Esko brings “Packaging Simplified” to drupa

Ghent (Belgium), March 16, 2016 At drupa 2016, Esko will introduce significant innovations in both the software and hardware product offering to help customers to manage, create and produce better packaging, signs and displays.

The market today demands shorter but more print production runs, needs a faster time to market leading to more complex processes and operations. At the same time, operations are facing a lack of skilled operators. These global trends span across the entire packaging process from idea to shelf, from the brand to the designer, premedia and tradeshops to the printer/converter.

Visitors to the stand at drupa will experience how Esko solutions can inspire them to improve their operations and to face these pressing challenges.

Short runs and short lead times

To ensure that products are relevant and appealing to consumers, brands have embraced diversification. Variation in size, introduction of new flavors and regional marketing campaigns improve shelf appeal but can have a profound impact on packaging and label production.

Add to that the ever greater need to comply with government regulations, which means more on-pack languages and symbols, all of which require frequent updates.

These developments present a distinct challenge in managing and producing for CPG brand owners, and – as a consequence – for packaging, label, display and signage premedia, tradeshops and converters. They need to take control of smaller batches of printed packaging and labels for ever more SKUs with just-in-time delivery schedules and more stringent quality demands.

“The number of jobs per shift continues to increase. Today, label and packaging converters, sign makers and display manufacturers often spend more time setting up their printing presses and converting equipment between jobs than in the actual printing and converting itself,” states Esko President Udo Panenka. “Press changeovers have to be faster to ensure margins are maintained. And the same is true for design, artwork creation and making jobs print ready: short lead time requirements demand higher throughput for these processes and better control of the entire operations.

Esko facilitates these pressing challenges by integrating and simplifying every step of the packaging management, prepress and production process. That is why we have chosen “Packaging Simplified” as our drupa theme.”

Integrated and connected

To remain profitable today, printers and converters must ensure their prepress and production workflows are integrated within their business operations and connected with the entire supply chain, 24/7, around the globe. At drupa, Esko will be showing powerful and unique solutions that address these demands for every step of the production process, from ideation and briefing to printing and finishing.

The complexities don’t stop there. Packaging converters and premedia providers also need to think about structural design, shapes fit for purpose and finishing. They have to get the design print ready while managing barcodes, critical content and other legally required elements. They must prepare printing plates and die-shapes for all possible output, often in mixed production environments where digital and conventional print are used side by side, each with their specific requirements. But whether using offset, flexo, gravure or digital print; brand colors must be accurate and consistent.

Esko has built tremendous expertise over decades, understanding and mastering all these complexities and delivering smart and proven technologies, that enable converters to achieve a smooth, efficient operation while taking cost and complexity out. That is why Esko is the natural choice for making Packaging Simplified.

Addressing the gap of skilled operators/users

Of course, perfect quality, eco-friendliness and a more complex printing technology mix are table stakes these days. And it is also true that companies are facing a skills gap that adds to operational complexities. “None of this is trivial,” Panenka says. “As we develop and enhance our products, we talk to many business owners and our product managers also analyzed support calls over an extended time period. They watch operators observing how they work and scan for improvement opportunities. This level of customer intimacy has been the driver behind revolutionary changes to user interfaces for both hardware and software.”

“Packaging Simplified is our path forward and our promise to the industry,” Panenka continues. “At drupa, visitors to our stand will see many ways to bring this theme home to their own operations. Our goal is to bring to each element of the production process an outstanding user experience across software and hardware that reduces the learning curve while increasing flexibility, speed, productivity and quality.”

Panenka concludes, “The world is getting more complex and we are helping our customers master this growing complexity with innovative solutions. Esko has applied its many years of expertise to redefining our offerings to master short runs effectively, improve equipment uptime, avoid errors and maintain quality. Packaging Simplified: Esko is the trusted business partner with whom they will remain successful in the world of tomorrow.”

drupa is scheduled to be held in Düsseldorf, May 31 to June 10, 2016. Esko and its sister company X-Rite Pantone and subsidiaries Enfocus and MediaBeacon will be located in Hall 8b, stand A23, at the show.