Presenting at the drupa Cube yesterday, Chuck Pemble, DataLase vice president of business development, Americas, gave FMCG brand owners and printers an insight into the digitisation of the customer experience and the changing shape of the print and labelling sectors now and in the future. He discussed the future of smart and intelligent labelling that can provide real time information to the supply chain and consumers.
He said: “Brands are increasingly seeking smaller print runs and looking to add more engaging and customised graphics to their packaging so that they can appeal to consumers in more innovative ways, subtly enhancing brand transparency and confidence.
“Furthermore, consumers today have higher expectations of product packaging. They are much more open to being engaged and targeted by brands; indeed, customisation and personalisation of product packaging forms part of the purchasing and product experience.”
According to Mintel, brands will look to use digital printing to engage customers on an emotional and personal level, taking it beyond limited editions and into mainstream packaging.
DataLase is a global leader in inline digital printing technology. At its core is laser reactive, colour change pigment technology which is supplied to ink manufacturers and suppliers around the world. The pigments are incorporated into finished coatings and inks, which are supplied to printer converters, and then they apply the laser reactive ink to a substrate, using conventional print methods, before sending the coated substrate to the end user packer filler for inline digital printing.
Pemble continued: “The most important element of this process is that the printer converters use their existing flexo, gravure or lithographic assets in order to make a substrate or a product work with DataLase inline digital printing technology. By using a laser, it means that it is an inkless technology at the point of printing that results in a high resolution, permanent and irreversible image or graphic. By installing inline digital printing, consumables are eliminated from the production line environment, operational efficiency and equipment effectiveness is boosted significantly and there is no ink or mess – exactly what the industry wants.”
Inline digital printing enables faster printing and higher throughput rates that make it an ideal, economically viable solution for short notice requirement changes and late stage customisation. Label designs can be changed rapidly with DataLase inline digital printing in comparison to flexo or offset printing. Lines can run at two metres per second which equates to more than 100,000 products per hour and each product or label can be unique in its design whether that is the language, promotional codes, expiry dates or tailored marketing messages.
Furthermore, printing on demand means less waste, ensuring that new packaging, graphic designs or changes in ingredients do not result in redundant stock.
“Without the operational and production benefits associated with inline digital printing, late stage, mass customisation and personalisation isn’t cost-effective,” added Pemble.