North America and Europe’s flexo printing boom

Flexo printed packaging is experiencing rapid growth in North America and Europe, with 60-70% of all packaging now being flexographically printed. In Germany and the U.S. that number climbs even higher to 80% and 70% respectively. Japan is currently at 4%…
Is the primary reason for America and Europe’s shift to flexo because of the environment? Partially, but it’s not the whole story. Let’s look at some of the factors contributing to flexo’s popularity.

1.Print Media

Because flexo is an evolution of the letterpress style of printing, substrate (film or paper) smoothness is not as critical. This opens up new options for print media such as recycled papers and films, both reducing cost and helping reduce environmental impact.

2.Environmental Friendliness

Flexo compatible inks dry quickly helping reduce required runtime and by extension, overall energy consumption. These fast drying times also allow post-processing to be performed in-line further reducing necessary manpower. Furthermore, the amount of ink used per area is half that of other printing methods, and the small amount of solvent used in these inks is often a less toxic alcohol base. This translates to less dangerous waste, protecting not only the environment, but also the health of your employees.


In recent years, the printing industry has trended away from high-lot mass-produced designs towards more small-lot high-variety products For very small lot orders, digital presses reign supreme. As lot size increases however, digital print efficiency decreases and many modern flexo presses are incorporating features to increase their efficiency for middle as well as short runs. Features such as reduced set-up and changeover times reduce downtime without sacrificing quality to boost your overall productivity.

4.Print Accuracy

10 years ago it would not have been unfair to describe the quality of flexo printing as overall inferior to other methods In the last few years however, a variety of new developments have rapidly rendered such thinking obsolete. High quality resin plates along with the software to precisely layout and produce them, revolutionary inks, and presses with servo motors to provide automatic on-the-fly adjustments are just some of the features which have rendered the flexo prints of yesteryear almost unrecognizable from where we are today.

5.Western Trends

Packaging in the U.S. and Europe is trending away from film towards paper in most applications. An increasing number of countries have also begun imposing fines on shipped products unless a certain percent of the total package is made of paper. Additionally, while both paper and film can use UV inks, film is otherwise reliant on solvent inks whereas paper allows for water-based inks. As many solvents are quite toxic, if your concern is the environment then flexo might end up being your only option due to its wide range of compatible water-based inks.


Today’s package printing industry places the upmost importance on productivity and environmental friendliness which presents an excellent opportunity for continued growth and innovation within the flexographic space. In a world where products are selected through the lens of SDG’s, the unique attributes of flexo will become an invaluable asset to printers the world over.