Thu, Oct

Racing to the summit?

Peter Kiddell, director of Fespa UK Association, says it makes sense for large-format PSPs to attend the inaugural Digital Print for Corrugated Packaging Summit. In his words, Here’s why.

“A pointer to the next frontier for digital printing” is how a colleague referenced the upcoming Digital Print for Corrugated Packaging Summit. He was so right. You only have to consider the raft of equipment launched at Drupa to recognise the huge amount of development spend being lavished on digital print for corrugated packaging.

At one end of the scale, traditional packaging companies and converters that understand high-volume production using analogue printers, are being challenged to move over to digital output to meet demands for shorter runs and versioning. And for PSPs typically involved in the point-of-sale print sector, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in short-run packaging, what with design skills in cardboard engineering, and the equipment to print, cut and assemble. Tied with effective digital workflow and logistics, plenty have the resources fit the market.

Fespa UK Association spoke to the major players in the market with the intention of gaining support for the creation of the first Digital Print for Corrugated Packaging Summit - and happily HP, Swanline Group, Smurfit Kappa, Esko, and British Converting Solutions (BCS) are doing just that. We wanted a venue to match the fast moving sector, so the Williams Conference Centre - at the headquarters of Williams Gran Prix Racing near Oxford - was the obvious choice.

But what about speakers? The key criteria here was that those on the rostrum would deliver insightful information, guidance, and inspiration - not a sales pitch. Hence, the keynote speaker is Silas Amos, who has more than 25 years’ experience as a designer and strategic partner for global FMCG companies. He knows how such operations see the future and is leading the trend that builds the need for short-run and personalised packaging. In a world of global production, it is the packaging that can create difference. The design industry is enjoying a moment of revolution and re-invention and Amos plays his part in helping brands to find a way to win hearts and minds. In his book ‘A Bigger Spectrum’ he exemplifies the benefits of digital print in achieving this aim. (Silas Amos was a speaker at the Drupa Cube. You can read IR’s Talking Point interview with him at: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/features/business/7077-ir-talks-tosilas-amos-designer-and-founder-of-silas-amos-ltd)

Our objective is to take the delegate through the process of creating packaging that benefits from the flexibility and quality of digital printing. Practitioners, experts and technicians not pitches. Real world advice and guidance from people who spend their lives making it happen.

Nick Kirby CEO of Swanline Group is one of the foremost practitioners in this expanding market, with interests in corrugated production as well as manufacturing specialised packaging using digital printing. He says: “This area of the market is a natural extension of our traditional POS business. We have all the skills and resources in house to exploit it and formed a very successful associate company - Boxmart - that provides solutions to the market. The aim is to provide bespoke packaging, using high level design skills, astute marketing and the production resources of Swanline Print and packaging. In every case, close liaison with customer and their design team is crucial.”

Other speakers will include Smurfit Kappa. Explaining its thinking will be Tom Lindop. “Corrugated has lost its utilitarian image as finer flutes and print grade linings take it into the premium substrate space without the cost penalties of other boards and materials,” he says.

Esko’s specialists will explain the control systems that bring all the elements together along with the possibilities for digital cutting and creasing. And Barry Tabor of BCS, a veteran of box-making, aims to dramatically increase productivity.

Delegates to the summit will also be able to meet speakers face-to-face at a ‘Williams Experience’ on the evening before and there will be plenty of opportunities to network during the main event too.

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