Exclusive interview with DataLase

Ahead of his presentation at Digital Print for Packaging Europe this December, we spoke with Mark Naples, VP Business Development Europe and Asia Pacific at DataLase to get his view on industry innovation, the latest technological developments, brand owner adoption, industry challenges and much more.

Q. Why are you interested in Digital Print for Packaging?

As a relatively new technology, digital print is only just beginning to infiltrate the packaging market and demonstrate its true potential.

It’s an increasingly cost-effective solution that offers the same standard of quality as more traditional printing methods with additional advantages. Companies of all shapes and sizes are beginning to recognise its potential.

DataLase, who had major success at Drupa 2016, is leading a revolution in the advancement of inline digital printing as requirements for customisation and higher value digital production grows.

Personalisation is a key term for the sector, ensuring relevant messages are delivered to targeted groups of consumers. Producing completely bespoke and targeted packaging is now a reality thanks to this technology.

DataLase is also interested in witnessing other new and innovative technologies trying to break into the market, whilst keeping abreast on what developments are currently catching the eyes of delegates. 

Q. What are some of the most innovative things happening in the industry?

Digital printing is evolving quickly as the packaging industry looks to deliver ever-shorter, economical print runs in order to maximise consumer engagement through customisation and personalisation.

Brands wishing to engage consumers through innovative, customised graphics are increasingly seeking smaller print runs in order to subtly enhance brand transparency and build confidence.

Furthermore, consumers today have higher expectations of product packaging. They are much more open to being engaged and targeted by brands; indeed, customisation and personalisation of product packaging forms part of the purchasing and product experience.

We believe the combining of conventional print processes with inline digital printing technology is a true break through for the industry.

Q. What are the latest technology developments in digital printing?

Brands are looking to use digital printing to engage customers on an emotional and personal level, taking it beyond ‘limited editions’ and into mainstream packaging, according to Mintel.

With the continual expansion of SKUs in FMCG retailing and the outstanding success of the global ‘Share a Coke Campaign’, brands and retailers are all looking for a way to differentiate their products through mass customisation or personalisation to increase sales. Up until now this has typically been achieved via hybrid digital systems utilising conventional print techniques and overprinting variable data via digital technology.  This process can be both slow and expensive.

Real-time, on-demand information and graphics are now available through DataLase technology which is highly responsive and can maximise consumer interaction and brand owner value around key events and promotions. Bespoke graphics can be on pack within 24-48 hours of an event occurring, changing the game in the execution of real-time marketing for brands.

DataLase addresses these needs with laser reactive, colour change pigment technology which is supplied to ink manufacturers and suppliers around the world. The pigments are incorporated into finished coatings and inks, which are supplied to printer converters. The resulting laser reactive ink is then applied to a substrate, using conventional print methods, before being sent as a coated substrate to the packer / filler for inline digital printing.

Q. How do you think brand owner adoption will change in the next 5 years?

Digital print is growing because it offers significant advantages over traditional print techniques today. On demand printing, mass customisation and personalisation of products and packaging are all recent trends in FMCG marketing and the inline digital printing solution meets these agile marketing needs.  Adoption of this technology, along with other digital print solutions, is accelerating as clearly seen at Drupa 2016.

For brand owners, the inline digital print solution enables the delivery of high quality, timely, flexible product marketing solutions for maximum impact. Graphics relating to promotions, advertising, unique codes, track and trace and tailored messages can be integrated into pack designs at the point of packing and filling quickly, in response to their marketing needs.

The demand for global flexible marketing is driving late stage packaging customisation. Brands are enjoying the ability to customise their packaging in order to vary their messages according to the season, location, latest promotion or target consumer segment and consumers are now expecting more enlightened and engaged marketing campaigns.  This can only drive demand for digital print adoption by the brand owner community.

Q. How do you foresee the future of Digital Print in Packaging over the next 5 years?

The need to maximise brand impact through flexible marketing is rapidly growing. The timely delivery of promotional messages is driving the requirement for late stage printing of products and packaging. This has led to significant demand for DataLase’s breakthrough technology.

The demand for agile marketing is set to increase and the technology of the future will need to stay relevant to cater for evolving consumer expectations.

Q. What are the main challenges the industry is facing and how do you think this conference can overcome them?

The challenge still facing brand owners is how to leverage digital print technology to drive profit from innovative marketing campaigns, how to use the power of digital print to build stronger relationships with their customers and how to gain loyalty from the new generation of shoppers.

Inline digital printing technology addresses all of these factors and can provide the brand owner community with high speed, high resolution, on-demand digital printing that is a high performance alternative to conventional print methods. DataLase provides the ability to deliver real time messaging and variable data on pack with a selection of single colours.

Q. Can you provide a brief summary of what your presentation will cover and why it’s important for delegates interested in Digital Print for Packaging to attend?

The Datalase presentation at the event will demonstrate the benefits of inline digital printing solutions over alternative digital print techniques, using both video and case studies. It will address the growing complexity of print and packaging management in today’s competitive retail world and how inline digital printing resolves many of the key waste issues as well as delivers real-time marketing capability to brand owners.

Delegates should attend the presentation to understand the unique value proposition that inline digital printing offers over current digital print technologies and where the potential for this type of technology lies in the future.


Mark will be presenting on 'Innovation in inline digital printing & impact on brand and consumer value' as part of the 'What technology is right for my application?' session at this December's Digital Print for Packaging Europe.

Click here to view the full programme >>