In late 2017 and early 2018, Flexo & Gravure Global asked several package print shops and converters about their opinion on the past year and their estimations on trends and challenges for 2018. In the fourth part of this survey, Elsa Callini, business development manager of ebeam Technologies talks about a new digital inkjet printer ideal developed in partnership with Uteco, and the 2020 EU climate and energy targets.
As you look back on 2017, were you able to meet your own expectations and what surprised you the most about the printing and packaging industry and markets?
2017 was a fantastic year for ebeam Technologies. The journey began in February at the beginning of our partnership with Uteco and the next six months saw the development of GaiaA, a new digital inkjet printer ideal for variable data and personalization printing on the non-contact side of food packaging. We launched GAIA at Labelexpo Europe and to top it all off, we won the coveted Label Industry Award for Sustainability!
The thing that has surprised me most about the industry is that although digital printing is now well established, many label and packaging printers have yet to reap all of the benefits on offer. Environmental pressures and squeezed margins mean printers must continue to explore innovative solutions that provide them with an advantage in terms of both profit and sustainability.
As we move forward into 2018, what do you see as the largest trends or megatrends in the industry?
Personalization is going to take off in a big way, especially for food and beverage packaging. Almost two-thirds of all printed packaging (in terms of area) is for food and drink applications. So combine this with the pull of personalized promotion and brands can access a powerful marketing tool. Just look at the Nestlé UK. KitKat personalization campaign, which resulted in 56,000 custom-made wrappers and a huge social media engagement. In 2018, I think that we will see many more food and beverage brands running personalization promotions.
What do you feel the industry should be most prepared for dealing with over the next 12 months?
The industry, like the rest of the world, needs to get ready to meet its 2020 EU climate and energy targets and implementing sustainable printing processes are part of this. In fact, sustainability can play an important part in giving printers a competitive advantage because brands looking to achieve a successful sustainability programme will want to work with print suppliers that use sustainable technology. Electron beam curing enables print manufacturers to increase throughput, efficiency and sustainability to realize benefits both to their own bottom line and also for the brands they print for.
… to be continued.