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Digital Print Week Recap

(June 2017) posted on Fri Jun 16, 2017

Digital print paves its way in the packaging and textiles market thanks to short runs, customization, and the ability to target your audience.

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By Adrienne Palmer

Two hundred-plus print shops, manufacturers, brand owners and specialists, and converters in the packaging and textile industries attended the Digital Print for Packaging and Digital Textile Printing conferences in Decatur, Georgia, to talk digital print drivers, applications, and technologies in the growing market.

Sean Smyth, Smithers Pira, kicked off the two-day Digital Print for Packaging event by telling the audience that digital packaging is growing, and corrugated packaging is exploding due to the technologies available today. “Reliability and image quality techniques in single-pass inkjet are now a given after drupa,” he said. And economic short runs, security, and emotional engagement are the biggest drivers for digital print for packaging today.

Debbie Thorp, business development director, Global Inkjet Systems agreed with Smyth, saying, “Digital print is transitioning from the short-run argument to production capability… Inkjet print in packaging is a market of pioneers rather than mainstream, but momentum is increasing because of technology and software advancement.”

‘The Brand Imperative’
In one of the most talked-about panels at the show, Tom Cooper, R+D manager, Digital Printing, Westrock, moderated the digital print debate for brands with Fran Biderman-Gross, CEO and president, Advantages; David France, packaging research fellow, ConAgra Foods; and Todd Fayne, manager, Global Packaging Laboratory, PepsiCo. The discussion started off strong with Cooper telling the audience “color is everything,” and Biderman-Gross boldly sharing that “brands need to be forgiving with color.”

Top takeaways from the differing panel members:
“Digital print allows for creating a custom experience in the short run for a wide variety of people. It’s all about personalization. There’s excitement with digital print. You need to change your mindset and be open to it. … Engage your customers and start with why: Measure the data and deliver ROI.” – Biderman-Gross

“We’re acquiring smaller brands that grew because they were willing to take a risk with digital print. … It comes down to speed and square inches when considering moving into digital print for packaging.” – France

“We don’t need to be noticed. We dominate the shelf. We’re not going to take the risk in the R+D packaging sector. … Momentum and getting our internal people to buy in is a big issue. – Fayne