2024 Labels and Packaging Leaders Forum: Jamie Xuereb, Mediapoint

After a 12-year break, it was good to re-enter the labels and packaging market again in 2023. Obviously, it is a very traditional part of the printing market which we have seen there is not as much rapid change compared to the other areas of print, we are involved in.

The packaging sector has been going from strength to strength, and growing even in the current market landscape as more work is being done locally. We see this continuing.

We are seeing our customer base running smaller campaigns but more frequently, this is allowing our trade partners’ customers to test different messaging before committing to a larger run. We are also noticing that smaller runs done locally are increasing. Since Covid there has been a massive swing from importing as run lengths are getting smaller, so we are seeing this trend to continue.

Our key message would be: is the trade partner you are looking for 100 per cent trade only? Or is there a risk they can poach your customer? Also, what edge does your trade supplier give you? At Mediapoint we are giving our trade partners custom laser cutting without white edge as well as custom shapes and fast two business day turnaround times.

We are printing on a Durst Tau with white ink and cutting with a Grafotronic dual laser cutter. The quality of the Durst Tau is simply phenomenal – and we are receiving a lot of positive feedback from our customers. In certain conditions, we have been able to print 5mm QR codes which scan and 1pt text, which is legible through a loupe.

We wanted to approach the labels category from a different angle to other converters. We wanted to offer outdoor durability on uncoated stock – and the Tau UV inks provide a slight raise which all our customers love, and this is a clear point of difference from using toner based or other UV inkjet technologies.

We have also introduced white ink, which is a very solid white ink, and the benefit is it does not require lamination. Compared to toner-based machines, the Durst Tau delivers no variance from page to page which also assists with the cutting aspect of the job. The biggest advantage is turnaround times and consistency, which allows us to pass on these benefits to our customers.

We believe the diversification and offering a mix in product range for our customers has been very advantageous when it comes to winning work. A lot of our large format customers have equipment of their own, so it is all about finding the gaps to help our customer base.

We can offer things that no one else in trade printing can offer – ultra-fast turnaround and dispatch in two business days with unique offerings including custom shapes, custom sizes, and custom quantities.

When it comes to investing in the best equipment it has been shown some new technology has not been tested or might negatively affect customers such as when cutting leaves white edges on labels or scores backing paper. However, some technologies which have been tested really help with satisfaction such as the increased durability of ink outdoors from Durst inks.

We are looking forward to Drupa this year as is it forces the manufacturers to innovate and bring something new to these shows. Without them these innovations would be a lot slower to hit the market.

This article was first published in the 2024 February edition of ProPack.pro magazine

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