Packaging Innovation
digital printing technology automation
March 1, 2017

Digital printing technology is here. Are you ready?

The past few years have witnessed some great changes in the packaging industry, with new developments in digital print leading the way. Still, while digital printing technology is driving innovation in packaging, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Jan De Roeck, Esko’s Director of Solutions Management, elaborates on digital print innovations and their implementation.

Digital print innovations in the packaging industry

Digital has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for brands to engage with their target audience. Inkjet technology is now more advanced than ever, supporting a diverse range of substrates, faster presses and even enabling manufacturers to integrate digital and conventional printing in 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’re also seeing a lot of developments in prepress workflow automation, workflow integration and, not to forget, digital finishing”, adds Mr. De Roeck.

Changing how CPG brands go to market

Digital print technology is also changing CPG brands’ go-to-market strategies in various ways. Mr. De Roeck: “I believe the early adopter phase is behind us now. [There is] 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.”

Tackling the challenges of digital printing technology

One of the main challenges of digital is quality assurance when it comes to shorter runs. Mr. De Roeck explains: “As print run lengths for packaging and label jobs continue to shorten, converters need more jobs on the presses to keep them running. This obviously means more jobs through order entry administration and prepress.” That’s where Esko’s Automation Engine comes into play. It automates prepress tasks and keeps quality up to standard even in the largest high-volume environments.   Inspired by Label and Narrow Web