Digital Printing


The benefits of digital printing are absolutely essential for today’s packaging sector. Digital printing is the ideal process for small to medium print runs and enables the creation of customised printing for packaging and displays. How does digital printing work? Consult the digital printing experts from THIMM Group to find out more.

Definition of digital printing

Digital printing is an contactless print process. This means that no separate print media are required because the print image is transferred directly to the printing press via computer. In comparison to other printing processes, such as offset or flexo-printing, the laborious press set-up is no longer required.

In terms of resolution, digital printing is comparable to offset printing. Digital printing is therefore ideal for high-quality packaging and displays. For printed matter such as business cards, letterhead, stickers & labels, brochures & flyers, posters & billboards, etc., digital printing has already established itself.

Typical uses & benefits of digital printing

Digital printing is particularly well suited to small and medium print runs in different formats. Its low set-up costs translate into good cost benefits in comparison to other printing processes. This means you no longer have to place consolidated orders of large print runs or hold high stock levels. Stay flexible and save printing set-up costs!

Digital printing is essential for a quick market launch as you can acquire cost-effective test production runs for your market research. As it is an contactless printing process, fast image changes and therefore shorter delivery times are possible. You can expect an optimisation of your supply chain with digital printing!

Retain your customers through customised packaging for special campaigns or seasonal packaging. Your print images can also be personalised. Your colour choices for your design know no limits – the CMYK colour models consists of the three colours of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (key) which is derived from the keyplate. A whole range of special colours can be simulated in digital printing using the CMYK process colours. This minimises colour variations. Invisible code in the print image is also possible. Design your contemporary and customised printing today!

Advantages of digital printing

What are the advantages of switching to digital printing? THIMM will show you the reasons for switching to digital printing:

  • Flexibility is the biggest success factor: in digital printing you can have different designs for series products printed in offset quality with no limitations in the number of colours
  • Replacement for labels: Product descriptions can be printed directly onto your packaging by the digital print shop
  • Continuous codes lead to process optimization in your production or packaging area
  • Due to the printing width of 2.80 m, packaging and displays can be produced in one piece using digital printing
  • Small and medium runs are possible by combining different digital print designs on one paper roll.
  • Be different and innovative

Digital printing presses in detail

At THIMM Group one of the machines we use to produce your digital printing output is a HP PageWide Web Press. You will benefit from its speed, durability and versatility benefits as with its speed of 183 metres per minute, 1,200 dpi offset quality and an operating width of 2.80 metres we can open up totally new possibilities to you:

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The printing press can process paper weights from 80 to 400 grammes per square metre. With the four-colour water and pigment-based CMYK thermal ink jet printing, we also comply with all the requirements for indirect food contact.

Digital printing as a driver of digitization

Digital printing is a digital driver in the packaging industry. Today, there is an ever-increasing diversity in retail with ever-shorter product life cycles. Manufacturers therefore often require individualized packaging. Digital printing makes this possible!

Of course, digital printing is only one component of digitization: a machine for digital printing is analog. However, all processes around the digital printing machine are digital. During the test phase in 2017, for example, THIMM was only able to process the digitally printed paper rolls analogously. At that time, the finishing machines could only record up to ten jobs, which was completely sufficient until then. In the meantime, all processes have been converted to digital so that machine manufacturers, partners and suppliers are increasingly networked.

The possibilities of digital printing can only be exploited if all associated processes are also digital! Constructions and designs for digital printing packaging, for example, are always available in digital form. If this digital data is processed manually, it is not digital. This means that data processing would be just as long as with an analogue printing process. Machine manufacturers, partners and suppliers must always be networked in order to convert such processes.

Digital printing for packaging

Digital printing digitizes analog packaging solutions

Since 2007, the world has united online and offline with the first significant introduction of smartphones. The requirements of the retail trade have changed dramatically as a result. Shopping had to become an experience. The development was reflected in the buyer groups: retail-only shoppers and heavy online shoppers declined sharply. Hybrid shoppers rose sharply. They inform themselves offline and buy on the Internet - or vice versa. This also increased the need for information. Digital printing can be used to produce packaging solutions that contain digital data codes. This is a digital watermark that is not visible to the human eye in the printed image. This does not affect the printed image. Using an app, such data codes can communicate with potential customers. The information can be scanned via an Internet-enabled smartphone or tablet.

THIMM produced such an intelligent display in digital printing for Fresh Nuts, a manufacturer of nut variations and dried fruits. Customers can use the print image to access the latest information videos on a muesli product launch. In our customer story about the digitally printed display you can find out more exciting details.

Digitalised further processing on a corrugator with digitally printed paper rolls

Digital printing provides major impulses for digitalisation in the packaging industry. A digital printing machine is of course analogue, with the exception of the printing unit, but the processes around the digital printing machine are digital. 
And THIMM is even going a step further in the direction of digitalisation: As a pioneer, THIMM is revolutionising the process for the manufacture of corrugated cardboard of digitally printed paper rolls for the entire paper processing industry. 
Away from manual operation toward the digitalised and fully automated processing of digitally printed paper rolls on corrugators. From the business divisions THIMM pack’n’display and Christiansen Print, our printing experts, together with BHS Corrugated, HP and AixPano, have developed a revolutionising industry solution: Digital corrugated cardboard production with digital printing. To this purpose, camera units installed on the corrugator read the machine settings via QR-codes and control the automated order change on the corrugator. This digital process optimisation makes the further processing of digitally printed paper rolls even more efficient and environmentally friendly.
In place of the previous markings, our printing experts integrate the QR-codes read by the camera units on the corrugator into the printed image or on the chad, which recognise the digital printed image change and fully automatically carry out the required machine adjustments. Thanks to the most modern digital printing possibilities, additional QR-codes of an unlimited number can be embedded variably into the printed image, which the customer can use for its own purposes, for example, for traceability. Other recognisable codes can also be adopted in the printed image as variable data.

The revolutionising industry solution makes it possible to process several printed images in small numbers on a digitally printed paper roll even more economically on the corrugator. Another advantage of the QR-codes is that these can be smaller and be placed more advantageously than previous markings. The paper rolls can thus be used and printed more effectively.

The digitalisation of the downstream process for the manufacture of corrugated cardboard with digitally printed paper rolls is replacing analogue processes, so that manual intervention in the production process will be dispensed with in future, employees will be relieved of some of their burdens and the time- and material savings will be increased. The innovative process optimisation for the automated corrugated cardboard manufacture of digitally printed paper rolls represents progress in the paper processing industry and means great sustainability for the entire industry.
Find out more about digital corrugated cardboard production with digital printing.

Digitally printed packaging for hygiene products

THIMM produced the diaper packaging in digital printing for Ontex. The highlight were three different background designs for all four diaper sizes. The twelve individual printed images created a clear differentiation on the retail shelf. This enables customers to directly identify the required diaper size. Read details about diaper packaging in digital printing.

Digital printing
Digital printing for diaper packaging

Digitally printed packaging for e-commerce

The digital printing for HelloFresh was the first order on the HP PageWide web press T1100S in Ilsenburg (Germany) in 2017. Since then, the Hellofresh Grillbox ordered online has been shipped in digital printing packaging. Here the digital pressure shows its potentials optimally:
The digital pressure packing is used in two different sizes and for a seasonal campaign. This means small quantities of packaging. Compared to conventional printing processes, digital printing is much more economical here. Read more online about the digital printing premiere in Ilsenburg, Germany.