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Exclusive interview with Esko

Ahead of his presentation at Digital Print for Packaging Europe this December, we spoke with Jan De Roeck, Director Solutions Management at Esko on digital print capabilities, industry innovation, brand owner adoption and why he is attending the conference this December.

Why are you interested in Digital Print for Packaging?

For quite some time now, digital print technologies are an important innovation in the package and label converting industries. Digital print adds unique capabilities to the packaging and label manufacturers’ product portfolio, enabling them to better respond to their changing customer’s requirements. However, introducing digital print technologies in today’s conventional print environment comes with a number of challenges. The program of a conference like Digital Print for Packaging is spot on for packaging and label converters: it provides insight in the new value-added capabilities digital print brings and it shares best practices for the implementation of this new technology.

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

The driver behind innovation is the packaging buyer, the CPG brand owner. In today’s market, there are so many different channels through which the brand can convey its brand message to the consumer and packaging is seen as one of the more important ones. The package often is the very last, if not the main channel for the brand to engage with the consumer. We now witness the emergence of a lot of changes to the way the package is used in the go-to-market strategy of the CPG brand owner: more variation in package design in order to appeal to more and more narrowly defined consumer niches, more added technology layers like printed electronics, QR-coding, VR and AR layers to connect the brand with the consumer on a variety of online channels.

What are the latest technology developments in digital printing?

At drupa, the largest print show in the world, we saw a lot of announcements and advancements in inkjet technology: support for more substrates, wider and faster presses and the integration of digital and conventional printing in so-called hybrid printing environments. To support the new capabilities of digital printing, more specifically in the field of short to very short print runs driven by customization, even personalization, we see a lot of developments in prepress workflow automation, workflow integration and, not to forget, digital finishing.

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

I believe we have the early adopter phase behind us now. Further wide spread adoption of digital print technology will only be driven by the capabilities of the package and label printer converters offering new capabilities and new added value to the CPG brand owner. Educating the market about exactly how digital print technologies add value to the go-to-market process will speed up the adoption rate.

 Why do you think it is important to attend the Digital Print in Packaging conference? 

The conference has a unique focus on digital print for packaging, but within this deep focus, the conference agenda goes pretty wide and covers all perspectives of digital print implementation. Not only the suppliers of technologies, but also use cases of early adopters are on the agenda which turns this event into a very relevant one for any converter or brand owner that considers the benefits of digital printing.

What are you most looking forward to about attending and speaking at this year’s Digital Print for Packaging event in Berlin?

For this year’s conference, Esko focusses on one of the more challenging aspects of short run digital print, ie. Quality Assurance. As print run lengths for packaging and label jobs continue to shorten, converters need more jobs on the presses to keep them running. This of course means more jobs through order entry administration and prepress. But how do you deal with quality assurance in such a high volume environment, knowing that there you cannot allocate 20 minutes of expensive operator time to a QA assessment of the job. This is a challenge for all converters and a concern for all brands, guaranteed to be an interesting session at the event.

Why should delegates attend Digital Print in Packaging conference and what are the top 3 over riding takeaways they will receive?

Representatives from CPG brand owners will learn from their early adopter peers how digital print can be implemented efficiently in a go-to-market campaign.

Representatives from packaging and label converters will walk away with many practical tips and tricks for a smooth implementation of digital print technology.

Jan De Roeck will be Chairing Digital Print for Packaging Europe and will also be presenting on "Short run digital print delivered tomorrow: how do you make time for Quality Assurance?" as part of the "How digital fits into the packaging supply chain" on Day 2 of the conference.

Click here to view the full programme >>