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Paper, printing and packaging industry

The packaging industry is one of the engines of growth of light industry. It is of great significance because manufactured products cannot be delivered to consumers without packaging. The way in which goods are packaged has a large part to play in influencing the end consumer; here it is enough to consider the food industry.

According to a prognosis from Reuters, global demand for packaging materials will increase 5.2% by 2012, mainly as a result of growing demand in the developing countries.

Traditionally packaging materials can be split into two main groups: flexible and rigid wall packaging materials.

Flexible packaging has grown extremely dynamically over the past 10 years. Developments are aimed at reducing the use of raw materials, lightening packaging weight and cutting back on costs. The advantage of flexible packaging materials is that they can be adapted to the packaging requirements of individual product groups extremely effectively. Such packaging is paper-based packaging material.

Plastic, metal, glass and wood rank as rigid wall packaging materials.

Therefore, the five most important packaging materials are paper, plastic, metal, glass and wood. The combined use of these five materials in 2010 increased by 16.7% over the same period of the previous year. The greatest increase, 35.7%, in the domestic use of these five materials was registered by plastics. However, glass packaging declined by 16%.

The per capita packaging materials use in Hungary is 85 kg/person, compared with 135 kg/person in Austria, and the average 167 kg/person in the member states of the European Union, while Turkey, which shows one of the most dynamic growth rates in the packaging industry, registered 76 kg/person.

Paper packaging
The production of paper pac

aging in Hungary increased by 3.8% in the first 11 months of 2010, while the export and import growth resulted in an increase in usage of 6.6%.

The following diagram shows the breakdown of paper packaging material by main types. Data for 2008.

Source: CSAOSZ

From a technological viewpoint, development was undertaken in the following areas:

  • roll adhesive labels: in addition to traditional processes digital and offset printing methods are also gaining ground
  • manufacture of carton boxes: increased copy protection systems, an extremely wide range of box forms can be produced due to computerized design and planning systems
  • corrugated board products manufactured by the paper factory inaugurated in Dunaújváros in 2009 are lighter in mass and due to developments in printing technology colour boxes, shelf-ready packaging and displays have become significant
  • there is also considerable development in the manufacture of paper corner guards and paper pallets

Plastic packaging materials

In the January-November 2010 period there was an increase of 27.5% in the domestic production of plastics, 20% in exports, 38.3% in imports, thus overall usage grew by 35.7%.

The following diagram shows the breakdown of plastic packaging material by main types. Data for 2008.

Source: CSAOSZ

Plastic packaging is of great significance in the packaging of food industry products. Extensive use is made of vacuum and gas packaging, with personalized adhesive labelling using digital techniques. Re-sealable bags and packaging fitted with partial or total laser perforations serve the convenience of consumers. Blow moulded bottles not only provide the same rigidity but require less material to produce, thereby reducing pressure on resources. The in-mould labelling technique is extensively used.
Packaging industry applications made from biologically compostable biopolymers (PLA-polylactic acid) have a great future. A factory making the raw material is expected to be inaugurated in Hungary in 2012.


Metal packaging

In the first 11 months of 2010 domestic production of metal packaging increased by 12%, exports by 17.2%, imports by 10.2%, thus overall usage grew by 9.2%.

The following diagram shows the breakdown of metal packaging material by types. Data for 2008.

Source: CSAOSZ

In metal packaging, the most spectacular development has been seen in the manufacturing technology of aluminium aerosol cans. Hungarian manufacturers are able to provide 8-9 colour printing, embossing on the can surface, and produce shaped cans, so with this leading technology they have become competitive on the main markets; realization of the manufacture of piston aluminium aerosol cans is of great significance from both the technological aspect and environmentally speaking; a wide range of metal barrels for the packaging of hazardous materials are available.

Glass packaging

Between January and November 2010 the use of glass packaging – compared to the identical period of the previous year – fell back overall to 83.4%, within which domestic production dropped to 89.4%, exports to 95.2%, and imports to 91.9%.

The following diagram shows the breakdown of glass packaging material by main types. Data for 2008.

Source: CSAOSZ

The use in Hungary of glass packaging material dropped significantly in the past decade, although the reason for this should be sought not in a move away from glass as a packaging material but rather in restrictions in the domestic bottling industry representing the primary market for such products and the widening of the use of plastic (PET) bottles in drinks packaging.

Wood packaging

During the period under investigation domestic production of wood packaging rose by 14.5%, while exports declined by 7.6%, imports increased by 4.6%, therefore there was overall growth in the use of wood amounting to 21.5 %.

Wood packaging turnover by type in 2008:

Source: CSAOSZ

The slower rate of development (compared to paper and plastic packaging) of wood packaging, which is of key importance in cargo packaging, can be considered a consequence of changes in delivery systems and the large-scale expansion of road haulage that can be considered less impacting; treatment methods (drying, impregnation) complying with quality and health standards have become basic requirements on the markets.

Printing industry

The printing industry is of special significance in every country. Products from this sector contribute greatly to the formation of a country’s cultural and political image, but through the manufacture of commercial and other publications its role in fulfilling economic demands is also noteworthy. The proportion of printing industry activities against the whole of industry is relatively small: in 2007, the sub-sector accounted for 0.9% of industrial output.

Printing is a high capital assets sector, and achieving good quality and rapid results requires modern presses. Therefore the large part of the production activities of printing industry enterprises can be considered mainly of a service-provider nature since the products are produced to order in their required form, print runs, on the specified paper and using specified printing techniques.

Overall, the printing industry corporate structure is characterized by a few heavily capitalized corporations (the majority in foreign ownership) and a diversity of domestic SMEs. Both in terms of revenue and from an employment aspect the importance of the latter can be considered significant.

On 31 December 2007, there were 5480 registered enterprises in the printing industry sub-sector, representing 6.8% of industrial enterprises in Hungary.

The production standard of the printing industry is primarily determined by the market demands in Hungary. The demand for these products is closely linked to the cultural and living standards of the population, furthermore the pace of economic growth. The value of production of printing activities was HUF 175.6 billion in 2007, representing 0.2% growth over the previous year.
Printing industry products primarily go to satisfy domestic demand, although the export element of the sub-sector within total sales increased from 7.2% in 2006 to 8.4% in 2007.

Paper industry

The paper industry fulfils important (national) economic demands in the areas of culture, information, packaging, as well as the direct consumption of industry and the population.

In comparison to industry in its entirety and working on the basis of 2007 data, the paper and paper products manufacturing sector represented 1.3% of gross production and accounted for 1.8% of employment.

Paper production is a sector demanding a high degree of capital assets and materials (its value is higher than the processing industry average at somewhere around 80%), in which there were 639 registered enterprises active in 2007, which was 0.8% of industrial enterprises. Similarly working on the basis of 2007 figures, the number of employees in the sector was 13,417 in that year.

More than two-thirds, in fact 67%, of paper production in Hungary went for export, besides the fact that the country’s paper imports remain very high, actually more than double its exports.

Key professional organizations

  • Hungarian Association of Packaging and Materials Handling
  • Technical Association of the Paper and Printing Industry
  • Federation of Hungarian Printers and Paper Makers
  • 3P Cluster
  • North-Hungarian Plastic Industry Cluster
  • Omnipack – The First Hungarian Cluster of Packing Technology

HITA sector manager: Katalin Négyessy