After three days of dissecting the nuances of the latest digital printing technologies and the opportunities they provide, the second annual Digital Packaging Summit concluded on Wednesday, Nov. 2, with some key takeaways for attendees to consider as they return to their companies. Specifically, event co-chairs Marco Boer and Kevin Karstedt recapped the Summit with four lessons learned from the event, which connects top converter executives with leading digital suppliers.
The first key takeaway may not be technical in nature, but is encouraging for the direction of the industry going forward. Boer and Karstedt highlighted that the passion displayed by event attendees and sponsors demonstrated that not only are the leaders in package printing seeking to improve their own businesses through the latest technologies, but they are determined to improve the industry as a whole. The event showed that the industry is evolving and digital printing is going to be an integral part of it. In order to successfully see this evolution through, industry leaders need to display a passion for leveraging the benefits digital provides.
The second key takeaway solidified a concept that has been at the forefront of the conversation around digital printing. As digital printing grows and gains acceptance in the industry, it is not going to be a replacement for conventional printing any time soon. Throughout the event, converters who have implemented digital printing and have been successful with the technology, explained that the true power of digital comes from its ability to serve as a partner technology to flexography and offset. Run lengths are decreasing, but there is still a great need for long-run print jobs. Finding the right technological balance allows converters to use the right equipment for the right jobs.
Third, Boer and Karstedt explained that digital print volumes are growing at a significant rate. What this indicates is that the early adoption phase is at its end. Throughout the event, a key theme was that while adopting a new technology can be risky, at this stage of the game, it is even riskier to not explore digital printing and the benefits it can offer.
Lastly, Boer and Karstedt said it is imperative that when implementing digital printing, a cultural shift needs to occur as well, both internally and externally. Internally, employees, operators and sales staff should be excited about adding new technology and how it can improve their business. Externally, converters adding digital need to ensure their customers are excited about how the technology can benefit them as well. In addition to just installing a new piece of equipment, there is an educational outreach aspect of adding digital printing.
Though there are many new products and technologies available in the digital printing space, it is clear that the industry is ready for the technology. With the right mix of passion for implementing digital’s benefits and understanding its place in each individual converter setting, digital printing should continue to grow and become even more of a mainstream technology in packaging.