Haptics and sensory effects create a powerful impact on the purchasing decision of consumers, as they directly trigger their emotions and senses. Objects that appeal to consumer through multiple senses create a greater impact.
Haptics play an important role in determining whether a customer buys a product. So the packaging and printing industry should adopt haptic approach, in order to strengthen the emotional appeal of brands and increase advertising effectiveness. Nowadays, we can see that all the shelves in a supermarket are filled with different brands showcasing visual messages and offering a touch effect. For instance, the different brands of baby diapers are using a ‘soft-touch’ coating on their product’s packaging, in order to influence consumers buying decision. The diaper packaging imitates what baby’s skin feels like and helps consumers to decide a correct product for their baby. There are many examples of items that come with a printing effect.
Soft touch has been known for being easily marred or scratched. In response to this issue, the soft-touch coating technology uses a ‘dual care’ system and also features the UV cure to provide a hard and wear-resistant surface. UV-cured hard coatings features scratch resistance and superior wear, as well as moisture resistance. This moisture resistance is useful for packaging and products that spend most of their life cycle in damp environments, for instance a bathroom.
There are other effects available that can be applied online in the printing process, wet-touch coatings are one of them. This coatings are UV-curable that offer a surface that gives a fresh and wet feel. For example, an iced tea in a cold glass from the fridge delivers a perfect sensual experience that is possible by using a coating applied via a gravure or flexo unit.
With a continuous increase in packaging film consumption while focusing more on recyclable materials, the industry can witness new trends in order to appeal eco-conscious consumers. If this trend continues, the printing process can be done by using a ‘sand-touch’ coating on packaging board and paper to provide an effect.
All these printing effects are achieved through the use of different coatings, applications techniques, as well as different curing technologies. UV-curable coatings can be applied on most of the materials like paper, film and board for any kind of item. There are operational solutions for facing certain technical challenges with thickness or surface characteristics. Some cases such as food packaging or pharmaceutical products need nitrogen inertization to deliver a product with complete safety, sensory effects and with no migration concerns.
Printers or convertors need to consider the thickness of the product, in particular with thin films. A case of partial coating with a layer thickness of 15 micron on an 8 micron film can be a challenge to rewind in roll-to-roll production. Printer or convertor should be guided by supplier sources, in order to achieve integrated, consistent and trouble-free live production.