The shopping experience has changed a lot in the 21st century.
In some ways, it has placed a new focus on things that people have previously taken for granted. Corrugated cardboard is one of those things.
While most people usually think of it as simply something used for making plain brown boxes, the versatility of corrugated cardboard has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to innovative marketing concepts, advances in printing, and online shopping.
More Than Just a Box
Corrugated cardboard itself is an extremely useful material in retail-focused businesses. It’s a cheap material to produce, yet infinitely configurable thanks to its flexible qualities, but durable enough to handle short-term needs such as packaging.
Because of this, corrugated material has grown in importance, especially for marketing purposes. Displays in stores, promotional materials for retail usage and, of course, packaging are all areas where the cost effectiveness and flexibility of corrugated cardboard have shone. Now that we have better printing techniques, corrugated cardboard is even more versatile.
Color & Quality
Designers and marketing experts are no longer confined to simple inks and colors for corrugated cardboard. Instead, the full range of colors and images is now possible, but only with new, modern color and printing techniques. It means that corrugated cardboard, once thought of as a difficult medium to print on, is now capable of taking and holding vibrant colors and sharp images with photographic quality resolution.
This means that in some cases, the packaging itself is part of the “shopping experience,” and often adds more appeal to a product. Customers now expect a much higher, premium level of packaging and fortunately the technology and design sensibility is now there to meet those demands. But there’s a fair amount of technology that is involved in this new design freedom.
Temperature Control Makes the Difference
Finer image quality and more vibrant colors are all a result of better, more precise control during the printing process. That greater precision comes from a combination of advanced printing mechanisms, and a higher degree of control over the actual physical quality of the inks themselves, especially with regards to viscosity, or “thickness” of the fluids.
With more control over viscosity, inks can be as thick—or thin—as required to get a job done. But the trick is ensuring that viscosity remains consistent during the application. Otherwise, anything from the gradation of the color to the sharpness of the image could be compromised from the original design concept.
Temperature control plays a major role in allowing this higher degree of printing freedom on corrugated cardboard. Viscosity is deeply affected by temperature, and even a difference of a few degrees can alter viscosity. However, temperature itself is affected by numerous factors. Ink is stored at one temperature, loaded into printers, where it changes to another and may be changed again by environmental factors such as the season, or mechanical factors such as the type of printer being used.
With a comprehensive temperature control system, the temperature of ink can be closely monitored at every step of the printing process. This ensures that the adjustments that need to be made can be made so that by the time the ink arrives at the point of application on the corrugated cardboard, it is exactly at the temperature it needs to be to create the desired effect.
See how you can quickly identify and solve issues that arise in your corrugated print process. Get your free copy of our Corrugated Printing Troubleshooting Guide.