Carton Printing & Packaging: Challenges and Solutions | InkJet, Inc.



Carton packaging is becoming a popular option for many products. According to stats from, the folding carton packaging market is expected to reach $177.25 billion globally by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.62%. While that is great news for the carton packaging industry, it’s not so great for factory managers who have to print codes and other essential data on those packages, which are often porous and uneven. These managers and others must deal with the printing challenges posed by carton packaging to achieve optimal results. The table below lists carton printing & packaging challenges as well as some possible solutions.

Carton Printing & Packaging: 10 Challenges and Solutions




1) Ink Adhesion

➖ Porous carton surfaces make it challenging for inks to adhere properly.

➕ Use inks formulated explicitly for carton materials or pre-treatment processes to improve ink adhesion.

2) Color Consistency

➖ Color consistency can be tricky between batches or print runs.

➕ Set up a color management system, use standardized color profiles, and calibrate printers to ensure color consistency.

3) Bleeding and Smudging

➖ Smudging or bleeding can happen if the carton material absorbs ink.

➕ Use quick-drying inks and integrate proper drying mechanisms into the printing process.

4) Die Cutting Precision

➖ Die-cutting carton packaging can be tricky, leading to misalignment or irregular shapes.

➕ Invest in high-precision die-cutting equipment and conduct testing to ensure accurate alignment and shape conformity.

5) Folding and Creasing Issues

➖ Folding and creasing cartons can cause cracking or distortion of printed elements.

➕ Choose flexible carton materials and adjust printing settings to minimize stress on the printed areas during folding and creasing.

6) Printing on Irregular Surfaces

➖ The surface of carton packaging can be uneven or textured, making printing challenging.

➕ Use printing methods for uneven surfaces, such as flexography, and adjust parameters to accommodate surface variations.

7) Moisture and Humidity

➖ Moisture and humidity can affect the quality of printing on carton packaging.

➕ Maintain optimal humidity levels in the printing area and store carton materials in a controlled environment before printing.

8) Regulatory Compliance

➖ Regulatory requirements for barcodes, safety symbols, and legal text can be challenging to meet.

➕ Plan the design layout to meet regulations, conduct regular reviews to ensure compliance, and consult with regulatory experts.

9) Cost Constraints

➖ Budget limitations can impact the choice of printing methods and materials.

➕ Optimize printing processes for efficiency, use cost-effective printing methods, and negotiate bulk discounts.

10) Prototyping

➖ Creating accurate prototypes for testing can be time-consuming and costly.

➕ Use digital prototyping tools and work with printing providers to reduce prototyping time and cost.

Finding the Right Carton Printing & Packaging Solution

When considering what printer to use, choosing a device that can accommodate the porous nature of most cartons and print at a high enough quality to create scannable codes and other information on darker surfaces is essential. Thermal inkjet printers (TIJ) and high-resolution case coder printers stand out from the rest in this regard.

InkJet, Inc. has a range of thermal inkjet printers and high-resolution case coders to meet your carton printing and packaging needs. Each technology carries distinct application specialties, specifications, and cost factors. The table below lists our various hardware options and notes their general specifications. 

InkJet, Inc.’s Carton Printing Systems

Coding Technology

Operating Method

System Options

Maximum Resolution and Print Height

Maximum Marking Speed

Cost Factors

Thermal Inkjet Printer

Uses heat to pressurize and eject ink droplets toward the substrate

Anser U2 Models

400 x 300 DPI (height varies by model)

76.2 m/min

Low unit cost, moderate consumable cost

Anser A1

600 x 600 DPI at 1” height (2” height with stitched print heights)

300 m/min with HP cartridges, 150 m/min with IUT cartridges

Moderate unit cost, moderate consumable cost

Anser X1

600 x 600 DPI at 1” height (2” height with stitched print heights)

300 m/min

Moderate unit cost, moderate consumable cost

Hi-Res Case Coder

Propels oil-based ink droplets to create stark codes

Precision Series 18mm & 72mm

180 DPI at 18 mm height or 72 mm height

Low to moderate speed

Moderate unit cost, low consumable cost

You can print on carton packaging without issues by selecting the right devices. Modern TIJ and case coding printer models can perform almost any task, from creating scannable codes on shipping boxes to putting an expiration date on egg cartons. 

High-Quality Inks for Carton Packaging Requirements

But it’s not just about printers. Your ink also needs to be suitable for carton packaging requirements. InkJet, Inc. has produced a range of high-quality inks for over 30 years. Our comprehensive catalog contains numerous formulas to better meet your printing needs. 

We offer many formulas with special properties, including:

  • Superior substrate adhesion
  • Ultra-quick dry times
  • Sunlight resistance
  • Fade and rub resistance
  • Soft/hard pigmentation

We also carry aftermarket formulas for today’s most popular printers. Our aftermarket options are more affordable than their OEM counterparts but perform just as well, if not better. 

We also offer custom ink services for unique applications and situations.

If you still have questions about carton printing & packaging, InkJet, Inc.'s experts can help you decide which device is right for you. To ensure you are well-equipped for all production needs, we offer industry-leading guidance, answer all your questions, and even perform testing and validation services.

For more information about printing on carton packaging, contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at 1(800) 280-3245.