This research addresses the question of which packaging market segments are best suited to adopt next generation digital printing technology in the near future. According to McCluskey and Larson (2001), Molly (2005), and Eldred (2008), waste reduction and cost effectiveness in short run printing, short leadtime printing, and custom printing are the primary benefits of digital printing. The researcher screened eight major package market segments to determine which segments had the most need for these benefits. At the conclusion of this effort, the researcher identified flexible packaging and folding cartons as the two strongest candidates for early penetration by next generation digital printing technologies. The researcher then analyzed each of these markets in detail.

An assessment of technology readiness led the researcher to focus on the folding carton market. Data gathered from folding carton converter interviews indicated that jobs with run lengths less than 12,000 B1 sheets are poorly suited for offset presses and constitute short runs. Jobs less than 2,000 B1 sheets are typically uneconomic to produce. Based on job cost models developed for this research, runs up to 2,000 B1 sheets can be economically produced by the HP 30000, and runs in excess of 12,000 B1 sheets can be economically produced by the Landa S10 in the long term.

The other benefits of digital printing, short lead time printing and customization, could potentially be used to create on-package promotions targeted to narrow local markets. To assess this opportunity, the researcher surveyed 4,562 SKUs in Walmart, Wegmans, and PriceRite, and found that folding cartons with on-package promotions constituted five to fifteen percent of all folding cartons observed. During the interview phase of the research, the researcher found that existing distribution chains in the US are poorly adapted to delivering localized promotions to specific stores. Nevertheless, one converter stated some large brands were asking for localized promotions, so the opportunity may be real.

Thus, the researcher concluded that the folding carton market is best suited to adopt next generation digital printing technology in the near future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Package printing--Technological innovations--Evaluation; Digital printing; Flexible packaging

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Print Media (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Media Sciences (CIAS)


Robert J. Eller

Advisor/Committee Member

Bruce L. Myers

Advisor/Committee Member

Christine Heusner


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TS196.7 .W364 2016


RIT – Main Campus