19.03.2014

The Latin American converting industry

Latin America is experiencing a solid growth in the demand for flexible packaging and labels. Three main factors are responsible for this advance: globalization, the clear intention of leading brands to relocate production to regions other than those where they usually operate, including Latin America, and the various trade agreements signed by many countries in the region with large markets like the US, Europe and Asia, which have the role to support quality, costs and competitiveness but also define a protocol for safety and sustainability.

The flexible packaging industry of Latin America, despite persistent problems of costs (mainly of raw materials and inks), reduction of profit margins and competition from multinational companies producing for various customers located in the different countries of the region, has increased and consolidated its share considerably in recent years. This was possible thanks to the continued investments, improved attention to customer needs and constant concern to adapt their production to requirements of high quality, service and protection.

The whole region lived a climate of economic dynamism in 2011, which brought a growth rate of 4.6% for the flexible packaging sector keeping levels similar to those of 2010 for what concerns the consumption of raw materials, prices of products, productivity and exports. 2012 is expected to be less performing with a 4.2% of general growth characterized by higher specialization and general technological advancement.

Increase profitability is the present challenge of the Latina American flexible packaging industry, for which converters insist on a set of measures focused mainly on the modernization of technology and the improvement of the quality of their products, which are associated with marketing strategies and incomes in niche markets where their products offer more added value. The investment in technology continues to guide the expansion of the printers capability, especially with conventional flexo, currently the predominant process. Printers appreciate the high productivity of flexography when dealing with increasingly shorter print runs and the process inner flexibility, which quickly adapt to fast-changing trends and the introduction of new materials.

Parallel to the growing popularity of flexography, converter companies in the region show a strong interest in multi-process systems, which house on the same press flexo, screen, gravure and digital printing. This latter is increasingly more predominant not only for small to medium runs but every time the need is to accelerate the launch of products to the market, reduce inventory, deliver just-in-time and print variable data or costly commercial samples.


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