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  • Digital Packaging Summit 2015


    Digital Packaging Summit 2015
    Converting Cognoscenti Gather to see the Future

    By Noel Ward, Managing Director, Brimstone Hill Associates

    The rich content at first annual Digital Packaging Summit (DPS) made up for the less than sunny Florida weather. Put on by nGage Events and Napco Media at the Ponte Vedra Beach Inn and Club near Jacksonville, this unique, invitation-only event gathered some 55 converters and more than 20 printing equipment and supplies companies to share knowledge, ideas and perspectives on the changing nature of label and package printing. All converters were vetted to ensure only highly qualified individuals–key purchase influencers and decision makers–were in attendance.

    The label and packaging segment of the printing industry has been slow to adopt digital printing for a variety of good reasons, but as digital printing technology has evolved, a growing number of print providers are seeing the advantages digital presses bring to their pressrooms–and the value the technology offers their customers.

    Many of the converters at Ponte Vedra were there because they realize the time has come to use digital presses. Some already sold, like Bill Lorenz, COO at Boutwell-Owens, a folding carton shop in Fitchburg, Massachusetts that has a HP 30000 press and a Highcon Euclid II laser finishing system. Lorenz was there to learn more about the opportunities in the segment and hear about other options. “Just because we have one digital press doesn’t mean we’re done,” he told me. “There’ll be other machines. We don’t yet know what they will be.”

    I have visited Boutwell-Owens and the plant has a pair of huge Mitsubishi folding carton presses, some steel-rule-die cutters along with the HP and Highcon systems. And all are busy every day.

    DPS attendees heard a wide range of presentations on every topic surrounding digital package printing, plus case studies about how label and package printers were using the technology to gain competitive advantages in their markets and deliver value for their customers. Equipment vendors, brand owners and converters already using digital presses talked about where and how digital print fits the market.

    It was clear that by not having some type of digital offering converters were not only leaving money on the table but could be doing customers a disservice. Key points discussed included the ability to easily accommodate multiple SKU changes in a single run, and offer varying levels of customization, which leverages the power of digital to handle short runs.

    A point that came up more than once was that converters who hesitate, waiting for the technology to become more mature or mainstream, were basically making excuses. Presenters said it’s the nature of technology to change and improve. Just as it has on the commercial side of printing, it will keep getting better, and those who add digital capabilities now have an advantage over those who wait. Moreover, it was noted, converters should not be trying to “boil the ocean,” or change all jobs to digital systems. That simply isn’t appropriate: some types of jobs and applications can take immediate advantage of digital printing, and those are the ones to go after. Conventional printing isn’t going to go away, and digital is simply an alternative that serves specific needs.

    A few hours each afternoon was allotted to short, one-on-one meetings between converters and suppliers, where converters could talk about their needs and vendors could see how there might be a fit. These were popular sessions for vendors and converters alike and increased knowledge for all involved.

    The inaugural Digital Packaging Summit was a resounding success with plenty of positive feedback from all attendees. And plans are already in the works for the second edition in 2016. If you are seeking ways to build or expand your presence in labels and packaging, this invitation-only venue is a must attend event, and worth the time out of the office. More information is available at http://www.ngagevents.com


    Sponsors of the 2015 Digital Packaging Summit included:

    The top level sponsors were HP, Mark Andy and Xeikon.

    Gold sponsors included FujiFilm, Heidelberg, Konica Minolta, MBO America, Memjet, MGI, RotoMetrics, Wilson Manufacturing, and Xerox.

    Silver sponsors included Ashland, Afinia Label, Colordyne Technologies, EFI, Esko, Gallus, GMG Color, Hybrid Software, INX, Kluge, Kodak, Luxefilms, PrintVis, Screen, Ricoh, Videk, and CPP Expo.
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