Touch the future

Packaging moves to centre stage at drupa 2016

Touch the future

The drupa 2016 organizers have taken on the challenge of maintaining a platform that tries to bring together many of the threads that are still developing and not fully formed such as industrial printing and 3D printing. They have also decided to move packaging which has always been a significant segment even more consciously into the limelight at this year’s show.

At drupa 2016 there will be a special forum called Touchpoint Packaging designed and implemented by the leading association of brand owners and packaging agencies in Europe – the European Packaging Design Association (EPDA). Making its first appearance at drupa, Touchpoint Packaging will show how the packaging of the future will deliver additional value and growth opportunities.

Covering four main vertical markets – pharma, food, cosmetics, and non-food – the exhibit and discussion space is designed as four futuristic working laboratories. Lectures, presentations and panels consisting of brand owners, designers, material and consumable suppliers and print, enhancement and converting equipment manufacturers will hopefully bring insights to innovation in the entire packaging supply chain.

New areas such as intelligent packaging in order to cut down food waste will also be discussed. “The idea is to give the visitor a comprehensive overview of the technical developments that are stimulating innovation and offer insight into the world of packaging and labeling,” says drupa director Sabine Geldermann.

drupa 2016 will be an even more important packaging show than in the past. In fact the huge interest in everything digital is likely to find packaging as one of the most exciting areas for digital workflows, applications and new technologies. We saw indications of this at previous drupas with digital enhancement and laser diecutting machines and modules for decoration, converting, personalization and security of cartons and labels.

Toner and inkjet presses for corrugated cartons and labels have been installed by early adopters around the world and in India as well. There are already more than 50 digital label presses that have been demonstrated at various shows in the past three years and some of the newer ones are likely to reach drupa in a saleable form. Keep in mind that the largest selling digital presses in the world are the web-fed HP WS series and that HP is also gaining traction in mid-volume carton and flexible packaging by incorporating coating and converting features in cooperation with its technology partners.

It is clear that the new sheetfed inkjets including the KM1, the Komori PS29, will be ready to take on the Fuji and Screen inkjet sheetfed presses that were shown at the last drupa. What will be the capital and running cost of these presses – heads, arrays and inks? This is the only information that eager buyers want to know – seemingly, the Fasma (maintenance and consumable costs) are even more important than the capital costs.

The most recent Landa stories in the trade media indicate that the first Landa press to come to market will be the S10 folding carton press that was supposed to enter beta customer sites in the second half of 2015. Benny Landa has blogged that the entire machine had to be redesigned with one consideration being that it needed a coater. Apparently the re-engineered and fully loaded 40-inch maximum sheet size S10 with coater has tripled in weight to 30 tonnes from the S10 shown at drupa 2012. Apart from the Komori chassis and paper transport and the Landa Nanographic print engine, it incorporates an EFI Fiery digital front and AVT image processing and in-line inspection.

However, it is not just digital that will drive the increased interest in packaging at drupa. Try and recall the increased number of offset solutions for printing on flexible packaging that were shown at drupa 2012 including those from Goss and KBA. Add to these, companies such as Miyakoshi which showed an intermittent offset solution for flexible packaging at IGAS in September 2015 and one can easily anticipate that packaging printing at drupa will be addressed by every technology from letterpress, screen, digital toner and inkjet, to offset, flexo and gravure. Similarly decoration and converting are likely to be addressed by more than the ever-growing numbers of autoplaten diecutters that come to each successive drupa.

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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