowboard cartons, and with white ink, users can be more creative with high-graphics packaging and display stands." order is especially useful.


In short, white inks and special configurations add vibrancy to print media. “Printing color on kraft or yellowboard cartons removes the sheen of press image quality. As brands look for ways to differentiate their products, adding this wow factor to self-attractive print suppliers will gain a competitive advantage.”

Other special configuration

Ink configurations available on some corrugated presses include special ink colors, varnishes, finishing and coating to help achieve the desired results for customers. The ability of the press to provide a variety of decorations is essential to help match other printing processes in the promotional campaign series. This can be achieved through post-printing processes, inline coating, or even ink curing.

When printing on corrugated cardboard, it is important for manufacturers to select a press based on its unique capabilities. The ability to print with gloss and white is critical, especially for packaging applications. Now, digital presses that offer gloss and white inks successfully meet the needs of the larger packaging and proofing markets.

However, the success of these presses is by no means limited to this market. "The ability to quickly and cost-effectively create models or prototypes that look like finished products is where UV presses really thrive. These devices have the ability to incorporate special effects and create accurate, photorealistic samples, making them ideal for packaging proofing. Unparalleled in application."

Adaptation from traditional printing to digital printing

For manufacturers coming from the traditional printing world and using digital printing technology, most people are not familiar with certain corrugated-specific procedures, so a crash course is required. Training and adjustments are often required when adapting to corrugated digital printing equipment. This may include the press itself, the inks and the software involved.

Many customers running traditional offset laminated packaging production also have some experience with digital, usually on a flatbed digital press. To help these customers move seamlessly to digital technology, press manufacturers like EFI offer 360-degree consultative customer support, training, workshops and consulting services after the press is installed. "It's not just training on how to operate the press, it's a real technology transfer. Accompanying customers in terms of color management, color certification, digital design, and selling digital to customers."

For non-white corrugated board, digital printing presses with white ink and special configurations such as varnishing and coating are essential. These devices provide excellent color vibrancy and accuracy. For manufacturers more accustomed to traditional printing techniques, it is important to focus on training and education first before making an investment.

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